Catherine Higley (36) and Miles (9 months)
How has parenthood impacted your body image?
“I don't know that it has changed much. I've always been pretty confident in myself and have lived with the mindset that you can either accept me for who I am and the way my body is or leave. Now as mommy to my son I hope to show him how to accept others for what is inside not for physical appearance.”
What was your postpartum experience?
It was rough at first. I had to accept that I didn't get the birth experience I longed for. I wanted a natural hospital birth and was prepared with a doula, ready to go. I ended up being induced due to being past my due date with a big baby as he was estimated at over 8lbs at 38 weeks. A 2 day long induction with horrible back labor that led to an epidural ended in a cesaren on the morning of the third day. I had to overcome the loss of my natural birth plan for surgery.
I finally accepted that Miles just had to write his own life story starting with his birth.
Our next struggle was nursing. I had been pumping the week prior to attempt to induce labor and had gotten colostrum so knew I could produce but 3 days of no food left not much coming out and my 9lb 8oz baby was hungry. He latched in recovery for an hour and once moved to a room he kept latching on an off almost constantly for the next 24 hours. I was exhausted, as was he. I was stressed from dealing with DCFS being called because of me refusing medical procedures to my newborn, which is a whole different story of why we need to fight for medical freedoms in our country.
I gave in and asked for a bottle and he downed an ounce and finally slept. We kept trying to get him to latch but he became frustrated with my flat nipples so we tried a shield which worked a little but there still wasn't much coming out for him so he was still frustrated and would just scream at the breast which upset me as well.
We went home from the hospital with information on formula feeding and I was fine with giving formula as long as my baby was fed. A couple days after we got home my milk came in big time and seemed to flatten my nipples more I was so engorged. I pumped for some relief and to try to draw out my nipples so he could latch. I continued to attempt nursing even attending a group at the hospital once a week. There he had not a problem taking 3oz off me and being satisfied but at home we still struggled with him only latching for a short time being done and fussing a few minutes later.
I learned I am not someone who can sit all day with a baby latched on as he wasn't latching well - so it would hurt and I didn't know how much he was getting so I didn't know if after an hour he was full or not. I decided I was fine with pumping. I was able to pump enough to keep him full and growing. He was happy and so was I. Pumping was never offered by the lactation consultants just latching all day was their suggestion. I see now why so many moms give up breastfeeding so soon. I never thought I would be exclusively pumping, I always thought I would be the mom nursing her baby wherever I wanted but it just didn't work that way. Truthfully, now I don't know if I will try to nurse future children or just start off pumping. I am satisfied with my journey as it is all mine.
What is your truth?
Plans never go according to plan. Just be along for the ride. Be flexible ask tons of questions to be knowledgeable about what can go wrong at any time.
What brought you here today?
I wanted to help bring awareness to my community of exclusive pumping moms. Many of us get shamed for not latching our babies on our breast. For so many of us it's not that we didn't try and wouldn't love to nurse our babies - but struggled with latching and there are so few resources still to help new moms learning to nurse. It seems we have such a mindset of its either breast or bottle with formula, never is it suggested to just pump milk for your babies first year. I wanted to share my struggles with nursing and let moms know that pumping is and option. “