Tuesday, June 4, 2013

New Mommy Files: Breastfeeding Part I

I started this little segment back when Ly was 5 1/2 months old.
And had every intention of blogging somewhat frequently about specific new mama topics.

Not because I think I have the answers.
*That thought actually makes me laugh.*
But mostly because I wanted to document how I did things.
For myself.
To look back and think, "Definitely not doing that again."
Or, "What the heck were we thinking?!?!"

And simply to share my experience.
So that others don't feel so alone.
Or nut-house crazy.

Is that just me?

And I've had so many others reach out to me.
To share their personal experiences.
And to give me their advice.

That's what I just love about the blogging community.
So much support.

Now that I'm not devoting every smidgen of time and energy to 20 fourth graders, I figured it was time to get back into my New Mommy Files.

I've recently had several mama friends ask me questions.
About breastfeeding.
And how to make pumping work while being a teacher.
So that's exactly what I'm going to discuss.


And just like hitting a funny-bone-like reflex, I'm sure a few readers just skedaddled.

You win some.
You lose some.

I wish I did this post 6 months ago
Because there are so many details I dont' remember about the beginning.

But let's face it.
I was exhausted.
And had know clue what the heck I was doing.
Still don't.

But all the more reason I wish I would have documented it all.

I think I'm going to break this doosie-of-a-topic up into 2 parts.

Part I: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly. 
Part II: My Experience and Making it Work at Work

Let's take it from the beginning.

Breastfeeding Part I: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

I think every woman who has ever tried to breastfeed should get a medal of honor.
Scratch that.
More like an all expense paid trip to Bora Bora.
For 3 months.

Now don't get me wrong. 
I am definitely not a whip-out-my-boob-anywhere-nurse-until-my-baby-is-7 kind of gal.
*More power to you if you are.*

I am incredibly modest.
And tend to take the more subtle route.
I think I've only nursed in public a handful times.
*With my handy, dandy hooter-hider of course.*

But if you ask, I will go on and on and on.
About why breast is best.

I'm pretty sure absolutely no one would argue.
Choosing to breastfeed your baby is hands-down the absolute best choice.
Even if it's only for a short time.

I mean.
Just google "benefits of breastfeeding."
You will get 7,980,000 search results.

I have nothing against formula.
In fact, I've come very close to supplementing due to dwindling supply.

And past these baby years, no one even knows the difference. 
Can you imagine?
"Oh yeah. Todd's the best fit for our new tax accountant position. I hear he was breastfed as a baby."

Plus I personally know some women who really struggled.
Some who couldn't nurse at all.
And I'm sad because these mamas were too hard on themselves.
But now their babies are thriving.
And they have a bond with their babies that only mamas and babies do. 

I knew from the beginning I wanted to make nursing a top priority.
And I knew I was going to *try* to give it my all. 
Because with enough dedication and moral support from loved ones, most women can make it work. 

The following are just some of the things that kept me going throughout my breastfeeding journey.

The Good.
Why Breast is Best.

1. The perfect nutritious concoction for your tot. It's a complete blend of high-quality nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that cannot be replicated by even the most brilliant of scientists. And your milk actually changes as your baby grows to match his or her unique needs. It's like a custom-made mommy smoothie just for your baby. Too much? 

2. Warrior anti-bodies that protect from sickness and infection. I witnessed this benefit first-hand. At every wellness check up, our pediatrician said that Lyla was one of the very few babies in her practice that had not come down with at least one pretty-severe illness last winter. Ly has of course had a few colds, but she avoided hospital visits and breathing treatments. This was one of the worst seasons the medical community had seen in our area! Our doc attributed every bit of Lyla's immune system to nursing. 

3. An easy-access convenience store. "Is your newborn fussy, hungry, or simply needs some comfort? Try one of our handy-dandy automatic milk machines. Guaranteed to meet all your baby's needs without the hassle of waiting for a bottle. Anytime. Anywhere. Satisfaction guaranteed."  

4. Hello? It's Natural. 100% God-made. No artificial preservatives. Boobies have a purpose, and it ain't wet t-shirt contests. And women who don't plan to breastfeed still produce milk after giving birth. I'm just sayin. 

5. An unbreakable bond between you and baby. This in and of itself is a reason to breastfeed. The bond I share with Lyla is enough to make me melt right into a puddle of sap. It's something I can't even put into words. 1. Because I'll get emotional. 2. Because it's a phenomenon that I truly can't explain. Need scientific proof? Breastfeeding releases oxytocin. You know, that feel on-top-of-the-world hormone? So it just feels good. 

