My friend Jennifer just blogged about this the other day, and I was already drafting a post in my head about this, as well … so I figured today would be a good day to post about breastfeeding.
I am PROUD to say that I have made it 10 weeks breastfeeding Lucy.
Clearly, she is thriving.
So why is 10 weeks of breastfeeding something worth blogging about?
Well, I was never able to breastfeed Emma, and while I did pump for a while, she eventually went to formula. First things first, I do not regret that decision AT ALL, because it was by far the best decision for us. I applaud those who work and work and work at breastfeeding to make it work, but there came a point when I really felt like I was spending more time pumping and bottle-feeding my kid than I was actually getting to know her.
But Lucy? Well, she latched on and started nursing like a champ from day one. She nursed right through the dreaded engorgement phase in a day and a half. She never had any issues with latch, but even if she got lazy, all I had to do was “correct” her a couple of times, and she’d go back to doing it right.
But there are days when I want to give up and go to formula.
She has reflux. Not the kind where she’s constantly spitting up … no, she has the “silent reflux” (baby heartburn) where she just cries and screams and acts like someone’s stabbing her in the chest after every feeding and throughout the day and night. So she takes medicine 3x’s a day.
ps: giving medicine to a 2-month old makes me want to stab a fork in my eye. I dread it every morning, afternoon and night. She coughs, sputters, chokes … and then her eyes get really big, and I have to calm her down and tell her to breathe.
I also nurse on demand. I don’t believe in scheduled feedings or trying to pacify her through a feeding, so if she wants to eat 7 times a night, I feed her 7 times a night. That’s not always easy, and there have definitely been times when I’ve sat in the rocking chair at 3am crying because she won’t.quit.nursing. And I am so.stinking.tired. And then I want to make a bottle and pass her over to Ken. But it’s only for a short time, and I know I’ll miss this special time I have with just her as soon as it’s over.
I have overactive letdown, so I pretty much choke my baby every time my milk flows down really fast. This is heart-wrenching, especially since that is also one of the causes of her reflux. But I know she’ll get better and will adjust to it.
I don’t like nursing in public. I’m not a shy person at all, and I, personally, don’t have any issues with public breastfeeding. But I know others do, so when I do NIP, I cover up. But Lucy HATES being covered. And she’s a pop-on-and-off eater, so it’s kind of a pain to try to stay covered up as I’m putting her back on 4 or 5 times per session. In the end, nursing in public just isn’t fun for us. So I nurse in the car or in the corner or I simply try not to run errands when I know she’ll need to eat.
I have to think constantly about what I’m eating. When I was formula feeding Emma, I could have 12 cups of coffee a day if I wanted to. Now, I drink one cup of half-caff coffee so that I don’t bother her reflux. And I ration out my caffeine throughout the day so she doesn’t get a boatload of caffeine all in one sitting. Oh, I ate a bunch of shrimp the other night, and she had a horrible day the next day. So no more shrimp for a while. Dude, I used to eat shrimp hibachi at least once a week.
So all of that to say that while I do love being able to nourish my baby, there have been times when I want to quit. There are still days when I am OVER IT. I don’t love it all of the time.
And when I’m looking at Emma who is years ahead of her “scheduled milestones” and is super healthy, and when I’m trapped beneath the baby who won’t quit nursing, and when I remember that Emma was sleeping through the night at 6 weeks old on formula, and when I was an expert at making bottles in less than 30 seconds … well, it’s hard to say that breastfeeding is best. (Even though it says so on the formula can!)
But then I look down at Lucy at 3am, and she’s got her hands curled around my breast, and she’s looking me in the eye, and she’s sighing and cooing and smiling while she’s eating.
And oh my goodness, it’s amazing. I am feeding my baby. I am meeting ALL of her nutritional needs. I carried and fed her for 8 months … why shouldn’t I keep doing it?
Good grief, I have it so unbelievably EASY compared to so many moms out there, so who am I to complain about a little medicine? Who am I to complain about a few sleepless nights? Who am I to complain about cutting back on caffeine and giving up certain foods for a few months? (Okay, the shrimp thing really stinks)
I am a mother. When I signed up to be a mother, I signed up to do what was best for me and my child. It’s not always going to be easy. It’s not always going to be the most comfortable thing in the world. But honestly? I have the ability to feed my child for free. I have the ability to give my child what is absolutely best for her without struggling or having to work hard at it.
If I don’t do that, then I need to reevaluate my priorities.
Disclaimer time … please note that I am talking about me. Of course I don’t think that breastfeeding is for everyone. And I don’t judge anyone who doesn’t breastfeed. (Really! I’m not just saying that!) One of my best friends doesn’t breastfeed because she’s simply not comfortable with it, and THAT is what is best for her and her child. I would never suggest that someone be constantly uncomfortable or unhappy feeding their child.
This post is simply going to act as a bookmark.
A bookmark to come back and read whenever I feel like quitting.
A bookmark to remind myself that it’s okay to feel this way. And really, a bookmark to anyone out there who feels guilty for not goo-goo and gah-gah’ing about breastfeeding. It is OKAY to not love breastfeeding 100% of the time. I don’t.
But also a bookmark to remind myself that I can totally keep doing this.
A reminder that, in spite of whatever I think is a “hardship,” it’s not that hard. I have it easy.
And Lucy deserves more of me.
Those thighs deserve mommy milkshakes.