Thursday, September 17, 2009

When they are no longer my own.

Last night was our "Art of Breastfeding Class". It was very interesting, and I am def more confident in my ability to figure this out. Scott however, was bored out of his mind. Poor guy.

Our teachers name was Kim, and we really liked her. She conducted our hospital tour, and is pregnant with her 3rd. She breastfed her first until 18 months, and her second was over 2 when they weaned. She also cloth diapers, and wears her babies! Yeah!! Someone who understands where we're coming from!

We talked a lot about where to go if we need help (the hospital lactation consultants,, etc) which I thought was a nice touch, as sometimes learning to breastfeed can be tricky for both parties involved. We talked about common challenges (thrush, Mastitis, clogged ducts, pain) and how to handle them. It was interesting to see more about the anatomy of a breast as it pertains to feeding a baby, and also the way a baby is built to eat that way. I think the "feeding cues" we talked about will be super useful to be able to recognize when the time comes as well.

The other part of the class was a double edged sword. Kim was very positive about her breastfeeding experiances, and very confident in a womens body to do what it was designed to do. Which I think it awesome!! At the same time, she seemed pretty convinced that there is no reason that a mom WOULDN'T be able to breastfeed. Supply issues don't count, since breastfeeding is supply/demand. If you're having supply issues, you simply aren't nursing enough. Pain (cracked nipples etc) isn't a good enough reason, since if it hurts that means the baby isn't latching correctly. Breastfeeding isn't supposed to hurt, she says. That is where I lay down the BS card. Is it supposed to send you to tears everytime you nurse? No. Is it "normal" for your nipples to be bleeding? No. Will it hurt in the beginning? YES. Every person (every single one) I have spoken to about breastfeeding (successfully or not) has said it hurt. Those who were able to continue assure me that it doesn't hurt forever, but it most certainly hurts in the first few weeks.

Now, because I am over prepared, and addicted to the internet, I came to the class a little more prepared than the average first time mom with no breastfeeding experience. I chose our hospital partly because if you deliver there you have unlimited access to the LCs for FREE as long as you are breastfeeding. FOR FREE. I don't need to be told what a latch is, I have heard the horrors of Mastitis and Thrush (both of which were extremely downplayed) and I have a little bit of second-(and third)hand knowledge of what to do when baby won't eat.

All that being said, it doesn't matter to me how many times Kim says it won't hurt. I do not believe her. My fear is that the other women in the class will now expect a completely pain free, easy, no complication breastfeeding experiance, and their world will be torn upside down when the reality of the situation hits home. Breastfeeding is hard. Its work. It takes time, dedication, and determination. You have to want to be successful in order for it to work. From what I understand, anyway. I'm afraid that when their babies start to latch and it hurts that they'll quit, just give up and quit.

Will you share your breastfeeding experiance with me? Good or bad, successful or not? I need realistic expectations... Pin It


The Kracht's said...

I am a firm believer in breastfeeding. However, I also believe it should be left up to you to decide, without guilt or pressure. Alexis had a very hard time latching, and I ended up bottle feeding her. She did FANTASTIC. Never sick, not even ONE ear infection.

Brandon was breastfed until about 10 weeks old. Being born at 34 weeks, I am very confident that breastfeeding him helped him get out of the NICU in record time.

I think you are right about Kim, I've met people like her. When Brandon was 8 weeks, I stopped nursing for several reasons. He needed very high fat formula to help him maintain his weight, he needed a small amount of cereal because he had severe reflux due to being born early, and he ate a lot. My supply simply could not keep up. I fed, pumped, fed, etc and I still didnt have enough. (BTW, he was never sick either. Never even an ear infection, which is great considering he was a preemie)

Overall, I had a great experience. Was it painful? Yes, sometimes. Was it well worth it? Absolutely. There is no way he would have gone home at 35 weeks old & 4lbs.


Lisa said...

You already know my stance on this, and what my experience was like. But I think that BRing is not only based on the mothers ability, but also the childs. Kaylee was never satisfied until she had her first drops of formula...and I fed her round the clock. I am a firm believer in BFing, and support it 100%, but agree that mothers to be need to know that it is not always "perfect" and mnay many things can vary. Thus changing your path, if need be. And mothers need to know that thats okay.

Stacey said...

I think breastfeeding is an amazing thing, I also think that feeding is an amazing thing, for Colin and I it just didn't work out. We tried and at the end of the day it was never enough for him. I don't think it's harmed him in anyway, he's hit if not exceeded everything as far as development, he has the sniffles for the first time in his life now. But I also think you're right it something that takes patience and work!

Also check out an award I'm passing on to you at my blog.!