And I'd be lying if I said there aren't any superficial perks as well. 
*Pun totally intended.*

6. Better-smelling poos. Yep. It's true. Your breastfed tot's poo is quite pure, therefore smells sweet, not sour. For someone who uses cloth diapers and comes face to face with poo on a semi-regular basis, this one's a definite plus. 

7. Perfect baby skin. Everywhere we go, Ly gets comments on her perfect skin. And she had it even during the newborn phase. Partly thanks to Daddy's genes, partly thanks to Mommy's boobie juice. Everyone in the pediatrician office always oohs and aahs over Ly'as quote "perfectly pink baby skin"!

8. Makes you rich. Ok. Maybe not completely. But it does save you an incredible amount of money. Have you seen the prices of formula these days? Sheesh. Being practically the only thing left that's free these days, nursing is quite friendly on the ol' pocketbook. Steal of a deal I say. 

9. A Hot bod. Between brand new full-of-milk mommy boobs and burning up near 500+ calories a day, nursing practically morphs you into a Victoria's Secret model. Ok. Maybe in my dreams. But seriously? For the first time since fifth grade, I haven't had to watch what I eat. At all. Need someone to polish off your bag of SunChips? I'm your gal. Oh. Don't want to waste those 6 leftover cookies - I'm on it. Quite the change from eating like a healthnut 24/7. 

And of course there's two sides to every story...

The Bad & The Ugly
What the Breastfeeding Classes Didn't Tell You

1. Welcome to the hardest thing you will ever do. You think running a marathon/passing the bar/traveling to the moon is difficult? Try breastfeeding. Although things do get easier (until of course you go back to work), it is HARD in the beginning. And I had it easy compared to several of my friends. It's easily understandable why so many women give up after a couple of weeks. Between trying to get this tiny little newborn to learn to latch on and figuring out how in the world to increase milk production, it is one of the most stressful things I've ever encountered. *Yet most rewarding by a long shot.*

2. YOWEE. It hurts. So, close your eyes. Picture the most sensitive part of your entire body. Now picture taking a pair of sandpaper-covered pliers and squeezing/twisting/pulling that part of your body as hard as you possibly can. And then just once your wounds have just started to heal, take a really rough towel and start rubbing. Yes, ouch is right. Bottom line: it hurts. This is coming from someone who has had a drug-free natural childbirth. Yikes. Luckily, it only hurts like this for the first couple of months...for me at least. 

3. What life? If you decide to exclusively breastfeed, your life will revolve around feedings. Well. Even if you don't decide to breastfeed, your life will still revolve around feedings. Except with exclusive nursing, you don't have the option to let someone else take the night shift feeding. I woke every couple of hours for the first couple of months to feed my babe. And because I was adamant about not experiencing a dip in my milk supply, I to this day have never skipped a feeding (at least without pumping). I joke with everyone that my life consists of work and boobs. 

But as awful as they sound, the bad and the ugly are completely outweighed by the good.
And the good makes the whole experience worth every second.
Makes me happy and thankful that I've been able to keep it up this long. 

And I'd say Chunkin doesn't complain.

Next up in the Mommy Files:
Making it work when the going gets *really* tough. 
A.K.A. My personal experience.


Jessica said...

yay love this ;) I am still breastfeeding my almost 13 month old with no plans to quit.

Carolyn said...

This is amazing! :) Thanks for all the info!

KRISTIN said...

This is so wonderful. I had a really hard time breastfeeding but refused to give up. I wish more women would share their experiences and support each other in this. You should join my weekly (every Tuesday) Baby Talk link up! I'd LOVE for my readers to find your blog. www.fawver.blogspot.com

AbbyS. said...

yay for you. I bf the twins for 13 months and toally wished I would have documented more because I get questions ALL THE TIME on how I did it. It is such a blur now. She is getting so big!! Way to go momma!!

J and A said...

Loved this post. So helpful. Thanks for sharing.

Sarah @ Life, Love & Dinner said...

I love this! I just found your blog through Kristin's link up and I had to go back to Part 1. That pain makes me a little nervous but I'm hoping to nurse and I cracked up reading about the wet t-shirt contest because I haven't even had my baby yet and it already feels like I'm winning a wet t-shirt contest!

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