Monday, October 5, 2009

Thoughts on Breastfeeding

As you guys know, I am a youtube junky, It seems the preggo and post-preggo girls are exchanging some heated words about breastfeeding vs bottle feeding (with formula). Here's my two cents.

I guess only 1-cent because I only give Mimi breastmilk. Now before you go and tag me as a crazy breastfeeding advocate hear me out on what I think are the pros and cons.

First off, a little background on my breastfeeding. I had a c-section with little Mimi because she was breech. About a hour or two after she was born they brought her to me in recovery and my husband said "the nurse said she was hungry, you should feed her." My thoughts on breastfeeding before I gave birth were, I'll try it out but i'm not going to feel like a bad parent if it doesn't work out. I had a breastpump and bottles and planned on pumping and eventually giving her breastmilk in bottles after good nursing habits and supply had been established. Breastfeeding for me kind of worked out just like a textbook. I breastfed in the hospital with no problems, had tons of colostrum, and arrived home 4 days post partum with my milk coming in. The first two weeks of nursing were HARD AS HELL. It was frustrating being the ONLY ONE that could feed the baby. The pediatrician told me not to introduce a bottle for 4-6 weeks. It was very demanding. She ate every 2-3 hours. Luckily, she did not fall asleep eating, so I didn't' have issues about constantly trying to wake her while nursing.

During the first two weeks, besides the sleep deprivation, my nipples hurt so badly it would bring me to tears when she latched. Lactation consultants will tell you, "if they are latched right, it shouldn't hurt." Okay, there's something sucking and chaffing on your nipple for 30 minutes to an hour 6-8 times a day, and your nipples aren't supposed to hurt? Give me a break lactation lady! I think this is the breaking point, if you make it through this two weeks of tear jerking latching, and you don't' have supply issues, you're golden.

I love nursing Mimi, most of the time...I lay in bed with her and stroke her soft hair while she quietly nurses, it's beautiful, I can see why some moms hate to give it up when their kids get older. I think about the gift of a healthy start i'm giving her, helping her digestive system function well and helping her stave off flus and oclds from my antibodies. I love knowing when I nurse her she feels close and sercure and loved. I love that she needs me. And let's not forget the fact that formula costs a fortune!

BUT---there are some moments where I realize how much work it is to nurse. First off, I produce too much milk, which I know I'm lucky for this---but I have to pump anytime Mimi goes more than 4 hours without eating. So that means, now that she sleeps through the night--I still can't. If I dont' get up by 3 or 4am to pump, I wake up in a pool of my own breastmilk with rock hard breasts. I also spend my days sterilizing, pumping, labelling and freezing milk and bottles. I guess I should feel lucky that I'm not all bottle feeding--sterilizing is time consuming. I also hate that none of my normal bras fit, except my ugliest of nursing bras! It's hard enough to bring romance back into your marriage after a baby, some more attractive nursing bras would help--Also, by nursing, you are still having to watch everything you eat or any medications you take. Everything you eat or drink goes to the baby. So after giving up your body as an incubator for 10 months, your diet and social drinking is still on house arrest.

Nursing also takes loads of time. The amount of breastmilk Mimi drinks from me vs the bottle may take 30 minutes of nursing vs 10 minutes of bottle feeding. Although she is much less fussy and gassy when doing long nursing sessions vs fast bottle feeds. Also I've noticed that when I'm with her all day with no breaks, just nursing with no bottle feedings, she gets sooooo attached with me that she will fuss if anyone else holds her. This is very flattering, but very frustrating.

Overall, I think I made a good choice "for me and my family." Yes I am sometimes inconvenienced, but I am doing something that is natural and healthy for me and my baby. If I wasn't ready to be selfless than I shouldn't have had a baby. I was/am very lucky. I had no supply issues, latching issues, dietary issues. So my advice may seem smug is you are dealing with one of the above, I'm sorry for that. My daughter is definitely teaching me to be more patient.

I'll talk later about my pump, the pumping products I prefer, the bottle Mimi prefers etc, if anyone wants.

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