For something that seems so natural, breastfeeding sure can get controversial. There are extremists out there. I’m amazed by the people that take offense to women breastfeeding in public, yet I ponder the idea of a four year old still being breastfed. It’s a touchy subject and I for one am not going to say what is RIGHT or WRONG. I simply want share my experience and why I feel breastfeeding was best choice for us.
First, let’s go into all the well known reasons to breastfeed. These are some of the reasons that I was initially attracted to breastfeeding:
- It has shown to prevent SIDS.
- It helps to build the babies immune system.
- It’s a great bonding experience.
- It’s healthy, all natural, and you know what you are putting into your kid (because it’s coming out of you!!).
While I was pregnant I would imagine what it would be like to breastfeed my baby for the first time. I just knew it would be the most magical moment. The doctor would lay Baby Bell on my chest and she would root around until she got a perfect latch. I thought about us locking eyes and immediately having a bond. While this would have been awesome, it didn’t happen quite like that. I was way more concerned about her being healthy. Baby Bell gave us a bit of a scare (I hope to share our birth story in a later post) and was a little too shook up to nurse right away. When she did nurse for the first time, it was great, but I didn’t feel that bond that I thought I would. It’s completely natural. I actually didn’t feel “the bond” moment until much later.
As I’m writing this I’m getting quite overwhelmed….I just realized how scary the idea of breastfeeding can be. There is so much to think about. Like, what if my milk doesn’t come in or what if the baby can’t get a good latch? Then you have to worry about your supply. Oh, and what if you plan on returning to work? That’s a blog post in itself. You have to think about nutrition for yourself, too. How do you know if the baby is getting enough to eat? I’m stressing myself out and I’ve already been through it. Okay, take a deep breath with me…. and slowly release… It’s all going to be okay.
Breastfeeding is an amazing thing. If your body allows you to do so then that’s awesome. If it doesn’t, there are so many options out there for you and your baby. I’m going to stop you. If you are currently breastfeeding and really struggling, I urge you to reach out to the La Leche League or a local breastfeeding support group. I also warn you against continuing to read this post. Baby Bell and I have had a very positive breastfeeding experience with little to no issues. This is common but I don’t want to discourage any mother that is having a particularly difficult time. Help is out there and there are so many resources for finding what is right for you and your baby.
I continue to thank God daily for the blessings he has given us with Baby Bell. Our breastfeeding success is one of those blessings. Now, I’m not saying we didn’t have any issues. I just feel like the problems I had were nothing compared to what some women go through.
My supply was amazing. I had to wear breast pads in my second trimester because my breasts were already producing colostrum. I would leak through overnight breast pads during the day. Hyperlaction was both a blessing and a curse. Yes, I was happy to be producing plenty of milk for my baby but I was not allowing my body to regulate the milk production. At one point I was stuffing my bra with newborn diapers to soak up the leaking milk. I was overproducing because I would pump to reduce the flow so that Baby Bell wouldn’t drown in milk. I soon learned that my body was producing the amount of milk it thought I was using. I remember one time when I was trying to feed in a parking lot and I literally squirted milk on the windshield. That was a low point for me and I decided to listen to my body. It’s kind of an amazing thing if you think about it. Your body adapts and starts producing the amount of milk the baby eats. This was wonderful for when I had to go back to work and pump for the next day’s feedings.
Baby Bell didn’t have a great latch right away but it was a learning curve for both of us, and with some advising from the lactation consultant, we got on track. The lactation consultant at the hospital was concerned that her upper lip frenulum could cause latch complications. She recommended we talk to our pediatrician about having it clipped. After several successful feedings, talking to our pediatrician, who had no concern with her intake, we chose to not have it clipped. She has successfully been nursing for 17 months and I have no pain with her latch. I do know of other babies that have had their frenulum (lip or tongue) clipped and it was successful in fixing their latch/feeding issues.
It was hard at times for me to regulate my supply because of pumping during the week and then nursing (not pumping at all) on the weekends. I did get a clogged duct a few times but it never lasted more than a few hours. I was quick to apply a warm compress and massage the duct until I was able to nurse. Nursing always seemed to help clear the clogged duct. Thankfully I never experienced thrush or mastitis.
If you still are on the fence about breastfeeding, let me give you another reason to go all in…WEIGHT LOSS. Breastfeeding is an amazing weight-loss plan, well it was for me anyway. Not only did I get back down to my pre-pregnancy weight, I lost an additional 10 lbs. Now I’m not a nutrition expert but I am conscious of what I eat and how much I eat of it. I also get regular exercise. So when I say breastfeeding is a weight-loss plan, please don’t take me too literally. It is a great metabolism booster and that will aid in weight-loss. So start boobin’ your way to a healthier you. Can you tell I like breastfeeding puns?
I am currently still nursing Baby Bell once a day. We are working on weaning her completely by 2 years. My original goal was to nurse until she was one but later decided it was important that we were both ready to be done, not just one of us. In all actuality, neither of us was ready to be done at one year. Now I am ready and I think she is getting close. She only nurses before bedtime for about 10 minutes. It’s more of a comfort thing for her now that she is completely on solids and drinking whole milk.
Breastfeeding my first child has been the most amazing experience. I truly believe it has attributed to her being so healthy. Its sooooo convenient, less expensive, and all around makes you feel like a Superwoman. The woman’s body really can do remarkable things if given the chance. I hope if you were still weary about breastfeeding that my experience will encourage you to give it a try. I’m not an expert so do your research and find a professional if you have questions.
Breastfeeding doesn’t require a start-up fee and nobody is making you sign a contract. Put those breasts to work the way nature intended. Who knows, it may be the “breast decision you ever make.”