Win Big in Our "Blog About Breastfeeding" Event! - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 32 Old 08-08-2013, 12:31 AM
 
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It didn't occur to me to feed our baby any other way than by the breast.  My breasts.  My tiny boobs that never served much of a purpose - they aren't the perky larger kind glorified by the media.  On my mother and father's sides of our family, people breastfeed as a natural part of raising their children.  My mother, however, not only breastfed four children, she was a major advocate for breastfeeding.  So, the world I was raised in considered breastfeeding normal, acceptable, smart and healthy.  When I was pregnant, I noticed for the first time just how much formula is pushed on mamas, mostly via bottle and formula company advertisements.  When you sign up for a gift registry with a store, for example, the free treats you receive are bottles and formula that come in a nifty bottle bag.  The bag and bottles could come in handy for storing expressed breast milk, but there is definitely a  formula push.  There are lots of breastfeeding-related products that would be perfect for a shwag bag, like lanolin for chapped nipples or breast pads.  Even in addition to the formula would be fine.  But, it feels like the world wants a mama to feed her babies manufactured grub, even if there is no specific reason requiring her to make that choice (I realize each mama is different and sometimes formula is the necessary or best choice).

 

Back to my baby and my breasts... my first baby and I had an extremely uncomfortable, miserable time working out our breastfeeding relationship.  My boobs hurt like hell when my milk was coming in, and once it did, the milk would spray out so forcefully that my wee one had a hard time getting on and staying on.  She'd cry, I'd cry, we'd all cry.  Our first family outing after her birth was to Nordstrom to get fitted for bras so I could at least get some support around my newly gigantic, hard-as-rock boobs and so I had something to stuff my breast pads into so I wouldn't leak everywhere.  I leaked all over the fitting room but got two fantastic bras that I continued to wear throughout my nearly two years of breastfeeding.  I went to a La Leche League meeting at my mom's suggestion when our baby was eight days old.  She was the tiniest in a cramped, hot room of moms and babies up to four months old, all of whom looked like professional breastfeeders.  Our baby cried, the coach encouraged me to try different positions, and somehow we made it through the meeting without getting heat stroke or just getting fed up with having a wailing baby while people were trying to talk.  From there, our breastfeeding relationship really just took time to perfect itself.  Baby needed to learn my body and I needed to learn her style. 

 

Within a few months of our baby's birth, we were an expert breastfeeding team.  We breastfed anywhere and everywhere I went when the need arose.  She breastfed until she was just shy of two-years-old, when she began to slowly ween herself and when I became pregnant with our second child.  She was down to a couple of nursings per day when I cut her off.  Two factors pushed me from continuing her natural self-weening to deciding our many months of intimacy in this way were over: I could feel my uterus contract when she nursed and it was very uncomfortable.  And, to be honest at the risk of sounding selfish, I began to feel that from sun up to sun down external demands of many sorts were driving my life.  I needed to make some changes to ensure I had regular opportunities to just quietly be with myself by myself to maintain simple sanity.  Stopping breastfeeding was just one of those changes.  I figure if our daughter wants to re-start when her sibling is born, she's welcome to!

 

There were times during what I consider our successful run at nursing when I resented being tied so tightly to a needy little creature.  The first was when she was about three months old and I really, really, really wanted to paddle the Vogalonga, a 30 km "act of love for Venice and the water that surrounds it, for its lagoon and its islands" - basically, an 8 hour party in a kayak through the canals of historic Venice.  My parents refused to take care of our baby all day, particularly because we hadn't gotten her accustomed to drinking expressed milk from a bottle.  I was righteously annoyed at first that between my husband and I the one with the boobs had to stay behind, but I quickly recovered and had a damn good time watching the boats pass by with our baby and my parents.  Other more minor situations popped up here and there - my ma is generous to watch our daughter quite often.  Sometimes when I was out for a couple of hours she would call frantic that I needed to come home right away and feed my starving child (me: will she drink from the bottle?  ma: I tried!  me: did you try again?  ma: yes!  me: ok fiiiiiiine, I'll be there in a few - and would arrive only to find the baby sleeping soundly.  Ok, this sometimes happened; other times, she would still be crying her head off and I'd feed her and all would be peachy).  Nursing was a primal cause for me to learn to give and care for another even when I wanted to flake off and just do what I wanted to do.  Nursing taught me to be still and notice iddy biddy phenomenons, like the subtle rise and fall of my baby's lungs as she breathed.  Nursing allowed me to watch all the past seasons of Grey's Anatomy in a super compressed time frame!  Nursing was an incredible lesson on my own body's anatomy - the acute feeling of connection between different parts of the body that previously seemed remote from another, the incredible rush of hormones during the "let down" of the milk, the spiritual peace, knowing and excitement that begins with nursing and continues through motherhood. 

 

The network of people around me were enablers of our successful nursing experience, and I am forever grateful for them.  First, my husband was all about nursing.  He felt kind of guilty and helpless sometimes, because he didn't have the magic cure at who-knows-when in the middle of the night and I was exhausted.  He would have loved to have shared the responsibility of getting up to feed her, but he contributed in so many other meaningful ways and continues to as our daughter's needs and wants change.  Second, my workplace supports breastfeeding not only in written policy but in practice.  I was given a private space to nurse in and was allowed to bring our baby to work until she was six-months-old.  Once we passed the six months mark, our baby went to a phenomenal sitter - a breastfeeder herself - who was more than glad to serve our gal expressed breast milk.  Finally, the breastfeeding women around me, including my mama and sisters, create a fun, supportive community to grow our babies in.  For good reason, it feels like we are part of something that extends back and forward in time forever.  Being connected is the essence of life, and I am grateful my wee one and all of our supporters who continue to provide me the opportunity to become the woman and mother I am becoming.

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#32 of 32 Old 08-08-2013, 06:36 PM - Thread Starter
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The winners for this event have been chosen. They are listed here along with all of the participating blog posts. Come find out if you won and read the smart, funny and inspiring words of other moms. 

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Breastfeeding Challenges , Challenges With Breastfeeding , Breastfeeding And The Law , Getting Started With Breastfeeding , Breastfeeding Nursing Your Baby , Breastfeeding , Breastfeeding Beyond Infancy , Pumping , Birth Preparation

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