A WORD OR TWO ABOUT BREASTFEEDING...


hey! it's world breastfeeding week, and i wouldn't be a good breastfeeder if i didn't say a word or two about the topic. a while back i wrote briefly about my experience breastfeeding chloe, as well as a bit about weaning her. chloe breastfed (or "ate boobs" as my four year old niece called it), until she was 15 months old and as she was ready, she gradually weaned herself.

there are many benefits to breastfeeding and there are a few inconveniences. i have friends and family on both sides of the spectrum as far as to what they decided was best for their family. it seems that those of us who do breastfeed can seem fanatical to others... perhaps even cultish, and those of us who don't for whatever reason, fear being judged as selfish or unwilling by our lactating peers. friends, this makes me sad. we should be supporting one another in child-rearing, not raising our eyebrows at eachother's parenting decisions. i like to take the same thinking towards my peers that i do with my patients as a nurse: i will support and help you with whatever you choose to do. naturally, because i breastfed chlo, i am familiar with it, and am more than happy to encourage and offer whatever i can when it comes to "feeding with boobs".... eh that might not of sounded right, but i will keep it because it made me laugh when i re-read it. anyway, my advice here is for those who breast-feed, or plan to, just because it is what i am familiar with, and yeah, it is world breastfeeding week! (doh!)

i recently was talking to someone who had just had a baby a few weeks prior... i forgot how hard those first couple weeks are. the sleep deprivation, the soreness, the constant feeding, the exhaustion. all those things, along with the fear of having your first post-patrum bowel movement... (yes friends, i went there... we have entered poop talk), well, it can be a very rough first couple weeks taking care of that brand new babe, and allowing yourself to heal and perhaps rest when you can. but somehow, when i think about having a new baby, i forget all those things, as i believe that many of us do. we choose to forget all the hardships and just remember those blissful days newborn days. i think it is a little unfair that we are so prepared for birth to be painful and torturous, but ill-prepared for the first wild weeks of new-motherhood that await us. nobody likes to talk about sore boobs, engorgement, the stress associated with making enough milk, newborn weight gain, waking up in the middle of the night, and feeling just a tad resentful of your sleeping partner in bed next to you, as you struggle to get a single hour of uninterrupted sleep at a time. 

for most of us, those nice feeding schedules take a couple weeks to figure out, the latch is not perfected by the time we leave the hospital, and that baby weight doesn't always melt away. those of you who want to breastfeed - those first couple weeks are painfully hard, and can be a little scary at times. the best thing you can do for yourself is surround yourself with supportive friends who have been through it already, family members who have breastfed, and don't be afraid to go to the pros (la leche leage is one of my faves). yes, surround yourself with those fanatical and die-hard breast-feeders. many of them are so die-hard that they are more than willing to take the time to offer encouragement, and help you learn the ropes. i am available for e-mails.

now, it gets easier. a whole lot easier. eventually you figure out your groove, you get on a schedule, and you become very confident in your breastfeeding abilities. you discover how to discretely feed in public, or just stop caring as much about who might see your breasts. i jest, but really it can be difficult to remember that the rest of our society does not view your breasts as a way to feed your babe. you learn what foods work best for the both of you, take pride in the chubbiness of your babe (mine was especially chubby), and you become even a bit euphoric about the whole experience. i can remember many afternoon naps on my bed with chloe cuddled up next to me after she had eaten, and those might be some of my favorite memories from her infant days. it gets easier and becomes just about second nature. it was lovely.

so, if you are thinking about breastfeeding, be prepared and surround yourself with supportive people, if you have breastfed your child, support your fellow mamas, and regardless of how we feed our children, let's be good to one another and not let such things divide us.


so, any of you who breastfed, what was the most helpful advice you received?






1 comments:

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    ReplyDelete

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