Monday, 5 August 2013

Breastfeeding Journey #WBW 2013


Few things in life create as much as controversy as the simple act of a mother nursing her child in public. The way breastfeeding is depicted it is a wonder why anyone chooses to breastfeed at all. It is sexual. It is pornographic. Your baby is too dependent on you. You produce too much milk. You produce too little milk. Your baby is colicky because your breastfeed. Aunt Flo/ Pastor John. MR Smith doesn't approve.....
With these myths in my head and in society in general, why did I ever choose this journey?BF is a bond between a woman and her child. (That is not to deny the fact the people who use formula also bond with the children) However bf is responsible for causing an burst of hormones (oxytocin for example) that causes you to connect with your small infant.
Additionally women with PPD can benefit from BF because of this release of hormones.Looking back at the 16 months of my child;s life, I am so glad I chose to breastfeed.

     There has been ups and downs. In the early months, my son knew exactly what to do. He had a perfect latch. I was blessed to have a child without a tongue tie or facial weakness. He was born safe and healthy. I will forever be grateful for my miracle. After 6 hours of labour, my son came into the world on his time. Being able to hold him, moved me in ways you never imagine. (Or at least I never knew I could feel so happy and want to cry at the same time) What was even more amazing was watching my little bug crawl up my chest to master breastfeeding. He came prepared. I was the one who needed to adjust.
Nipple soreness lasted about a month. Some of it was normal (nipple stretching) but 

I also developed a milk blister and a plugged duct. Luckily, I only had a minor case of mastitis. Frankly it sucked!! I tried all sorts of ways to remove the clog. Dangle feeding, hot showers, massages and even a Tylenol to lower my fever. I knew mastitis was a sign of trying too much. So, I started to rest more. It is also an easier time to do because my son was not mobile yet. Even though I do not like taking medication, the Tylenol made me feel human again. NO antibiotics (yay!) Its good to avoid if possible in order to prevent thrush. My advice for this period of time is to drink a lot of water and take care of your breasts. Use cream if they are sore. It really helps! So does warm showers, massages and dangle nursing. Also, breastmilk can help sore nipples. It sounds like a folk remedy but breastmilk is actually quite helpful for a number of problems not limited to eczema, stuffed noses and sore nipples. 

I should also mention, I was finishing university at that time. That meant I had to write 4 essays and one exam while taking care of a nursling. I have the utmost respect for women regardless of age who manage to complete their education while pumping, nursing or both! Adjusting to a baby and their nursing needs can take time- even if you are a seasoned mama simply because every baby is born with their own unique personality.

Food poisoning- Ugh this was awful! Thank goodness it only lasted a day and night. I don't know I would have coped otherwise. At the time, my mom, grandma, little brother and fiance also had food poisoning. It was different food items but still it was horrible~ I had to hydrate myself to make milk and I usually ended up throwing it up anyway. This is a good time to have a strong support network. At this stage, my brother who was unaffected was nervous about helping out with the baby. He was afraid of hitting him. A lot of men (and some women) feel this way until baby is better. Thankfully, I could keep my little guy in bed with me.

Migraines and Mobility. One of the benefits from pregnancy was that I had no migraines. Well, I had one but that was it. It was amazing! I have been a migraine sufferer since I was a little girl. Many parents write in about how to deal with a baby and migraines. There are different levels of migraines and truly this can be applicable to any headache.I cannot speak on medication but it is possible to breastfed with a migraine. When a migraine is severe, and noise and light are painful, it is helpful to have a support system to help take care of the little guy while you concentrate on getting better. Then they bring the baby to you when you need to nurse.
 Touched Out-
 I have seen many moms wonder how it is possible for moms to feel this way about their nurselings? I have to admit, I felt like this. I wanted to stop nursing but felt so guilty and selfish. I wasn't depressed. Just tired. Breastfeeding is exhausting at the best of time. Add in sleep deprivation, a teething baby learning to walk and it causes conflict. I had to work out my feelings. I was lucky to be able to do this with my mom and fiance. Journaling helps me too. A practice that I have fallen away from- yoga and meditation help as well. I know not everyone can stand the 'passive nature' of this but everyone has to find what relaxes and centers them. For me, keeping my mind still, concentrating on my breath and stretching helps me find peace.
 It also came when my little guy was having a growth spurt- mentally and physically. Taking care of a newborn can be exhausting so it is very important to take care of yourself. Do not feel guilty if  this happens to you.  For some this is a sign of depression. It is so important to have peer support at this time.  Whether local or online, find something that works for you~~

Nursing a toddler- definitely makes breastfeeding a journey. Each day is a different blessing. Some times he has nurse a lot. Other times, he is happy with water and diluted juice. Comfort nursing, nap nursing and night nursing is still big. However, I remember how scared I was when he went through lunch without nursing. Later, when he fell asleep without nursing. I was so worried he was done nursing. I have learned nursing is a cycle and to go with the son's needs. He knows them. I am excited for our future. Breastfeeding is such a beautiful way to nurture your child. Over all, I was so incredibly blessed. My son has a perfect latch (the hospital LC was very impressed) . He was unaffected by the epidural, which is good.  Even with some teeth, he still latches well. 

Sleepy bubz
<I hope the above picture doesn't offend- He decided to move during the taking of this photo. 

That said -everyone has a different breastfeeding experience whether its your first or fifth baby. Don't be afraid to learn more about breastfeeding by reading books like Jack Newman's Guide to BF or LLL book. Find a support group and create peer support. It is always easy to be overwhelmed by information.  No journey is perfect. And remember- watch the baby, not the scale or clock.  What advice would you give a new breastfeeding mama? 

I was inspired to write this post for #WBW13 and's Blog about Breastfeeding event:

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