Thursday, September 13, 2012

What I have learned from a year of breastfeeding

We are coming up on the year mark of my journey in breastfeeding. It is hard to believe it has been year even though some days it felt like an eternity. Those of you that know me and are around me on a daily basis know that breastfeeding was the most and is the most important "thing" I wanted to do for Leah since well before I even knew who she was. Whenever I imagined having kids an image of breastfeeding would always pop into my head and I felt a little tug at my heart knowing this was something I had to do. In every way imaginable I was not let down by making this choice and committing to it for one year. The health benefits continue to astound me every time I read a new research article and it makes me wonder how someone would not want to attempt this for the health benefits to your baby and yourself alone. We have had a fairly sick free year, minus the recent uti's Leah has had. A few coughs, no ear infections and a few runny noses...nothing to write home about. How thankful I have been.

Looking back on the year we were faced with many ups and downs in this relationship but I know we have both benefited from it. I am proud that I made a commitment to do it for year and followed through even when I wanted to stop. Truthfully, I never really wanted to stop I was just sick of pumping, worrying about my supply, treating my freezer stash as a second baby. It becomes exhausting. Also, having a child who has not consistently slept through the night there were times I wanted to say " Mark just go give her a bottle, I don't care" But something inside me would always get me out of bed to go nurse her, the one thing I knew would calm her and help her back to sleep. I have taken some flack for getting up to consistently meet her needs in the middle of the night, but I am just not a momma who can listen to crying night upon upon night, knowing I can calm her in a few minutes with something as easy as a quick nursing session. Leah is not overly attached to me, she goes to everyone, she does not have any separation anxiety so far... all the "bad things" people warn you about did not happen. Yes, she wants me when she is tired, but that is because she knows how what makes her feel calm and safe. I have also heard people say that the "problem" with breastfeeding babies is they only want their moms. My response (in my nicest tone) Heaven forbid a baby wants to be with its mother. This year has been for Leah and I to get to know each other and that we have. Our nightly nursing sessions are something I have grown to cherish and look forward too. It allows me to slow down and be reminded of how wonderful she really is. As we are about to stop nursing as this new baby is slowing down my milk production, I feel a bit sad. Im not ready to give that up yet, but a 2 month break might be nice before I start this all over again in December. Leah is growing up, losing a little bit of interest and is transitioning well. We well just be starting a new phase of our mommy-daughter relationship.

A few reminders to myself come December:
- The first 4-6 weeks is hard, exhausting, painful, stressful...stick with it
- Never quit on a bad day (quote from one of my breastfeeding mommas)
- When you really don't want to...PUMP! You want that freezer stash.
- Suck it up and PUMP :)
- Don't worry about others opinions, do what feels right to you
- It's ok for someone to give a bottle every once in while ( I struggle with this)
- Remember to try and enjoy your quiet time with your baby
- Side lying nursing is the best way to get some sleep
-Surround yourself with people who support you and are positive

 I can't forget to give a shoutout to my breastfeeding group of mommas. We met through St. Vincent's breastfeeding support group and these amazing women have kept me going. We have all supported each other, offered support and advice, and been encouraged that we all are a bit crazy. I feel so blessed to have such a wonderful group of new friends.

1 comment:

  1. Love this post! You have done an amazing job with Leah--way to stick with breastfeeding for a whole year! Hope you have a fabulous birthday weekend. And your breastfeeding momma friends appreciate you too :)