Breastfeeding is one of my passions, and a topic I often wonder why we even have to talk about. It seems like such a natural and obvious thing to do, so it baffles me that women CHOOSE not to do it.
Now before you yell at me, all the many reasons why you couldn’t or didn’t, hear me out. This is my story.
When my first son Conner was born, there was no doubt in my mind that I was going to nurse him. I had little idea of what to expect, but was prepared to take it on. I knew the benefits of breastfeeding (LOVE this post on breastfeeding! She did a great job!), and was prepared to take on the pains and discomfort it may involve.
Between the benefits, the fact that it is FREE, and that it is so obviously how God created us, I was ready to take it on. After Conner was born, the hospital kept us an entire week because of the infection he MIGHT have. OK… so that is a whole entirely different blog post 🙂 but during the first few days, this hospital, that claimed to be supportive of breastfeeding, made us mix my milk with formula. Obviously he needed things my milk didn’t offer him :-|.
Isn’t is funny how we think we know better than God? We think we can create something that could protect and strengthen our precious babies better than God. OK, so yeah, God has given us the skills and brains, and I think formula is good for those who truly cannot nurse their babies, but this is such a rare occurrence that is often used as an excuse to not breastfeed.
It only took us a couple of days feeding him formula with my milk, to stand up and say no. I know my baby best, not some doctor or hospital. I was giving him exactly what he needed and he would come out strong. I tell you this to encourage you to stand up for yourself. Sometimes, when we are told to do something from a doctor, we assume this is the best possible decision, but as a mom, I have studied and researched, and I know what is best, too. I will listen to what they have to say, but that does not mean they get the final say.
Moving on–a couple of months after Conner was born, I decided to go back to teaching. This meant working full-time, and if I was going to continue to breastfeed, it was going to take some extra work. The teaching schedule does not leave a lot of room for pumping. I would have to give up some of my planning period and almost all of my lunch break, which meant eating alone and super fast.
Dedication and determination are what kept me going through those difficult times. I knew it was important for my baby to get my milk, and I knew I needed to keep my milk supply up. I also worked with my mom, who watched him at first, to make sure she didn’t feed him within a couple of hours before I would get there, so I could nurse him as soon as I arrived.
Nursing brought terrible sores on my right nipple, that would often crack terribly and bleed while feeding. The pain was so unbearable that it made it difficult to want to continue, but I pushed through with the use of Lanolin, prayers, and tears. Pushing through, I found the joys and bonding that came with breastfeeding.
Conner and I had such an amazing bond, and we cherished these moments together. I saved a lot of money by breastfeeding! It was free (aside from the cost of the pump… which was well worth it), and I attribute breast milk as one of the reasons my son was so healthy. I nursed him just over 14 months.
Stay tuned for Part 2…