Thursday, August 18, 2011

I Didn't Write About Breastfeeding

The first week of August was World Breastfeeding Week. As I saw some posts about it throughout the internet, on my friends' facebook pages or blogs, I kept thinking that I should write something. Bethany at Mama Bethany wrote two great posts about the good stuff and not-so-good stuff about nursing (I really related to her as I read her lists).

I am a huge supporter of the idea of breast feeding. I want to scream when I hear news stories about women who are asked to leave a place because they are nursing or when people think it's so horrible to nurse in public. If you watch prime-time TV, you have seen more of a woman's breast than you will if you saw me nursing. Really. So I am pretty opinionated about it. Shocking, I know!

I want to give my phone number to women who are new at it. I want to be there for them, I want them to cry on me at 11:30 pm when their baby won't latch, when they hurt because they are engorged, when they can't figure out why their supply is low. You name it, I've been there, and I want to do whatever I can to comfort a newbie!

But my own story is that of a mom who nursed 2 out of 3. Not all 3. So I'm not in the club of exclusive nursing moms.

When I had Caleb, I had every intention of nursing him - at least at the beginning. I knew I had to go back to work, and I wasn't thrilled about the idea of pumping. But I wanted to give him a "good start" so-to-speak, and I tried. At the hospital and at home for the first week, I tried, without success, to get him to nurse. Looking back, I know exactly what I did wrong, but at the time, I didn't have as much drive to do it, and I didn't have the amount of fellow breastfeeding moms like I did later. With tears, I would try, and it was with tears that I gave him a bottle.

To be honest, though, I wasn't somehow worried about his health. While I know that they tell us breast is best, I was actually not convinced that his health and intelligence would suffer because I didn't nurse him. Josh and I are very healthy people, I would go as far as to say we are pretty smart as well! Neither of us were nursed, and this was back before all the super formula was made. So I gave Caleb a bottle of Enfamil, and aside from check ups, he never goes to a doctor. He never had ear infections, never had colds. He's tall and healthy, he's smart and witty, and I believe I did the best thing for him considering my emotions and mental health were completely shot as I kept trying to no avail.

I decided to try again when I had Sarah, and that was due primarily because I resigned from my job and was a new stay-at-home mom who couldn't afford formula! Plus, I knew I'd be home indefinitely, and the ease of nursing would be there for me. It was difficult, just like with Caleb, but by that time I knew exactly who to call, and that support system was what got me through the first difficult week. I nursed her for 13 months.

With Gabriel, I followed suit. I nursed him for almost a year.

So on one hand, I support nursing moms to the nth degree. I will fight for you, stand up for you, be there for you. On the other hand, I understand that nursing isn't always for everyone, either by choice right from the start or because nursing just didn't pan out for them. Just like being a stay-at-home mom or a working mom, I have been on both sides of the nursing mom or non-nursing mom issue.

And I'm glad I've been on both sides.


accesskas27 said...

Great post girl!!!! I have been through very similiar struggles (as you know) and jonathan was the one I only breastfed for a few months.... so I might be calling you for some motivation when this next one comes along... if they decide to be difficult :-) :-)

Anonymous said...

I was watching some show the other evening and they showed a breast feeding doll. The little girl would put on a smock with two flower in the breast area and you put the baby doll in front of the flowers and it would suck. What do you think about that? I see good and bad?

Chrissy said...

I think little girls who have seen their mom breastfeed do this already - nurse their dolls.

Ashley said...

I LOVE that you were able to nurse our last two! :0) I'm very nervous about my nursing success with this next one because of working full time. It's a blessing that I work in a very family friendly environment and I will be able to pump whenever I need to, and I'm very close to the house, so Lincoln can bring the baby up to nurse at least once during the day as well. We'll see........

Bethany said...

I think your age and confidence as a mom probably also had lots to do with all your parenting choices with Caleb, right? It has to have been so different making the choice to feed G after C and S, at least from my perspective.

Anonymous, I think the breastfeeding doll is totally fine! I think all kids who see breastfeeding know that's just how babies eat. I think there's tons of plastic baby doll bottles, and I actually won't buy those for my kids. But I probably won't buy the doll, either. Its a little unnecessary, I think. I think its a "Statement toy" and probably not worth the cost for me, because I would rather make a statement by just offering to help any new mom or going to be mom one day person.

Bourg Family said...

I can't even remember how I got here, but thanks for this post. I tried to nurse my first. It didn't work out. I pumped for my 2nd. They are both happy & healthy kids. I get so mad when people to totally to one side or the other. You're a freak if you nurse or you're the devil if you give your baby formula. I just wish we could be supportive of all moms. I think most of us really are trying to do our best.

Julie said...

I had to chime in...especially finding that you are a fellow born again believer who loves the Lord. I have 3 children 6, 4, 2. My stairsteps :) I nursed all three and had GREAT difficulty with the first. I pumped and then fed him a bottle for the first 3 weeks. Wore me out! But like you, we couldn't afford formula. I did eventually stop at 11 weeks with him due to a food other two girls nursed for 13 months and 9 months respectively. So, I love nursing...and completely respect those who choose to go that route (and those that don't). I AM bothered however, by nursing moms who don't nurse covered up. I am married to a pastor, and he is horribly embarressed and uncomfortable when he encounters a nursing mom who is not covered up. I see your point about why is a business etc kicking a nursing mom out when we see even more exposure on tv...but...we shouldn't be seeing that exposure on tv, right? I don't let my kids watch that, nor do I. I also don't want them or my husband to see it when we're out at the park. I am all for nursing in public, but what is so wrong with covering up? (btw, this is more an argument I've had with OTHER people, not something that you said. What you said just sparked it in me, and I thought I would ask you :) It seems that there are women who think that if they're nursing, modesty isn't important...that men should deal with it and get their minds out of the gutter. Not to mention young men and teen boys...their minds don't differentiate between exposed chest for "nursing" and exposed chests. To them, it's Hello a show for me! I really think that this is a big issue for those who might be against nursing/nursing in public. I love nursing and I think overall it IS the best for our children...but why should we moms get to turn off modesty just because it's inconvenient to nurse that way. Would love to hear your thoughts :) A brand new reader,


Chrissy said...

I am all for modesty, and frankly I have never seen a woman with ANY of her breast exposed while nursing. I think it's something we get pretty go at, that's why I don't understand why people have a problem with it.

thechattymommy said...

I understand everyone's points but I am with Julie!
I have seen too much of too many people!
Some girlfriends in the comfort of my home or a home of a friend is one thing. But I have seen so much so many places. Places where men are at.
I get that nursing is a natural thing and another amazing plan of the Lord.
But, I am also for modesty and am real big on women not being so open in front of other women's husbands or someone's future husband.
However, I would never scoff at a woman nursing. I trust that most women are trying to do their best.
And hey, sometimes, I've had to try my best to discreetly nurse in public.

I love this subject.

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