Friday, December 3, 2010

feeding my baby

As a kid, I don't remember seeing a lot of people breastfeeding. I don't remember hearing people talk of breastfeeding. But I think the main reason for that was because all the kids in my family were all close to my age. I believe there's less than a 10 year span between the cousins I grew up with. So babies were never in our family until after we all grew up and had them ourselves.

I had this favorite doll as a kid. It was a water baby, remember those? Even though I didn't grow up around breastfeeding, I would sit in the quiet in my room, in the dark, when no one was looking and pretend to breastfeed my baby doll. Was it instinct? I really wanted to be a Mom.

As an adult, and after I got married and pregnant with my first son, I knew I was going to breastfeed. And nothing was going to stop me. So I thought. It's not as easy as sitting down and letting the baby grab on. No, there's knowledge and effort involved. I failed, and felt like a failure. I also felt guilty. My husband supported me the best he could, but beyond that, I did not have a good support system in place. I also did not live near family. Thinking back, I now see a few people in my life at the time I could have relied on for help and answers. But I was too scared to ask for help. I thought is should have been so easy and I thought it would have been silly and maybe a little embarrassing to seek out the help I needed.

Basically, with my first son, I did it wrong. His latch was wrong. I leaned into him when he tried to latch instead of pulling him to me. His mouth was not properly placed. It hurt so bad because I wouldn't ask for help from friends I knew who successfully breastfed. I know they would have helped me figure out what was wrong, or help me call a professional to get it figured out. I want to be one of those professionals people call someday.

So I gave up. Five weeks of pain and exclusively breastfeeding was enough. So I supplemented with formula. Then I nursed at night til he hit 6 months old. And then I quit.

With my second son, my husband did research for me. Helped figure out how to do this thing right. And baby and me did great. It was so comfortable. It felt right. We nursed til he was 11 months old. I pumped with him and always had a big supply of milk in the freezer so he rarely ever had formula, besides it made him spit up like mad.

Enter boy 3, and I'm an old pro. No trouble with Jonyn whatsoever. We made it till 11 1/2 months since I got pregnant again and he went on whole milk. In fact, with him is when I became deeply passionate about breastfeeding. Every Mom should at least try it. It won't work for everyone, I know that. For many reasons. Breast milk is tailor made for our babies, but the most important thing we could ever give our babies is love.

And now, I'm breastfeeding my fourth son. There will be no formula. No matter what I have to do. Because if I could go back and change things, none of my babies would have a drop of it. I place no judgment on Mom's who formula feed, heck, I did. But for me, I love my breastfeeding time. Every single part of it. And getting my facts straight and knowledge on the subject has been the best thing I could have done. I cherish theses moments with my baby.

Best advice I could give anyone about to have a baby: Go with your gut, your instinct. I so wish I had thrown all other advice out the window and followed my heart, not everyone else's mouth.

Best advice I could give a first time breastfeeding Mom: Get a support system in place and learn the proper breastfeeding techniques. Also, ask for help if you think it's not working like you hoped or thought it would. Don't suffer in pain or guilt. There is absolutely no need, because I believe most other breastfeeding Moms would be eager to help, especially if they're already your friends :)

(all photos are recent ones of Brennen and me).

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