My daughter, Harley, was a premie born 5 weeks early. Granted she was a big premie at 6lbs 10oz, but a premie nonetheless. The hospital was extremely poor at our care while there in my opinion, despite all that went on she was so strong. I did ALL the skin-to-skin to make sure she didn’t go in the NICU but they released us with her having slight blood sugar problems and jaundice. They made sure that upon our release we HAD to supplement with formula. Instead of fueling my body with proper food to help my body heal from the c section and build my milk supply, it’s no secret that hospital food is the worst. I also couldn’t get her to latch, I had to use a nipple shield and it was kind of a pain but I was willing to do anything to nourish my baby. I spent the next 4 months on the hardest ride of my life. She wasn’t gaining proper weight, even supplemented. I had to go to lactation appointments three times per week and at least one pediatrician appointment per week, left crying every time. I also was told by my lactation consultant that I “didn’t emotionally connect to the machine” because I couldn’t pump anything, I would record her crying, I would pump before and after latching, everything. They made it feel like it was my fault she was uncontrollably crying but I started weaning her from formula and her colic started easing, her throwing up was not as frequent, she started gaining more weight and despite the pediatricians suggestions of more formula I finally went Exclusive Breastfeeding at almost four months postpartum. I went on EVERY breastfeeding diet possible; dairy free, drank beer, coconut everything, beans and oats only, water, lactation cookies and supplements and protein powders. It was so difficult, I felt like I was failing her because I needed to make more to help her. I would lock myself in the bathroom and cry and cry and cry. She was getting so much better but it was a slow process and I just needed to be reminded that I was doing a good job because I was, I put everything of me into feeding her. I was finally able to ditch the nipple shield and was making more milk. I had a D&C at four months postpartum because of a surgery error with my c section and when we went to Harley’s six month checkup she had gone from the 4th percentile in weight to the 30th. Once again, I left her appointment crying but this time happy tears because we were getting there, all the hard work was validated and my baby was thriving. It was a rough journey but we were on it together and we healed ourselves. She showed me that I could do anything I put my mind to and will always sacrifice my body for my babies, through those struggles I became a mom and will never look back. Trust your instinct, I’m now tandem nursing and pumping approximately twenty five ounces per day. Perseverance is key to any breastfeeding journey. You can do it, mama! Just know that I’m proud of you and all your hard work!