"I truly believe breastfeeding is the best for your baby and that is why I continue to stick with it. But let me tell you, it has not been an easy road.
Breastfeeding was a choice and the best choice I feel I have made as a mother yet. Studies show, and I have to agree, that breastfeeding gives your child the healthiest start of life possible. I always knew I wanted to breastfeed my children for as long as I could, but never knew of the dedication and mental toughness this part of motherhood would require. Here is a snippet of my journey...
Breastfeeding is one of the most special bonds a mother and baby can share. You carry this baby for 10 months and bond with it during that time and when he or she is born, breastfeeding is an extension of that bond that you have in utero.
What I was not prepared for is how painful breastfeeding can be and how time consuming it is. The lactation experts at the hospital do a great job of educating you and showing you technique, which is important. The wild card in breastfeeding is how your child will respond and how they will latch.
My baby latched just fine, but has always had poor technique while nursing.
Poor technique=sore nipples!
I was very consistent with my visits with the lactation nurses. You never know the importance or value of the lactation nurses until you have a screaming baby and sore nipples.
After many consultations and working on his technique, I got on the right track. Or so I thought...
This is the part where mental toughness comes into play. After 2.5 months of nursing, I still struggle at times with sore nipples. That is no fault of any ones. I have anatomy that has not complied and a baby who continues to battle poor technique.
I decided long before my baby entered the world that I was going to be successful with breastfeeding. That determination, coupled with a breast shield and lots of nipple cream, has lead to a mental toughness to get through the sore nipples and the occasional discomfort associated with breastfeeding.
On to the issue of time. I am an active person who hates to sit still. Breastfeeding forces you to sit still, enjoy your baby and let them eat - ON THEIR TIME TABLE. This has been a challenge for the "do it" mentality I have. Good news - we live in a world of technology and AWESOME breast pumps. When you need to give your breasts a break and you need to feed your child more efficiently - just pump.
Lactation nurses will tell you that only pumping can lead to a decrease in your milk supply. So, I don't recommend solely pumping. However, I have used pumping as a tool to alternate between breastfeeding and pumping to give my breasts a break and feed more efficiently at times. Just an option!
Bottom line - the benefits of breastfeeding far outweigh the negatives. I have always heard that you lose a lot of weight while breastfeeding. That fact is very true. I also heard that it was more cost-effective to breastfeed. That is also true.
When you go to the grocery store next, price formula. $23 a can for formula that might last a week gets expensive very quickly.
The satisfaction that I know I am giving my baby the very best is mostly what continues to remind me that I CAN do this breastfeeding thing - it is simply a choice.
Must run - baby is screaming and ready to eat."
- Breastfeeding mom
Becky Law, RN, IBCLC, LCCE
Childbirth educator/Lactation consultant
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