I always knew I wanted to breastfeed any children we were lucky to have. It was never a question of ‘maybe, we’ll try it and see if I like it‘ I was pretty set. Just like some Moms know they definitely do not want to breastfeed, I was pretty determined to breastfeed. I even signed up for a class to learn about it which was comical in that the DH thought he didn’t have to go to that class. Haha, no no honey, you’re my support person in this, you’re going to class. So we went, we even had plastic babies to practice proper positioning for breastfeeding. I wish I had pictures of all the guys in that class ‘nursing’ their plastic babies, PRICELESS.
But like all learning, reading and studying about it is one thing, doing it is completely another thing. So Stella is born, and I had learned in class that babies “naturally” root and try to breastfeed. GREAT, she comes pre-programmed! This will be easy! Well Stella naturally rooted, but she naturally rooted on me, on DH, on inanimate objects, etc. But we got her latched minutes after birth and I was feeling pretty awesome. Except I was SO excited I ignored the fact that it was hurting like hell. I knew she was probably not latched right. But I figured it didn’t matter, we’d figure it out. Well just a couple of times of improper latch left me extremely sore. Which made for days of extreme discomfort. Luckily we had access to a Lactation Consultant and it helped us get back on track.
I can remember at one point being pretty frustrated and I looked down at Stella and said “I thought you were supposed to know what you were doing!” and she looked up at me like “umm, dude, I’m 4 days old, blinking is my biggest accomplishment right now.”
Now, almost 3 months in, we are doing great, I can honestly say I love breastfeeding and have had no discomfort issues since the first few weeks. I know that’s not the case for everyone. And I know I’ll be in for some bumps in the road when teething starts or other issues arise.
Melissa, at Banking On A Family, writes this week about some bumps in the road that she has hit with breastfeeding. Her post spoke to me because I am so committed to breastfeeding, and in her post you can really sense just how committed she is to breastfeeding too.
Melissa’s “bumps” have her questioning whether to continue breastfeeding or not. She writes that this questioning leaves her feeling like a “quitter and a failure.” Melissa perfectly puts into words the how I feel about being able to breastfeed my own child:
I can’t help but reflect on how significantly being able to physically provide milk for my daughter effects my sense of self-worth. It’s hard to quantify the amount of pride I feel from filling a little storage bag to the brim with wholesome milk that I know is for her. I look upon my stash of frozen bags of milk as though they were bars of gold. Not to mention how very much I love snuggling and being so close to her. Watching her suckle while her eyes slowly close. It makes me fall more and more in love with her.
Melissa also taught me something about nursing. I did not know that when/if a child starts to bite during nursing that you’re just supposed to not react and calmly remove them from the breast. How does one not react to a small human BITING one of your most sensitive spots? Melissa writes:
…my reaction is no where near as graceful. It’s typically a yelp or gasp and it takes everything I have to remember not to pull away without breaking her latch first. There are behaviors to look for that typically happen before a bite, and sweet Jesus, can I tell you I look for them. But it happens anyway.
Melissa’s post also spoke to me because she is honest. Things are rough right now and she is not trying to hide it, and she is also trying to honestly evaluate if breastfeeding is still working for her and her child. With every parenting choice we make, it has to work for both parent and child, otherwise it can lead to resentment in the parent and frustration in the child. A good parent is honest enough to know that choices have to be reviewed and evaluated, and possibly changed if need be. I hope Melissa is able to continue to breastfeed. But I hope most of all that she makes the choice that is right for her and her child.
Please visit Melissa’s post, A Tale of Two Tata’s, read about the issues she is having, and let her know she has support from all of us. Perhaps you have been in a situation similar to hers and can offer some help.
Melissa in her own words: Parenting an amazing baby girl after TTC for close to five years. Diagnosed with Ovulatory PCOS , MTHFR, elevated TH1, TH2 and Natural Killer Cells. Also dealing with Severe MFI. We got pregnant from our first IVF cycle (SO fricken lucky) in April 0f 2011, and delivered a beautifully healthy baby girl the following December. Still feeling very much infertile and find myself in utter disbelief that I awaken each morning to a cooing baby.