Wednesday, August 1, 2012

World Breastfeeding Week: My Breastfeeding Journey

August 1-7 is World Breastfeeding Week, so I thought I'd share a bit of my breastfeeding journey. Enjoy!

I always wanted to breastfeed from day one. It is the best for your baby, so I knew I would do it. However, it was extremely time consuming (especially with my first-he would nurse every 30 minutes sometimes!) and it took a while for my son to get the hang of it. I gritted my teeth and maybe even cried a bit through those first few weeks, but it was SO worth it! He self-weaned and was completely weaned at 17 months (he'd gotten to where he only BF'd at one bedtime feeding before stopping completely). He never had a single ear infection, and he was able to avoid most bugs I brought home from school (I taught public school at the time), even when I had them! All that said, I was surprised by how difficult breastfeeding was with him. I was up every hour at night in the beginning, with him eating for 20 minutes at a time, which meant I only had a half hour after feeding and changing his diaper before getting up again. It was exhausting! I stuck it out, and suddenly, he was eating less often and quicker! It seemed like it happened overnight, and I was even worried at first, but it was just the result of him becoming more efficient at eating--and man, was I thankful!

Right now, my daughter is almost 2 months old and she's doing great with breastfeeding. She was nearly 2 pounds larger at birth and has a great appetite, both of which have been a big help! We've progressed faster than her brother and I did, but it hasn't been without its challenges. I had mastitis during week 2 and that was one of the hardest things I've ever been through. I refused to give up, and I'm so glad I didn't stop. We are doing great now and I look forward to giving her the best nutrition possible for as long as I can!

I have to say, I have had some friends who couldn't breastfeed, no matter how much they tried, and that makes me even more thankful that I've made it through the BFing challenges I've faced. I don't think formula-feeding mamas are failures...I think there is a lot of negativity out there about that, and it's not good. There is a fine line between being a breastfeeding advocate and offending those who couldn't or wouldn't breastfeed their children. I try to keep in mind that most women don't have good information, hospitals aren't very breastfeeding-friendly in my area, and it's not always supported by the woman's family and friends. It's not my job to tell people what to do with their children. I can provide information and tell what has helped me in my breastfeeding journey if they want to hear it, but pushing my opinion on someone isn't going to help--if anything, it will harm! I wish everyone would give breastfeeding a good, 6 week effort. I think if you know that it's going to probably take that long to really get the hang of things and get past the initial pain (yes, it will hurt some--your body has never been used in that way, so it has to adjust!), you would hang in there and be SO thankful that you did! If you have tried your hardest, and still decide you can't breastfeed, you should be proud that you stuck in there and did your best! :)

What breastfeeding tips can you share? 
Keep it positive, please! This isn't a post to argue which is better, but to encourage those who are currently breastfeeding or may want to breastfeed in the future. :)

1 comment:

  1. Feeding on demand is a lot of work but it is the best way to have a great supply.