Are you scared? Are you thinking, "what is this right-wing psycho going to talk about now?" Don't worry - I won't drag out my views that Obama is the anti-christ, nor will I lecture you on the astronomical taxes we pay...I'm going to blog about breastfeeding.
It's one of those topics that I never thought much about before Lil Major came on the scene. I'd thought enough about it to know that I wanted to nurse my kids, but I was known to discreetly sneak out of the room to watch football with the guys when the women started talking about sore nipples and pumping.
Well, now I'm part of the club!
One of the (few) classes that The Colonel and I took in preparation for the arrival of Lil Major was breastfeeding. To be honest, I wasn't expecting to learn all that much in it. I'd read a lot about breastfeeding, my mom and sis had had no issues with it, so I thought I'd follow suit.
Boy, was I wrong! But, before I get into that, let me tell you WHY I am so intent on breastfeeding (and NO, La Leche League is not sponsoring this post).
Here are my reasons for breastfeeding, in order of importance to me:
1. COST (yes, this is my first reason). Do you know how much formula costs??? And my body makes milk FOR FREE!
2. NUTRITION - it's well known that breast milk is the best thing, nutrition wise, for our kids -- we've all heard all the reasons why
3. It seems to be how God intended us to feed our babies
4. It burns 500 calories/day (which made me THINK it would help me lose baby weight...but now I find out that that only works for some people...some people HANG ON TO THAT EXTRA WEIGHT while they're nursing and lose the last 10 pounds once they stop - this appears to be happening to me...STINK!)
Others say they want to nurse to help them bond with their child. This wasn't one of my reasons, and I didn't really understand how that worked anyway...but I do now. And I definitely think it's helped us bond. I LOVE the time I spend with Lil Major, just him and I.
Ok, so that's why I wanted to do it. And I really never even considered I would have a hard time doing it. I was a little nervous about what it would feel like, and if I would experience the soreness that a lot of women talk about, but overall? I thought I would be a pro in no time...I definitely knew that I'd have NO problem producing enough milk.
And then the babe was born, and then I tried to nurse, and then...NOTHING! I knew we were going to have issues when I saw that my b00b was 3 times the size of his little head! He wouldn't latch on. He'd latch on for 3 sucks and that was it...or he wouldn't latch on at all. I stayed calm. I asked for the lactation consultant to visit us. I insisted that we WAIT to supplement.
The consultant came by, and she commended me for staying so patient. She worked with me (all the while holding my b00b in her hand - that was weird at first) for the 3 days we were in the hospital, and we weren't really getting anywhere. I was starting to freak out a bit. The pediatrician insisted that we supplement because my milk hadn't come in yet, so pumping wouldn't help, and Lil Major had jaundice and a low temperature.
We started out by cup feeding him formula. We didn't want to introduce a bottle yet. At the same time, the Lactation Consultant gave me a nipple shield to try. I'd never seen or heard of one before, but it basically puts a layer of silicone over your nipple. In my case, it helped the kiddo latch on...for others, it puts a barrier between you and the baby and helps with the soreness.
We tried the shield in the hospital, and even that wasn't working, so we were sent home with the shield, the cup, and formula. And I talked on the phone to the consultant several times. The first night we were home, we gave him formula. I was starting to get frustrated now. The formula stunk (literally!), I was starting to see dollar signs, and I was afraid the kiddo was starving. Then The Colonel remembered the shield...and he told me to try it again. What do you know?? It worked!! I gave a full feeding to my son...from my own body!! From then on, and to this day, he's had nothing but breast milk.
And guess what?? I STILL have to use that silly shield. It's awkward and difficult to use in public (I need at least one more hand), but I don't care. I'm feeding my son the way I wanted to from the beginning. The consultant told me that eventually Lil Major would not want the shield anymore...well, that hasn't happened, and although I occasionally work with him to try to get him to nurse without it, I have to admit I don't push it.
SO, the reason for my post, and the potentially controversial statement I'm about to make is this:
Almost ANYONE can nurse their baby if they choose to.
I know there are a few exceptions, and that's why I say ALMOST ANYONE. If you don't get your milk or you have medical issues, then it probably won't work for you. BUT, pretty much any other reason? Try it, don't give up, ask for help, don't be scared!
My girlfriend just had her third baby, and while I was visiting her in the hospital she mentioned that her nipples were shredded. I asked her if she'd seen the lactation consultant (she was at the same hospital I had been at), and she said no. I don't know why the nurses don't push that more...they're there to help and they're FREE! Yes, FREE!
There are so many tools and resources out there if you really want to breastfeed. That's one of the things I learned in the class that we took, and now I've learned it from experience, too.
If you decide to try it, don't give up after the first day or week or even month. I'm SO glad that I didn't...and I'm already dreading the day when Lil Major doesn't want to nurse anymore...it's our special time together, and I love it!
I'm kinda scared to see who ends up at this post from a google search...what with all the choice words that I use!