Breastfeeding is a subject close to my heart, literally and figuratively! When I saw that Mothering is having a “Blog about Breastfeeding” Event to celebrate International Breastfeeding Week, I couldn’t help but join in!
When my son was born, I wasn’t convinced that I could successfully nurse. I had worked in daycare and met mothers who were devastated that they couldn’t nurse for one reason or another and I was determined not to put too much pressure on myself. When my milk didn’t come in right away, I didn’t hesitate to encourage the staff at the hospital to offer my son formula. I did meet with a lactation consultant and rent a Medela pump, but I wasn’t sure it would work out.
It did! Within the first week, my milk came in, the formula was donated and we were pumping and nursing direct, just fine. My son nursed until I was pregnant with his sister (almost 18 months!). I attended a Leche League meeting because I was concerned that he was so noisy when he nursed. I thought that he might not be latching properly or that something else might going on. Nope, he was just a little milk-piggy.
Then… his sister was born. One of my ABSOLUTE favorite photos is of her nursing right after they gave her to me. That was the first thing I wanted to do… and she took right to it! I was elated. In the photo, this tiny little thing (my 7 lb baby girl) was nursing beautifully and my hands look so big beside her. I felt like I was a success as a mother right at that moment. She’s now 18 months old and still nursing like a champ.
We’ve had our challenges… In the very beginning, nursing became horribly uncomfortable for me. I was actually cracking and bleeding and as much as I love Lanolin creme, it wasn’t fixing the problem. I started blistering and nursing was excruciatingly painful. My daughter was frustrated and spitting up all the time and we were both uncomfortable. I was devastated, after such a positive start. My husband, thank God, did some research and suggested that perhaps I had oversupply. I started pumping and feedign her by bottle and I was able to heal up and she stopped spitting up all of the time! Hooray! It didn’t take long for her to grow and master the suckling and we’ve been nursing direct since.
I used to hide in a different room to nurse. Then I sort of got comfortable in a corner with a large cover. Then I got comfortable with the cover in more places. And then I started getting more comfortable with a cover anywhere… I finally got to the point where I don’t cover at all in my own home and I am comfortable nursing under a stretchy shirt pretty much anywhere at all. I’ve nursed on a children’s train, a tram at Houston Space Center, all over the place…
My advice to new moms is to not give up. Especially if you are able to be a stay at home mom… there is SO much benefit to nursing. I hope to have more children (once the two blessings I have are potty trained – that’s a whole other story) and I hope to be as successful nursing with them as well. I’m so grateful that God provided me with a built in source of comfort and food and built in immune assistance for my children. And… there are health benefits for moms! We’ll wean when we wean…
I’m so glad that there are so many groups determined to educate folks that Breastfeeding is Natural and wonderful and encouraging women not to be embarrassed or discouraged. I’m so glad that I had the support that I needed available. Thanks especially to hubby! I can only imagine what we would have spent, emotionally and financially, on formula!
Happy International Breastfeeding Week!!