If you’re like us, then the Trump Administration’s opposition to breastfeeding stunned you as much as it did the United Nations-affiliated World Health Assembly. So Bex decided to write a Guest Post about her own experiences with breastfeeding. As always, please join us in the conversation by adding to the comments below.
Checking In With Bex
Breastfeeding is one of the many things that crossed my mind after the Doctor told me I was pregnant. Correction; it was one of the many, many, things I suddenly had to worry about. So naturally, I pushed it to the back of my procrastinator’s mind for as long as I could. Nine months is plenty of time. No need to stress about it now. Right? Not to mention that I was too caught up in how miserable I felt praying to the porcelain god all day long.
As the months went by, I realized I would eventually have to make a decision on this breastfeeding thing. It was hard to avoid when my doctor’s office made sure I saw constant reminders like the signs all over her waiting room. They boasted about the many benefits of breastfeeding for baby and mom alike. For instance; breastfeeding helps a mother’s body recover from the stresses of labor and delivery much faster than someone who does not. Breastfeeding also burns about 300-500 calories each time the baby feeds, which helps those pesky pregnancy pounds melt away. Breast milk is easiest for the baby to digest and it provides antibodies, vitamins, and iron for the baby. If all of that isn’t enough, there was another poster that assured me breastfeeding was just another way to bond with the baby.
In my mind, all those ads sounded great but I was terrified of the pain it might bring. A few women had shared their horror stories with me already. They all seemed to be first-time moms who wound up with bleeding nipples and painful chaffing. I couldn’t even imagine it.
On the other hand, what if I wasn’t able to produce enough breast milk for the baby. I’m sure it’s happened to plenty of moms, and they all found ways to cope, but I would feel like a bad mother if my body couldn’t do it’s natural “mommy” duty.
Since education is the best way to fight off the worry, I read some books and one that really stuck with me was “The Baby Whisperer” by Tracy Hogg. In it, the author recommends breastfeeding for at least six months to a whole year of your child’s life. How many hints does a girl need before she starts to listen? So now I had a plan. I would breastfeed Boy Wonder until he was 6 months old. If it was truly as painful as everyone said it was then it’d be only 6 months out of my life and I could bare through it.
You know what they say about the best-laid plans, right? I wasn’t able to breastfeed right away when my little superhero was born because he was sent to the NICU and I was sent into surgery. But 48hrs later, him and I tried it for the first time. It was sort of like that first kiss you dream about as a teenager; when it finally happens it’s not anything like you had imagined. It felt so weird and yet so natural. To be honest, in the first three months David would know if when it was feeding time because he could hear me scream bloody murder every time the baby latched on. All that pain I had worried about was true. I felt like I was nursing a vampire shark who gnawed on my nipples all day and night.
Six months. I decided I could handle this pain for six months. On April 30th, David asked if I was going to start weaning Boy Wonder off of the breast like I planned. I paused and said, “I’ll start weaning as soon as he gets teeth.” Well, that day came and I cried hysterically the first time he bit me. After the shock had worn off. I asked my wonderful friend Kelly for some advice. She taught me a few tricks for teaching him not to bite but Boy Wonder and I are still learning from each other as we go.
I’m glad I understand the benefits of breastfeeding and I’m happy that I’ve been able to do it for so long. As our days of breastfeeding come closer to an end, I realize I’m even prouder of myself for sticking to it. To all of you expectant mothers out there; get the nipple cream as soon as you can. It’s a life saver.
May the breastfeeding gods be in your favor!