Ugh. Making milk is complicated. Despite the "naturalness" of breastfeeding, it doesn't always come so naturally.
We started strong. In the hospital, little Shepherd was latching and eating like a champ. Then the problems started.....extreme overproduction, which led to constant engorgement, which led to clogged ducts, which led to mastitis, with some cracking thrown in along the way. To add insult to injury, after a week of painful feeds, Shepherd gained zero ounces. Awesome. It's getting better. The antibiotics have definitely helped, and we are figuring out ways to cope, but it's still not exactly great. Once we get going, though, and I look down at my sweet son, I love it. That's why we're still trying. I love feeding Shepherd.
In the midst of the breastfeeding conundrum, I've been lucky to have different kinds of support. Friends who research potential solutions and spend as much time trying to figure it all out as I do. Friends who tell me to send Andrew to the store for a bottle of formula. Friends who encourage me to keep pushing. Friends who tell me it's okay to stop pushing. Isn't that what we need in life? Friends that remind us that we are okay. That we are enough, that we are trying hard enough. As my friends support me in their own unique ways, I am reminded of one of my great wishes for my children. I pray that, as they grow, they find a community of friends to love and encourage them. That they have friends they can call when life is just too much. Even more, I pray that they are those friends to others. That they always choose kindness and compassion and encouragement.
And at this exact moment, I pray that Shepherd and I get the nursing thing under control.