Monday, August 3, 2009

Breastfeeding Awareness Week- Day 1

In honor of Breastfeeding Awareness Week, I want to share some of experiences with nursing two little ones over the last two years.

I always knew I wanted to breastfeed my babies. I was nursed, as were all of my sisters when breastfeeding wasn't the cool thing to do. In fact, there were very few women who were there to support my mom in her decision. But, she's a tough chick and did it anyway.

With Piggy, my first, I thought that the labor and birth were going to be the hard part. Everything I had read said that nursing should be painless and easy. Boy was I misinformed- labor and delivery (we had a home birth) were a cinch compared to breastfeeding. I guess I didn't realize that since my breasts had never been used that way before, it was going to hurt for a while even if she was nursing correctly, even though the books said otherwise. It took 5 weeks before I got the hang of nursing Piggy, and she received the moniker "Piggy" during that time because of her constant eating and rapid weight gain. In fact, she never lost weight during that first 24 hour period. I made a little mistake and woke her up her first night, latched her on to my breast and she didn't let go for over 7 hours! My nipples got extremely tender and Piggy ate every hour and a half to two hours and for over 45 minutes at a time, so I got all of an hour break for those first few weeks. It was torture for me. Right before she latched on each time I'd check her mouth one more time to make certain that she didn't have teeth, because I would have bet my left leg that she did. Then, I'd hold my breath and scrunch my eyes tightly shut as she latched on. It was agony for those first few seconds... and then the pain was gone. I remember thinking how nice it would be when it didn't hurt to nurse any more, and then being convinced that it was never going to get any better. But it did and by week 6 we were getting into the groove. I thoroughly enjoyed the time we spent together each day as our nursing relationship bloomed, and I completely and utterly fell in love with my child. It was a beautiful experience.

When Piggy was 8 months old, we found out we were expecting a second time. I had no idea until I began having that tender, somewhat excruciating pain while nursing again. Then I had one day that I needed to eat a container of peanut butter, and then felt nauseated afterward. Of course, I chalked it up to the container of peanut butter, but common sense would have made me question my desire to consume that much peanut butter. The next day I took a pregnancy test and confirmed my suspicion. I immediately began taking precautions to keep my supply up because I had heard that pregnancy can sometimes dry up the milk completely. I ate lots of steel cut oats, lactation tea, and various other things, but by month 4 it was totally gone.

I was disappointed and felt tremendously guilty that I could no longer exclusively breastfeed my child. I cried at the thought of giving formula to my baby and cried at the shopping center as I picked out the can of soy. My starving baby- I only realized that I had a supply issue when Piggy went a full day without a wet diaper- greedily gobbled up an entire bottle full of that milk. It was only then that I was no longer upset. In fact, I was thankful that there was an option... I didn't have any lactating friends that I would feel comfortable asking for milk, so soy was the only other option. We had made it to 11 months exclusively breastfeeding.

I plan on making it much longer with Petunia. More on that tomorrow!

1 comment:

  1. I nursed both my sons - for varying lengths of time. With Colin, my oldest, I breastfed for seven or eight months. I tried it with my second, Cameron, and only lasted for a couple of weeks before I gave in to the bottle. I felt guilty, but also relieved at the same time.

    I've always wanted to be one of those moms who ADORES breastfeeding, but I'm just not. However, I'm expecting my third baby next month (another son!) and am oddly, uncharacteristically excited about trying the nursing thing again. I want to do it RIGHT this time - with a lactation consultant and everything - and maybe I'll learn to like it more. I really want to. :)

    Sorry for the long-winded comment ... but I liked this post!!