Thursday, January 7, 2016

Breastfeeding

I love breastfeeding.  In March of this year, I will have spent 4+ years having breastfed each baby for one year.  Sorry, but not sorry, this isn't a post to make you judge me or for me to make you feel bad if you didn't.  To each their own.  I know everyone has their own reasons and you do what you have to do to make it work.  I know many people's bodies won't make enough milk and people have to go back to work, mastitis, etc.  However, I personally know too many people who I don't think put forth alot of effort.  Yes, overall I thought it was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life.  After having breastfed 4 kids though, I will admit I have to laugh when I hear some people's excuses on why they didn't though.   I think those people just don't want to breastfeed-- which is fine too but I know that must be hard to admit-- so they give excuses instead.  ok!  this post isn't about that and I'll get off my soapbox.

When I had Mati Claire (my first), it was the worst experience of my life.  I never wanted another baby after that.  I felt like I failed already at being a mom on the first day.  Couldn't even dilate to push her out and (being under general anesthesia) didn't even know she was born.  I felt I missed out on being the first person to see her.  I missed out on the "whole experience".   So I made it my mission to put a real attempt on doing the next step: breastfeeding!  Whoever said that breastfeeding is a natural process is totally 100% WRONG!  It was the most un-natural thing I've ever done.  Mati Claire fought me every single time for MONTHS!  Without going into too much detail, I basically had to "get it/letdown started for her".  She was the definition of the word lazy.  The good part is that my body has no trouble whatsoever making milk.  Call me Daisy the cow.  At one point, I pumped out 12 oz from ONE SIDE.  yep.  it was insane.  I digress.  She wouldn't latch.  She didn't enjoy it.  Which made me hate it.  Every trick or hold in the books wouldn't work.  The boob nazis were relentless.  When my nipples were bleeding and I couldn't even let the water in the shower hit them... I truly thought of quitting.  It wasn't suppose to be like that, right?  Bleeding is normal?  that can't be right.

Everyone kept telling me that after 6 weeks it would be fine.  For me, it was closer 8-10 weeks and I still had to use a few tricks to make her do it.  It.was.HARD.work!  I leaked so bad in between I was terrified to go anywhere despite the fact that I was wearing the bra guards (yeah right like those really work). I thought I was prepared by buying my nursing bras ahead of time.  Lesson learned:  don't ever buy nursing bras before your milk comes in.  I went from a C to something larger than an F if I remember correctly. But by the time 8 weeks rolled around, I wasn't about to quit then!  I didn't go through bleeding nipples just to quit!!!

Oh did I cry.  Even though I was nursing her, I still felt like a failure.  I wasn't used to having a baby literally attached to your boobs 24/7.  Mati Claire was a snacker.  She wanted to eat every 2 hours (30 min-90 min during a growth spurt).  It was again, another nightmare.  I couldn't go anywhere -- because I would most definitely have to nurse her at some point -- nurse in public, what???

But stubborn baby met stubborn momma!  Again, I was determined.  So I hung in there.  She eventually quit me around 11 months.  I will never forget it.  She took one sip and un-latched.  She looked up at me, shook her head "no" and sweetly smiled at me.  I couldn't argue with that anymore.  I cried for 2 days.  All that work and it had come to an end... :(

I also learned through her that I DESPISED the breast pump.  I never pumped again until I had to in the NICU with Merritt for 2 weeks.

Then came Mattox.  The piranha.  My poster child for breastfeeding awareness.  He couldn't have been any more opposite of Mati Claire.  He came out (and to my complete shock) grabbed my boob out of thin air and latched on like his life was depending on it (ok it was).  He nursed like he had been doing it in the womb for months before if it was possible.  I was prepared for the struggle and use all the tricks that I was used to with Mati Claire.

Mattox showed me that it WAS completely natural.  And easy.  My boobs never bled.  Sore for a few days maybe.  I think Mati Claire trained them not to leak after a certain time.  So no leaking that time around.  He eventually quit me around 11 months as well.  Gosh he made it easy, I didn't even have to force him to quit. He literally got in, got the job done, and was off.  Never took more than 5 min to nurse that baby!

I definitely lost some modesty during my 4 C-sections.  When too many strangers to count have seen your insides not to mention you naked from the neck down in the operating room-- who cares about seeing some boobs?  Man, I LOVE not having to pack food, heat food up, mix bottles, wash bottles, etc.

Just to give my extended version -- Merritt and Mason were also breastfeeding champions.  Had a hard time weaning Merritt after 15 months but she had good reason with all her physical issues.  She refused to eat for the doctors through a bottle and I was finally allowed to breastfeed after 2 weeks...she was waiting for the real deal and never looked back! And my baby Mason has made it so much fun that I will definitely cry when I wean him in just a few short months.   I'm not one of those people who still breastfeed their toddlers.  I will cut them off around age 1.  I was able to pump extra during those first 2 weeks in the NICU and donated it to the other NICU babies that don't even have mothers there.  Some were orphans.  Some never had their mothers visit them (hard to imagine but true).

As much as I LOVE the time I spent with each one, I am counting down the days till Mason is finished.  I am ready to start back on my diet, I'm ready to wear normal bras again, and I'm ready to sleep on my stomach again.

So yes, I am a pro-breastfeeder.  Each one was different.  Mati Claire fought me and refused to latch, Mattox was my poster child, Merritt truly knew what she wanted and didn't want to let go, and Mason is my funny baby.  He gets so tickled (maybe bc he's so happy?)  that he can't nurse because he's laughing!  Its hilarious.  Sometimes he can't even look at me because he's trying to get back "in the zone" so he'll have to look away to keep from laughing or smiling.  (can't latch well if your'e smiling).  Knowing how happy it makes him, I will have a hard time weaning him as well.  Mati Claire and Mattox both quit me so I didn't have to wean them.

Looking back, the way they breastfed was a huge indicator in how they eat now years later.  Mati Claire is still the pickiest child I have ever seen!  Mattox is my crack addict when it comes to food/sugar.  He still eats like there is no tomorrow.  Merritt still wants the real deal: she wants me to slave over a hot stove with soul food and casseroles. No kid foods for her!  So I'm looking forward to see how this equates to Mason... I'm thinking he will be the one who plays with his food and laughs about it!


This is how you shut down breastfeeding shamers. Read more about Alyssa Milano's activism here: http://attn.link/1Ru58r4Like ATTN: on Facebook.
Posted by ATTN: on Wednesday, January 6, 2016

2 comments:

MAK said...

So glad you talked about this! I'm limping along at this point nursing my 8 month old and trying all the tricks to keep my supply up. Just not getting as much as I used to when I have to pump for daycare. I will say that with both kids it has been HARD and a sacrifice but I just can't bring myself to put her on formula. Thanks for the pep talk! Glad to know I'm not the only one who struggles with it!

Claire Nettles said...

Caleb really enjoys nursing, too! We're almost at 16 months and he hasn't shown any signs of wanting to stop. I'm not sure how I'm going to wean him. If I'm around and it's sleep time, he wants to nurse. But it is SUCH a special thing. He's be a great nurser and I hope any more babies are, too! (Not the biggest fan of pumping but had a hard time giving that up, too. Ha!)