Sunday, April 26, 2015
Breastfeeding 101: Breastfeeding...The Beginning
Why yes, I'm going to talk about boobs and babies and everything in between.
Disclaimer: This blog is in no way meant to shame Mommy's for their choice regarding how they feed their baby. We chose to breastfeed. God blessed me with the ability to feed our daughter and so we chose to utilize his blessings. This is our story.
I know I said I was going to discuss feeding your toddler, but I figured it may be helpful to start at the beginning. This is the beginning...
When I got pregnant with mini-d I was determined that we were going to breastfeed. At the time my reasons for choosing this may have been selfish, but over time those reasons evolved in to something so much more.
My initial reasons for wanting to breastfeed:
1: Free milk. Remember when I said I was cheap? Yepp, there was nothing much more appealing than the idea of not having to pay a ridiculous amount of money for formula.
2: Weight loss: I had always heard that breastfeeding caused you to lose your baby weight quickly. What woman doesn't want their body back after baby as quickly as possible? Now, what I didn't realize was that in some cases this weight loss plan can spiral out of control. This was my case and I will go more in to detail about this.
Pregnancy passed and mini-d arrived in all her cute little glory. Within minutes of making her appearance, maybe even seconds she was placed on to my stomach and the two of us were expected to work together to figure this breastfeeding thing out.
NEWS FLASH: Breastfeeding in the beginning is HARD! Like really hard. Thank God for my mother who had the knowledge and know-how to guide us in the beginning.
So by some miracle of God mini-d got here and knew exactly what she was supposed to do. I on the other hand was totally clueless. Word of advice, don't be afraid to touch your boobs. Society has somehow made us think that our boobs are sexual, this is a product of "the world". The first thing I had to learn was that if I was going to feed my baby I was going to have to help her. Trust me, quickly enough they will learn to find the boob on their own. You could be fully clothed in your winter parka and that baby would find a way to get to the milk. They are like little milk vampires. THEY KNOW.
As is somewhat typical in the US for a full-time working mother I had 12 weeks of maternity leave. The first 8 weeks of nursing mini-d were the toughest. Breastfeeding is the hardest yet most rewarding thing I have done as a mother to-date. During those first 8 weeks you are a human pacifier. We didn't even offer the actual pacifier until 6 weeks so literally she was on my boobs 24/7. AND THAT IS NORMAL.
Do you know what else is normal? Feeling like you don't have enough milk. Your body bases your milk production on supply and demand. As your baby grows they continually demand more. It takes a little while in the beginning for you to level out. As long as they are gaining weight adequately you have enough. God created our bodies to know what to do. You have to TRUST YOUR BODY.
I'm not going to lie and say it is totally awesome being strapped to the couch for the first few weeks with a baby constantly on your breast. Your boobs are going to HURT. They are going to be sore and maybe even bleed. Your baby is probably going to cry and so are you. A LOT. Once you make it through the first few weeks though things become a lot easier.
Let me tell you what is awesome...not having to make bottles. Not having to wake up in the middle of the night and mix something up or warm something. Your milk is there and it is always the perfect temperature.
What about the weight-loss? Now I know that all women that breastfeed do not reep the benefits of instant pre-baby body. Please know that I am not saying any of this to brag, this actually became a very difficult area for me. I was shocked when I lost all of my baby weight within the first couple of weeks of having mini-d. The weight-loss didn't stop there though. I was happy with my pre-baby body, I didn't need to lose any more weight. I kept losing though, I lost so much weight that I didn't hardly recognize my body. I had never been that small before and it became dangerous for my health. Mini-D was taking everything that I had. I couldn't find clothes small enough to fit. People would make comments to me about needing to eat and stop losing weight and I couldn't. I was determined not to give up on breast feeding though. I began drinking ensure and eating EVERYTHING in sight. I stopped working out. And by doing all of this I was able to maintain just enough to continue breastfeeding.
So why give up your body and struggle through all of this? The one thing I didn't take in to consideration and couldn't have known in the beginning was that the bond I would form with my baby through breastfeeding would change my life. It was the most special thing I think I had ever experienced. Also, by giving my baby the absolute best nutrients she could have I was helping her grow and protecting her from sickness. Other than the medication for her hemangioma, mini-d never received even as much as Tylenol in her first year of life. She never got sick, and I credit that solely to breastfeeding and the good Lord.
By the end of my 12 weeks of maternity leave I felt like we had a good thing going. Breastfeeding had become easy for us. Returning to work brought an entire new set of challenges. Our breastfeeding journey became three-fold. Me. Mini-D. and THE PUMP. Check back for our journey with the pump and working while nursing...Much Love, Misti