Meet HERstory Breastfeeding Story and Photo Contest Winner: Ashley Martin

My breastfeeding journey started back in 2015 with my first seed, Luna. I was young, still in college, and didn’t know a thing about breastfeeding let alone being a mother. I did some research, but it wasn’t until I birth my 2nd seedling where my knowledge and perspective about birth and breastfeeding really expanded.

With Luna I didn’t experience any birth triumphs. After her birth I actually felt defeated. Breastfeeding was my way to make it up to her. As soon as I pushed her out, the nurse literally threw Luna on my chest and told me to breastfeed. I was confused and in a daze, but I breastfed! Luna breastfed like a champ (at the hospital). I just knew it was going to be easy!

Chile, when we got home from the hospital everything changed. I couldn’t get her to latch. I couldn’t remember all the holds the nurses told me about. It hurt… I bled, cried, and kept struggling because this was what I thought to be “normal”. After a week and a half of struggling, I went to change Luna’s diaper and her urine was bright orange. I called the nurse on-call at the pediatrician’s office. She stated, orange urine was a sign of dehydration.

The nurse told us we needed to get her formula and to an emergency room.
We took Luna in and the doctor confirmed the dehydration. The doctor looked at me and said,
“Breastfeeding just isn’t for everyone.”
I was so distraught that I had put my child at a risk! I didn’t even want to attempt to breastfeed her again.

A few weeks into giving her formula, I felt like this was the best choice. Luna was doing better and gaining weight. I felt that I was finally was doing right by my child. Then Luna, started to get sick. She would throw up almost entire bottle of formula. We took her to the pediatrician and he told us it was just the type of formula when we were giving her.
He gave us samples of a brand that would “ digest better”.
We gave her that formula and that didn’t work we tried another formula… and another.

Eventually, we purchased almost every formula on the shelf and Luna still wasn’t adjusting.

Finally we were able to find an organic brand that she tolerated.
During night feedings, I noticed Luna I would to nuzzle into my chest. I tried to breastfeed her sometimes and other times I will get frustrated and wouldn’t. At the time, I was still in school so I was exhausted. One night I stayed up and refused to get out of bed because I had finals. I sat there and breastfed her and I actually got sleep!

Eventually night nursing became a thing for us. Then something clicked! I thought if we could nurse all night we can do this during the daytime too! Slowly but surely I was able to transition Luna from being fully formula fed to exclusively breastfed by the time she was three months! I breastfed her until she was 19 months old and was eight months pregnant with her brother! I am a first generation breastfeeder. My journey was far from easy but I did it! Despite the naysayers! I even went on to being a breastfeeding peer counselor from WIC for two years.

I shared my journey with other moms and to be the encouragement they needed when no one else was there to encourage

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