L in LaLa Land

June 16, 2011

Why I Chose to Breastfeed

My mom breastfed me. That’s all I knew. I wasn’t sure for how long or what the reasoning was but my mom breastfed me. Therefore, I always knew that I would breastfeed my own child when I had one. A few years ago, my sister’s friend came to visit from her new home in Africa. She had her child with her and that was my first encounter with extended breastfeeding. Sitting on our couch, she knew her child was hungry and fed her right there. Amazingly, I was not “grossed out” by someone who was breastfeeding her child with teeth.
Then in 2009 I became pregnant. About 20wks into my pregnancy, I decided to take charge of my birth along with the help of my midwife. Within my research, I found many support groups on both birth and breastfeeding. It was then I learned that breastfeeding wasn’t as simple as putting baby to the breast. There are two people in the equation (mother AND baby) and they both have to “know” what they were doing. So armed with information and determination, I was ready.
The day of delivery didn’t go as planned. I ended up being induced and then had a c-section, but I was happy my little bundle of joy got here safely. However, while I was recovering from my c-section, the nurses took my little man to Special Care area where he was offered a bottle. Luckily, I brought my pump with me to the hospital and I pumped colostrum along with his feeding schedule in Special Care. They would not “release” him from Special Care until he took the required amount of formula (this is a major Booby Trap). I would go and attempt to latch him but he just wasn’t ready (which was the issue the nurses had with the bottle). 2 days later, he knew what to do and latched on like a champ. 2 days after that, my milk came in and there was no looking back.
I went back to work VERY EARLY, but I was determined to breastfeed my child a whole year. I set up a lactation room at my job and at school my teachers let me use their offices. Anytime I had issues, I would look to my online support groups. I found safe havens like Best for Babes, Blacktating, and The Leaky B@@b. It was the latter 2 that had me asking my husband, “what do you think if I breastfed for 2years?”
However, as my son’s first year came to an end, so did our nursing relationship. My son was more interested in exploring and I was getting “touched out”. At around 9mths, my pumping slowed down to 1-2x a day. By the time he was 11mths, he was nursing only once every 2-3 days. Our last nursing session was 2 days after his 1st birthday.

My advice to new moms wanting to breastfeed? 1) Read read read. 2) Find a healthcare provider that will support you in your efforts. 3) Use your lactation consultant to the fullest at the hospital (especially if its a good one). 4) Know that breastfeeding takes time and dedication but you can do it. Besides any amount of time breastfeeding is great. 5) Find support groups that you would like to be a part of. 6) And most importantly, don’t feel discouraged. Just do your best and forget the rest!

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