In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, here is my adventure in breastfeeding:
Before I was even pregnant, I knew I wanted to breastfeed my baby. I knew it was healthy for babies and mamas, alike. I don’t have any strong memories of family members breastfeeding, nor is there one instance which stands out in my mind that encouraged my decision. My mom told me that she breastfeed me for about a year and that sounded like a good plan.
I did enough reading in pregnancy to learn that a natural birth helps promote a successful breastfeeding relationship right from the start. At that point, I decided against an epidural. The fact that I’m greatly afraid of needles helped with that decision.
Preparing for success also included my husband and I taking a breastfeeding class provided by our HMO. Furthermore, I saw a lactation consultant several times in the hospital. One right away so she could help me get the hang of it.
The thing that surprised me the most was that Zoe seemed better at it than I was. She had a great latch from the very beginning – it took time for me to become a pro.
Between the two consultants I saw, one of them was phenomenal. If it weren’t for her, my whole recovery time in the hospital would have been a complete nightmare. She was empathetic and extremely helpful. Out of all the staff, she’s the only one that really listened.
Zoe was Coombs positive (our blood types were incompatible) and jaundice; so in addition to the Billi-bed, the pediatrician pressured us to give her formula to help flush out her system. Apparently, the colostrum alone wasn’t enough. To this day, I’m not sure if that was entirely true and it still bothers me. The lactation consultant set me up with a Supplemental Nursing System and a pump to help my milk come in since I would be getting the proper stimulation from Zoe as she had to be in the special bed so much.
Thankfully, my milk came in on the day we left the hospital. Of course, samples of formula were offered to me; but I refused them. The lady handing out the bag full of “goodies” looked at my funny and said, “But it’s free”. I didn’t care – I didn’t want any temptation to supplement with formula. I can be stubborn; and I was choosing to be stubborn about this.
I am fortunate enough to have an easy story about breastfeeding. There were times I worried about whether she was getting enough to eat. But she gained weight fine, so I put those fears to rest. The one issue I did experience was heavy, or forceful, let down. My milk would come shooting out very quickly and sometimes Zoe would gag. And when she just wanted to comfort suck, she couldn’t without getting a mouthful.
I am grateful for the opportunity to work from home so I can nurse on demand and not have to worry about pumping. It took me a while to feel confident in what I was doing. It got easier when Zoe was about two or three months old and could nurse in bed. Now I really love nursing for all these reasons:
- it’s convenient – I never have to plan ahead to pack formula
- it’s amazingly nutritious – breast-milk is like magic
- it helps me focus on what’s really important – great bonding time
- it’s helps me lose the baby fat
- it helps prevent breast cancer
- it’s free – need I say more?
To continue the celebration on breastfeeding check out this great post by Little Hearts/Gentle Parenting Resources – The Gift of Breastfeeding.