Breastfeeding’s Rollercoaster of Emotions — Momma Lacey’s Journey
You know those heartwarming scenes of a baby and a mother gazing at each other with loving eyes as the little one suckles her mom’s milk? Lacey Wehner lived those Hallmark-worthy moments with her firstborn, Audrey.
Then came Samuel and the twins. And with them, a less-than-Disneyesque breastfeeding tale.
First Time’s a Charm
“My first was born at 38 weeks and was fortunately, the easiest, most amazing nurser! She made me wonder why everyone wouldn’t nurse! Milk came so easy to me! I was able to exclusively feed her breast milk, and donate over 1,000 oz to a local breast milk bank that helps preemie babies,” recollects Lacey of her nursing experience with Audrey.
"My second, haha he showed me exactly why some people might not want to nurse."
A labor and delivery nurse, Lacey’s easy peasy lemon squeezy breastfeeding record turned stressed depressed lemon zest with Samuel, her second baby. And yet she still manages to laugh about it, “My second, haha, he showed me exactly why some people might not want to nurse.”
Awful latcher. Check.
All-day and all-night long nursing. Check.
Automatically wakes up and screams when separated from Lacey’s breast. Check.
Lacey Wehner super momma powers. Check that too!
Despite her breastfeeding challenges with Samuel, Lacey was determined to succeed. She resolved that while those moments felt like forever at the time, they were actually short episodes. With an iron will only a mother can muster, and a lot of co-sleeping, Lacey’s supply was great and she managed to exclusively feed Samuel breast milk past the age of 2. And still donated to local mamas in need!
Pumping up the Twins
An avid photographer, Lacey was gifted two new cute-as-can-be subjects for her hobby when her twins Charlotte and Oliver were born. Things went more than smoothly at first.
"I remember tandem feeding in the hospital feeling so bad @$$! Here we were! We were doing it!" Lacey proudly recalls
Her pride slowly turned to worry once her twins started losing weight — to the point that the doctor strongly recommended her to supplement. Though the now mother of four had nothing against baby formula, breastfeeding was just so important to Lacey. Looking back, “This was probably my most heartbreaking and devastating breastfeeding journey,” she says.
Fortunately, good things happen to great mothers.
She was allowed to supplement with her own milk if she could express at least 2 oz. “So, I got busy pumping. I was able to get those precious 2 oz saved up, and we were able to escape having to supplement,” Lacey stated. But it wouldn’t be heartbreaking and devastating if it ended there.
“I just couldn’t figure out while they both were struggling, when in the past I had been a ‘milk cow,’ so to speak. I tried a few times to transition off expressed milk and onto nursing. My daughter refused and would just scream and scream, and my son would try, but would lose weight. Because they were such poor nursers I struggled with supply from the very beginning, I was what they call in the exclusive pumping world a ‘just enougher.’ I’ve never had to work so hard for milk before in my life, pumping every two to three hours around the clock for 45 mins at a time.”
"I’ve never had to work so hard for milk before in my life..."
The sadness in Lacey’s voice shows that even super mommas can feel pain.
“I became so depressed, I never imagined I’d struggle to breastfeed, I took my prior easy journeys for granted, and was so thankful with how easy, even my hard journey before was. For a while my heart hurt too much to try and latch them, so I didn’t. I remember scrolling through Instagram, seeing other mamas, especially twin mamas tandem feeding their babies and I’d cry and cry and cry,” she continued.
Snipping the Problem
Three months after the twins were born, both were finally diagnosed to have tongue ties, and the condition was treated immediately. The feeding issue fixed, Lacey tried to nurse again. “We did triple feeding, where you nurse, pump and then follow up with feeding them what you pumped. I’m so thankful for these little moments of nursing I was able to have.”
"This was such a blow to my ego, I really did think as soon as you introduce formula, your breastfeeding journey was over."
By the time the twins were 6-months-old, Lacey could no longer keep up with pumping milk. Baby formula was no longer an option but a necessity. “This was such a blow to my ego, I really did think as soon as you introduce formula, your breastfeeding journey was over.”
What a Journey
Her disappointment didn’t last long. Lacey eventually learned to embrace formula as a valuable alternative for mothers who can’t produce enough milk. She’d pump milk as much as she could then supplement the rest.
"We made it past the age of one with my expressed milk, formula and donor milk, but what a journey, and learning experience that was. I had to work for every single ounce."
And every effort she spent on every ounce of milk for all her children was worth it. At the end of it all, Lacey still counts herself lucky enough to be able to have breastfeed all her kids.
Lacey, the Supermomma
When Lacey Wehner isn’t on-duty as a labor and delivery nurse, which by the way is her dream job, chances are she’ll be preoccupied by her other loves, namely photography, shopping, making memories with my kiddos, trailer camping, and surprise, surprise, even doing the laundry. She’s married to her “high school sweetheart” (that’s an inside joke to those who know her), and is now a proud mama to four beautiful babies.