Breastfeeding was the only parenting decision I never questioned, I mean, I was breastfed until I was pretty much 3 (then my sister was born) and my sister? Well, I know she weaned before kindergarten… Breastmilk is the perfect food for the gestating spawn? It’s free? And it *should* come right out of the pillow-things on my chest that have been causing me pain since the moment of conception? I thought SIGN ME UP! Then promptly stopped thinking about it.
When the first monster emerged, all blood-covered and adorable, we attempted this ‘natural’ feeding method only to find that the little stinker wanted nothing to do with boob. The nursing brigade was mobilized! Help came at me from all angles… The lactation consultant slammed his wide-open screaming mouth onto boob while saying, “It’s best to try when they are first hungry, once they are screaming they become disorganized and have more trouble…” wait a minute… Eventually I had a nurse, who to this day creates in me feelings of anger, she came into my room. She MASHED my uterus and said, “You need to formula feed, you’re starving your baby.” I broke down.
Finally, that night an amazing supervisor came and sat with me, she told me my baby was fine and helped me get a latch out of sleepy-McSucks-at-eating, who to this day is a ridiculously picky eater. This could be the happy ending, but it’s not. We did what we had to to get home. He latched kinda ok sometimes with his lip and tongue ties, I pumped and bottle fed and breastfed. Then went to our pediatrician. I was ready to throw in the towel, but she said, “Try a shield.” That, my friends is our happy ending… #1 breastfed until he was 9 months old (supplemented with formula and bottle-fed both that and pumped breastmilk) at which time he decided he was done.
With #2 things *should* have been easier, right? This guy vacuum-clinged himself on there immediately and porked-out. All was well until we went home and I realized with certainty that this guy, also having tongue and lip ties, had a latch that felt like sandpaper and broken glass. My left nipple had been at WAR. I started getting chills and feeling like death. Score one for MASTITIS! I got amazing help from The Lactation Connection, they taught me to correct his latch and I used my trusty shield to heal my wounded friend. Yet, despite our challenges I still LOVE breastfeeding.
Breast is best, breastmilk is the perfect food for babies, so why not give it a shot? In my case I had no other experience, I assumed that was just how you fed babies. The support of my mom and people around me definitely helped me get through the tough stuff. Breastfeeding for me was a huge challenge and that isn’t uncommon, but for me, it was worth it.
Who doesn’t love a wide-eyed succubus physically attached to them every 2-3 hours months on end? I do! I love the way we can stare at each other, feeling all snuggled and secure. I will always remember their sun-dappled faces in the early mornings. #1 always rested his hand in the center of my chest and #2 loves to hold hands while he nurses.
I can’t forget the food and he can eat it anywhere. I don’t have to remember bottles, formula, strange extra bottle parts, and where the heck am I going to get hot water… With my first I remember missing almost all of a 4th birthday party ’cause I couldn’t get a latch and we were missing that stupid ring that goes in the dumb bottle (I cried). I love being able to be like, “boobs! check!” and leave the house.
There is no measuring as long as the kid is growing and not screaming his fool head off I know he is getting enough food. Now that we’re into real food I have enough measuring and remembering to do when it comes to making sure he’s getting 3 ‘meals’ a day, steamed to the proper mush consistency.
It’s free! I don’t have to pay for it! Woohoo!
He can eat RIGHT NOW no matter where we are or what we’re doing. The food is always warm and waiting, all I have to do is lift my shirt… Yes, I breastfeed in public. No, I do not routinely use a cover.
I’m passionate about breastfeeding and the benefits it provides both mom and baby. I will sing it’s praises from the rooftops every chance I get, but nothing is for everyone. Every mom does everything she has to do to make a happy family, I remember the moment I was ready to give up. I was lucky my pediatrician had one last ditch thing to try, and that it made all the difference.
I can only hope I made the difference for someone. My most amazing moments on labor and delivery were those quiet ones after everything had settled, baby snuggled skin to skin, breastfeeding happily, or just staring up while both parents looked on in awe. Those moments, watching new families together are ones I will always cherish.
What are some of your best memories of your babies?
Editor’s Note: For the opposite point of view, read Why I Love(d) Formula Feeding.