I have been a horrible blogger this past month. I have been running around like a crazy person trying to get everything ready for Mason's baptism which was May 29th and just starting to get out of the house and enjoy the summer weather.
Anyways... Here is the breastfeeding post I promised. The following is all about boobs :)
Before I even got pregnant I always thought there was no way I would be breastfeeding. I remember thinking how do you know that they are getting enough and I can't imagine all of the anxiety that comes with that. I also thought it would be weird. To put it frankly, I was uneducated about it and I believe that most of our society is.
When I became pregnant I was an active member of a pregnancy board on the bump.com. I began to learn more and more information about breastfeeding and read stories from women who had nursed their previous children. I read about it in my pregnancy books and I decided that I would at least give it a try. I told myself I would go in with an open mind and I would try to make it work for the health of my child but if it didn't work out then I wouldn't beat myself up over it.
Mason was born and the nurses at my hospital knew I was planning on breastfeeding so they helped me start this new journey that Mason and I had to both learn together. Mason latched immediately and it was an amazing sight to see. I remember Dan and I both saying wow.
Mason did fine latching on to the right side but not the left side so the nurses gave me a nipple shield. A nipple shield is kind of like a bottle nipple would be that you put over your nipple to help the baby latch. I became dependent on the nipple shield and I ended up using it on both sides to even get him to eat at all.
When we got home from the hospital three days after Mason was born, I was still learning how to nurse. Mason would scream and cry when trying to get him to latch. He would get so upset. It really took a toll on Dan and I and I kept trying to tell myself it would get better. I had started to realize those fears of him not getting enough that I had before I was pregnant were now a reality. One desperate night, Mason was screaming and it was really late. Dan was frustrated with trying to help Mason to latch and I was on the verge of tears. Out of exhaustion Dan told me to just give him some formula. At this point I had my heart set on nursing my child and I refused to give up yet. I walked Mason around his bedroom and calmed him down. The next day it finally started to get better. I had to use the nipple shield to get him to eat but it was working! What I later realized is that my milk hadn't come in yet. After a c-section it can sometimes take your body a little bit longer for your milk to come in. So if you are determined don't give up.
The nipple shield was a pain. The perks of breastfeeding is that you don't have to worry about a bunch of supplies like bottles, nipples, formula and so on. I was dependent on this nipple shield and everytime I tried to get him to nurse without it he would get frustrated and I would just go back to the shield. Nursing with the nipple shield started taking longer and longer. He would nurse for 45 minutes at a time on one side and still not be satisified. I decided I had to get him off of the shield. I just kept trying without it. It was frustrating at times but he got used to it. I was so happy to tell Dan that I didn't need it any longer.
Without the nipple shield comes a lot more pain though. The shield was acting as a barrier to protect me. Well without that barrier came the horrible pain from raw and chapped nipples. I would actually lose my breath from the pain when he would first latch on. It would feel better after a minute but the anticipation of pain that would come with nursing was making me dread it everytime. I was thinking about giving up. I remember thinking how much easier my life would be if I didn't nurse. We could leave the house whenever. I could leave whenever. I wouldn't have a baby who was completely dependent on me for his food source, therefore making me his main caretaker ALWAYS. I wouldn't have to worry about where we were when he was hungry or where I was going to feed him. But then the pain started to get better and I realized I loved spending this special time with my son. It is crazy how pain can make you question everything you thought was important for so long.
I stuck through it and it got better for me. I am not comforable nursing in public even though many are. I am afraid of what someone might say to me or the looks I will get. This is something I shouldn't be afraid of but in our society many people think it is unnatural to breastfeed and feel as if it is there place to say so. Breastfeeding is the most natural thing that there is between a mother and a child and I wish more people would take the time to educate themselves. I have heard of people telling nursing mothers to go to the bathroom to breastfeed because it was making them uncomfortable. How would you like to have to eat in a bathroom?
If we are out doing something with Mason and he gets hungry I just go to the car and feed him. I am comfortable doing that. I hope someday I have the confidence to nurse where ever. I hope someday I have the balls to tell someone who is staring or judging to shove it. For those who do nurse in public I say it's amazing and you inspire me to someday do the same.
Mason is turning 5 months old this week and he is still exclusively breastfed. I feel proud that my baby is getting all of his nourishment from me. I feel thankful that he is thriving, happy and healthy and I have a huge part in it. I feel like I am doing the best for my child. It wasn't an easy road for me through the cluster feeding for hours, Mason wanting to eat every hour, mastitis (infection from breastfeeding), struggles with pain and isolation and so on. I am glad I stuck with it though. I feel as if I have bonded with my child so much and I am giving him so many benefits by not thinking of myself throughout these past 5 months. My goal is to nurse him until he is a year old. I pray that I will be lucky enough that it works out for me.
Just to be clear: I in no way am against formula feeding. I believe that it is a great option for those that breastfeeding does not work out for. I do believe that breastfeeding should be the first choice though. Choosing not to breastfeed for selfish reasons is not okay to me. Once you have a child it is no longer about you.