5/14/12

Breastfeeding is not Plug-n-Chug!


(With all of the talk about breastfeeding I thought I might throw in my two cents.)

Breastfeeding can be a complete and utter bitch! At first. By no means is the process conducive to baby + boob= plug-n-chug. There are so many speed bumps on the road to enjoying breast-feeding that it can seem near impossible. In fact at three 1/2 months into breastfeeding, I cannot really say I thoroughly enjoy it. I'm just happy I can do it now without it totally sucking. (Pun intended!)

Thankfully my son latched right on about 20 minutes after birth. Unfortunately his latch and my technique were not so great at first.  By day three my nipples looked and felt like they had been through a meat grinder. Thanks to “cooling gel pads” I was able to power through those first days, no actually weeks, of beat up boobies.  Seriously, if you don’t own gel pads and you are in pain GO BUY THEM! Lansinoh and Medela make them. I personally prefer the Medela ones, but both will return your nipples and areola to working condition in 24 Hours!

For me the first 8 weeks were just awful!  Breastfeeding became nature’s cruel joke on me. It was nothing but painful, frustrating and the constant work at keeping my supply up was beyond overwhelming. Without my husbands coaching and cheerleading I would have probably given up.

Having a low milk supply, especially for a mother intent on not supplementing with formula, is terrifying.  I rented a hospital grade breast pump, The Medela Symphony for $78 a month, to help keep my supply up. For the first 8-10 weeks I was constantly having to feed and then pump for ten minutes afterwards to help increase my supply, or if nothing else just maintain it. Now I don’t go more than 5 hours without nursing or pumping to keep my supply optimal. Yes, even at night and the wee hours of morning.

Because of all the hard work I take so much pride in saying my son has been exclusively breastfeed.  Now that both my son and I have got the hang of it, the process is finally Plug-n-Chug. What’s more, we have gone from 45 minute to an hour of feeding to now only 20-30 minutes at a time.  I try to enjoy the time down time while nursing, meditate and relax. It’s not like I can get up and do anything until he is finished, so no reason to worry about what else I could be doing.

Make no mistake about it, breastfeeding is a full time job at first. Still, decades of studies prove that the benefits COMPLETELY outweigh the trouble, pain and difficulty. If you want to breastfeed then set your mind to it. Rent a hospital pump and work at it, be patient it takes on average 3-4 weeks to get the hang of it, and then another 2-3 months to achieve the plug-n-chug status.  I am so incredibly proud of myself for sticking with it, powering through the pain, tears and sleepless nights. I have created a great foundation of health and wellness for my son that will last his lifetime. If you can do it, do it! Your child deserves the best chance at life possible.

Two confused parents=One amused baby Hopelessly we are trying raise a baby who is clearly smarter than both of us. April is an award-winning writer and blogger. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more on April, Visit AprilMcCormick.com

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