Breastfeeding. I’ve been wanting to conquer a post on this subject for months, but it’s a touchy subject for some women. I’m not one of those “Ohmigerd! If you don’t breastfeed you’re cheating your child! Rawwwr!” people, but I am one of those people that feel that if breastfeeding is important to you, there is no reason that you shouldn’t at least give it an earnest shot.
I was lucky in my efforts. I had a very supportive group of people around me. My husband was amazing — and when I say amazing I mean he drove me to see the LC (Lactation Consultant) twice a week for the first few weeks and endured sitting in that room with a nurse manipulating my boobs. I can’t imagine that was very comfortable for him. My mom and my husband’s mom both successfully breastfed multiple children and I also had several friends that breastfed their children as well. I had advice coming from every direction and in the end, I took what worked for us and abandoned what didn’t. My advice would be as follows:
- Once you get established, it’s easy — I would never want to go back and relive the first 3 weeks of breastfeeding voluntarily. It’s like breastfeeding boot camp, not to mention the doctors were concerned with how much weight Nibbler was losing despite all my efforts making things further complicated by multiple doctor visits (and a jaundice scare). However, once you fight through these first few weeks, it becomes a breeze! In the end, I was so happy I fought it out because I didn’t have a multitude of bottles to clean at the end of the day as well as no bottles to heat up in the middle of the night. Wooohooo!!
- Pumping at work — This was the most emotionally taxing on me of anything. Sleep deprivation was a close second, but the stress of pumping at work initially broke me down. I was afraid of not being able to continue and of all the things I had compromised on (working through my pregnancy (didn’t happen), having a non-epidural birth (didn’t happen), not having the baby sleep in the bed with us (yeeah…nope, we just had to cuddle)), I was running out of things that I had vowed to and stuck to. The key to continuing breastfeeding when you return to work is to relax! Once you get a rhythm down at work, everything after that is pretty smooth sailing. I usually pumped before I went to work, and again on lunch and ended up having a good supply to keep Nibbler in breastmilk while I was away, although we did have to supplement a bit with formula before he transferred to solids — a whole whopping can! I can’t believe I kept up with his demand as long as I did. 🙂
- It’s okay to cry — Yes, I cried over this a bit…okay, a lot more than I thought I would. And you know what? It helped! Crying helped me out a whole bunch because it was a release. Internalizing never gets me anywhere and just makes situations worse, so if you feel like crying, cry.
So, those are my thoughts. I’m hoping it helped out a few of you who may be thinking about breastfeeding, and if you can’t, then that’s okay too! It’s definitely not for everyone, but if it’s important to you as it was to me, then I hope you can stick it out and will be as successful with it as I was.