Breastfeeding. "It's the hardest thing you'll ever do," "It's the most painful thing you will ever experience," "Give it 2 weeks," "Give it 8 weeks," "Give it 6 weeks," "You may bleed," "you're nipples may crack." Sounds like fun huh?? Sign me up! But the end line always goes the same: "It's the BEST thing you'll ever do, and you'll be so glad that you did it!" These are all of the things that I have heard for years! As a daughter of someone who birthed 8 children and breastfed 6 of them, I have seen a lot about the miracle(s) of child birth and rearing. I have heard these one liners since I got pregnant from just about every person who has breastfed successfully, and very rarely (if ever) did I hear that this task was "wonderfully pain free and extremely easy"
When I got pregnant I decided early on that I was going to breastfeed because it is the most economical, healthiest, most convenient option. I didn't even register for bottles or pumps because I wanted to be fully dedicated to doing the whole "nursing" thing. I spent 9 months preparing my mind and receiving many "pep-talks" about this "joy" of motherhood. I was "game" for this...or so I thought.
My most magical moment in the delivery room was when I nursed my son for the first time...surprisingly, he latched on immediately, and started going to town! He was a BIG boy, and he was hungry! This "magical moment" slipped my very quickly, never to return. Because my boy, was on the larger side they told me that his blood sugar was low and he needed to be supplemented, therefore he received a bottle...uh oh. Then, I was told to start pumping, finger feeding and nipple shielding by the 3 lactation ladies who cam to visit me...this was not what I was expecting. I was expecting to be told about the "cradle hold," the "football hold," the "side-laying position" and the ways I should try to get him to latch on. My nurses were very helpful in this area, as well as my mom and other supporters, but I was kind of surprised at the lactation people, who were trying all the ways to get him my milk, without actually breastfeeding. This was discouraging to me. By day 2 The Kidd-O had been exposed to bottle nipples, my finger, daddy's finger, plastic nipple shields, and me (the real deal). Talk about "nipple confusion," it's no wonder he had trouble latching on after our "magical moment"!!! Then they told me that he was tongue tied and should have his tongue clipped...good grief!
When we got home I had dedicated myself to getting him to latch on and I was gonna do this thing! Easier said than done. Turns out it is "the hardest thing I'll ever do"! And also, as it turns out, I'm not the most dedicated person on the planet either. I'll tell it like it is, and this was hard for me to admit after a few days, but I guess I just didn't want it bad enough! I didn't want to experience the pain (that was supposedly "worth it"), and My baby was sooo good and the only time he cried was when I was trying to nurse him, he got very frustrated (he has my Italian temper), which in turn, made me frustrated! I wasn't enjoying meal-time at all, and I always gave in to pumping.
I went back and forth a MILLION times about whether to just pump-n-feed, or keep trying to get him to latch on. And I'm not going to lie, I felt some guilt about not breast feeding directly, but after it was all said and done, and I came to the realization that he was getting MY milk, just from a bottle, the guilt lifted immediately, and I have enjoyed his feedings ever since!
Yes, I have become a slave to the pump, and it is probably more work than if I had committed myself to nursing, but it is my joy to do it. It's the least I can do to give him my milk even if I spend a TON of time washing the parts to the pump and the bottles!! I'll ride this train for as long as I can, and maybe I'll become a more disciplined and dedicated mom for the next one.
Wife of 4 years, mom to 1, oldest sister to 7...I'm striving to be an EXCELLENT wife, and not a perfect wife. Reading about the Prov. 31 woman is truly inspiring and something to strive for and to be encouraged by, not discouraged!