This isn’t a post on why you should breastfeed your baby over formula feeding. It’s a personal choice and I respect that. This post is about my journey and how having a good support system can make it the most easy, rewarding, and natural way to feed your baby.
When I was pregnant I was never worried or scared of ‘having’ my baby. I was most worried about being able to feed my baby. Some new Mom’s I have talked to (keep in mind they have been about 10 years younger than me) were worried about the pain, stretch marks, and their ass getting to big. They had not even considered how they would feed their baby. To them, there was no decision to be made. Bottle and formula was the way to go.
SIDE NOTE – Stretch marks and your ass fat can be controlled to a degree. Stretch marks are the result of the rapid stretching of the skin. I have a few around my belly button and my belly got HUGE! I was all belly but it grew gradually. I didn’t take eating for two as an invite to consume any and everything I wanted. Ass fat – well I can’t comment on that one, I didn’t have much of an ass before Lucy and she took what little ass I had with her when she was born. I would say that it just comes back to self-control ladies. Maintaining a healthy weight gain throughout your pregnancy directly effects your baby and can help with labor. Now the pain on the other hand, that can be scary. The unknown is scary and I had no idea what to expect. It hurt, it hurt ALOT! BUT – by focusing on my breathing, moaning, and coaching I was able to have a natural delivery and attempt nursing right away.
My sister-in-law is a doula and helped me and Ryan through the labor and delivery and she was a great breastfeeding resource (She had 5 kids under her belt). She helped me and Lucy a lot in those first few days/weeks. I found that my lactation nurse in the hospital was a brut of a woman who man-handled my chest and my baby like she was stuffing a Thanksgiving turkey. Very unhelpful. If you run into this situation ask for other resources, there are plenty out there. Don’t give up because your 1st experience wasn’t what you had hoped for.
I can recall one night when Lucy was having a hard time latching on. She preferred one side over the other and I REALLY needed her to nurse on the right side. She just couldn’t get it. I finally decided to pump and Ryan fed her with a syringe for that feeding, she did not like it and cried the whole time. It was one of the hardest nights we had. I was crying because I was so tired and wanted to desperately comfort and feed my baby. I started to second guess my choice in nursing my baby.
Morning came and Lucy was fussy and she was spitting up large amounts of breast milk shortly after I nursed her. Thinking it was reflux we made sure she stayed up right for at least 35-40 minutes after nursing but that didn’t solve the issue (We solved this problem with correcting my diet). She was still having issues latching on the right side and I called my trusted sister-in-law over to help. I was in tears again thinking that my worst fear of not being able to feed my baby was coming true. We tried different positions on the boppy and eventually tried laying down on the bed with Lucy snuggled close to my side. It worked! With more practice she learned how to latch on the right side with no issue.
I knew going into this that it would take 4-6 weeks for Lucy and I to learn how to nurse. While nursing is the most natural way to feed your baby it is still something you and your baby need to learn to do. When I shared my fears with Ryan before Lucy was born he asked what he could do. I told him I just need his support, encouragement, patience, and understanding. For those new Daddies out there, your support, patience, and encouragement is the best thing you can give Mommy and Baby.
Lucy is 10 months old now and doesn’t nurse all that much any more. She nurses before her naps, when we are home, and before bed. Since she is on the move all the time this is my special time with her. She’s quiet and laying in my arms. I know these moments are numbered so I look forward to them each day!
I know some of you are saying to yourself, well she’s a stay at home mom, she has time for that. I know several working moms who pump and bottle feed their baby breast milk. Breastfeeding takes a commitment for sure. Breastfed babies typically take longer to get to the point where they sleep through the night since they digest the breast milk so easily and quickly. However – I don’t have to go fix a bottle at 2 in the morning. So, your sleepless nights are prolonged, you have to watch your alcohol, dairy, eggs, and gassy food intake. Still, with all that, the choice was easy for me – I wanted the best for my baby and I knew we wanted to raise her as a paleo baby. The formulas out there are loaded with soy and or cows milk. Neither of which is considered paleo, and with recent studies to back this statement – good for your baby.
There is so much more to say on this topic but my goal is to keep these posts short/er. So in summary:
* Stay the course
* Remember it gets easier
* Collect resources (people, books, blogs, websites)
* Watch your diet (what you eat can and will effect your babies tummy)
* In the long run, a year commitment on your part, is nothing and goes by so quickly
* Breastfeeding has been linked to reducing your risk for breast cancer
Thank you for letting me share my journey on such a controversial and sensitive topic.
Eat Real – Jen