Monday, August 30, 2010

Breastfeeding: A Love Story

So many women think breastfeeding is a natural thing that will just happen organically after birth. I didn't.

Maybe it's my hypersensitivity or the way I always happen to run into the horror stories, but I was preparing myself for the worst.

I defended formula feeders because I was formula fed and really, who am I to care, much less judge someone for their decisions on how they feed their child? I'd expect the same respect.

Choosing to breastfeed started as an attempt, something I thought I'd endure through blood, sweat and tears just so I could save money. After my baby came, I waited. And the blood and sweat never showed up.

There were tears though--Oh there were tears. But not from the pain like I imagined it would be.

There was pain. In the beginning as I got used to her latching on. Then the cramping breastfeeding would cause in my uterus returning to it's smaller size. But I made it through those moments.

The first night home was the worst. That's when the tears came. My milk hadn't come in and my baby wanted to eat all night. Looking back I guess I could have supplemented that first night home to calm her cries but then, I didn't know they were because if hunger. Nevertheless we survived.

Now, her having nothing but food from me, and having made it through the proclaimed "Hell weeks" I have a little internal game going on. How long will my milk be all she gets?
stealthly nursing
I don't plan on nursing past a year right now, but before, a year even seemed like an impossible feat. Mostly because of my job. Now I'm optimistic, though I know the day she finally eats something else will be a shot to my pride. My 13.5 pound 7 week baby came from me... I did that! It's amazing to see.

I'm returning to work soon and I've been pumping daily to have a stash, and I hope to keep pumping when I start working. Hopefully enough to not have to supplement for a while.

I have a can of formula in my cupboard. Enfamil sent it to me and I didn't throw it away like many suggested. It's not like I don't have will power, or like it's poison. There may be one day I need it, or perhaps I'll donate it. I know many friends who tried to breastfeed and couldn't or didn't for whatever reason, and it wasn't an easy transition for any of them.

I cried when my baby had her first bottle at two weeks, fearing she wouldn't breastfeed again.

Then I cried at six weeks when we tried to give her her second, third and forth bottle, but she wouldn't take it.

I thought breastfeeding would be something I would just endure until I couldn't stand to do it anymore, but instead it's become something I love more than I could have imagined.

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