After giving birth to Luke, I had a difficult time getting him to take the breast. Essentially, he did not receive a feeding until nearly 18 hrs after birth. I was so anxious because my goal was to breastfed him for at least six months. I kept trying to get him interested in latching at the breast, but all he wanted to do was cry and turn away. I refused to have him supplemented. Finally, on the second day, he latched! It was an amazing joy to see my son feeding from my breasts. However, our difficulty did not stop there. Although he was latching most of the time, we were having problems with trying to position him so that his latch was deep enough. I started experiencing a lot of pain as he was feeding. The pain persisted even though I asked all the nurses to evaluate his latch and they all told me that it looked great and that breastfeeding was "supposed to hurt at first." The pain was unbearable at times to the point where I had to clench my teeth and point my toes during some sessions. My nipples were cracked and blistered by the end of the second day.
However, I persisted. Each session, I would attempt to evaluate his latch to ensure that I would get the deepest latch possible. I also worked on different nursing positions because I began to experience terrible back and shoulder pain from constantly being hunched over as I was nursing my son.
There was also the issue of my over supply and fast milk ejection reflex. I was so desperate to breastfeed my son but one incident almost made me give up. It was during the time he was experiencing his 2 - 3 weeks growth spurt. He was literally on the breast all day long and he kept crying! I was sure that I somehow had caused my milk supply to diminish from not drinking enough water or from forgetting to alternate to the other breast at each subsequent feeding. Of course, now I know better.
I did relent to supplement him once. But after that, knowing the joy I experienced as I was breastfeeding my son, I knew that I would do everything in my power to ensure that my son never received another bottle if I could help it.
And as of this week, I have met my goal of breastfeeding him for six months. And since we've made it this far, I'm extending the time-frame of our breastfeeding relationship to one-year!