Thursday, October 13, 2011

Getting personal: Breastfeeding

Since this is a blog for close friends and family, I won't hold back. (fair warning)

Breastfeeding. It has its ups and downs, good times and bad. Giving birth, becoming a mother, seeing my child for the first time were all life-changing events. Breastfeeding was part of that. Before having a child and even during pregnancy I never thought I'd ever want to breastfeed. I'll be honest when I say that I thought it was gross and not at all something I wanted any part of. My husband, who is incredibly supportive of any decision I make, convinced me to at least give it a good try.

I had a lot of misconceptions in my mind about it. I thought it would hurt, my nipples would be sore, or he would bite a lot. Babies are actually very smart when it comes to feeding. They know how to get the milk and are damn good at it (most babies anyways). None of those things are true at all unless you're not nursing correctly, the latch is not right, etc. They are all issues that you might not deal with and if you do, there are solutions.

I tried nursing the first few days and I cried, as all new mothers do (damn hormones), and we had several visits from the lactation consultant (LC). Deb, who was my LC the entire hospital stay, was the most wonderful nurse I'd met. Every single time she was in the room, she gave me so much feedback that the feeding would always go so well. As the days went on, feedings got much harder to control. I was new to motherhood and nursing was pretty foreign. HOWEVER.. the more I tried to nurse, the more I wanted to succeed.

Long story short, I now love nursing. If you had asked me if I would/could ever love nursing back in the "early days" I would have laughed (or cried, depending on what day it was). I gave my son a bottle a few nights ago and it just was not the same. I actually want to nurse!

My initial goal was to just try nursing. Then it was to make it to at least 2 weeks nursing. Once he started losing an ounce a day and having to supplement, it was incredibly hard to keep going. I pushed through and my milk supply has been almost perfect these past 3 months. My next goal was to make it to 3 months nursing exclusively. CHECK! Now my goal is to make it to 6 months. I already know we'll have to start spoon feeding rice cereal and "jar" food, but I still don't want my milk supply to dwindle and have to revert to formula.

Side note: If you've ever made formula and pumped milk, the formula smells awful and looks disgusting in comparison. I wouldn't want to give my kid formula that smells like a garbage dump and is brown in color. DISGUSTING!

Anyways, what I'm trying to say is that I think breastfeeding is an amazing gift of ours and some women can't do it so I feel incredibly blessed to have the ability to do so. I can't believe that at one time in my life I actually would have been disgusted at a woman breastfeeding, public or otherwise. I'm not saying I'm gonna whip it out at the dinner table or anything (trust me, I'm still very modest), but I think it's a wonderful bonding experience that bottle-fed babies and moms just don't get to share.

A friend once told me that I'd actually miss feedings when he doesn't nurse anymore and I can now see why that's so true. For now I am enjoying the days I get to spend watching my cute little man do new things and explore new toys. And as much as I'd never thought I would hear these words come out of my mouth, I do actually miss the middle-of-the-night feedings because it was dark, quiet, just the two of us bonding. Loved it!

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