Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The B word.

Ahhh breastfeeding... so special, so bonding, so relaxing, so natural, and so much love!

On most days those would not be my words of choice when speaking about breast feeding. In fact, some of those words I have never used to describe breast feeding! Despite my lack of nice words towards it by some miracle we have made it to a YEAR! A whole freaking year of someone else sucking on my boobs many, many times a day. Beyond pregnancy my body has still not been my own. Twenty one months I have not been away from my baby girl for more than 4 hours. It's exhausting. And we wonder why she is such a mama's girl...

As exhausting as it is I have enjoyed it. I love seeing Nova get so excited when she wants to nurse that she jumps up and down in my lap and even helps pull down my shirt. I love when she looks at me and smiles and when her hand plays with my lips. I love when she pops off with milk dripping down her cheek to see what Hudson is up to and then latching back on and getting down to business again. I love that I am her favorite and I love that I can comfort her in a way no one else can. So breast feeding has been quite a different bonding experience. I do feel more attached to Nova. I feel like I worry about her more when I'm away from her. And it's not that I love Hudson any less it's just the mind set of knowing no one else can give her the nourishment and comfort that she gets from me nursing her. Even though I'm sure she could make it a whole day now with out nursing cause she'll eat anything, I just worry about "what if's". What if she really needs me when I'm gone?! It's totally just me now though now that she is older.

I never felt like breast feeding was my style. It's quite rare in my family. I did not grow up around it by any means. I could not have told you the first thing about breast feeding 21 months ago! And now?! Whoa! Could I write a book about it or what?! Totally. I know all the secrets and remedies now! I would probably be the last person you'd guess who would want to breast feed. I'm very impatient, I like taking the fast route and finding the easy way of things. I'm a no nonsense kind of person. Ahh but me and Nova did it! We make a good team. Except for when she wakes up for the third time in the night and wont go back to sleep unless she is nursed. Except for then. Then I don't want to be on her team. We are working on that still! Yes, for the past 7 months! That's one thing I don't like putting up with is the night nursing! I expect it at 4 or 5 months but one year old?! It's completely a habit. I don't care what those breast feeding advocates say! "Oh, but she just needs comfort and needs that good, nutritious, more fatty, night milk!" No! She can have that milk in the morning! Same milk right? Yes, I've gained some more patience through breast feeding.

I fully support breast feeding. It is a wonderful thing! And I do believe it is the healthiest choice for your baby. I think every mom should have a goal to breast feed. I don't support the nay sayers of formula though. And I don't support pushy breast feeding advocates. Look, if nursing is just not working out for you and your new baby after a few good weeks or months of effort then let it go. Let it go! Turn a way and slam the door! I don't care what they're going to say! But really. By all means, get all the help and support you need in your breast feeding journey because my gosh you will need it! It's nothing short of a team effort. I just think some women push nursing moms too far when trying to help out by putting too much pressure on them to keep going. They act like breast feeing is the only way to go and then the moms feel like huge failures when they just aren't enjoying it and want to quit. And then scare them about formula! They need to know that if they do choose to quit that they wont be judged for it. And they need to know that they will be supported in their decision to quit so they wont feel so much regret over it. You don't need that kind of baggage with a new baby. If you choose to quit it's important to know that you still did your best and that you will still be supported in you decision to bottle or formula feed. Fed is best!

It's just not fair though! I've said many times how dumb it is that breast feeding is so dang hard when it's the natural thing to do! Why?! A new baby is stressful enough but throw breast feeding on top and your a wreck for months! Is the latch correct? Do I have enough milk? Is she GETTING enough milk? Why is she eating every half hour? To use the nipple shield or not? She's still not back to her birth weight four weeks later. Let's clip that tongue tie! Try a chiropractor! Don't eat any dairy heaven for bid! And better cut out all greens too! And chocolate! Oh wait are you still eating enough to supply milk? 4 gallons of water a day right? A paci? Heck ya! Why does it still hurt four months later? Thrush and mastitis? Twice!

I knew breast feeding would be hard. I think it was through friends talking about it on mommy Facebook groups that it actually sparked my interest in it. I asked many questions and did my own research. I bought nursing bras, covers, and pads. I felt prepared and I knew I wanted to make it to a year. And then I had Nova. It's a whole other story when the time actually comes to breast feed. I felt so silly as the nurse showed me what to do. We had latch problems right away. During our hospital stay I asked to see the lactation consultant many times but she only came by three times and I was still so lost. By the next day just the gown touching my nipples would make me cringe! SO much pain! I didn't even know if it was worth it now. But from the moment she had first latched I was somehow emotionally attached to breast feeding. Her first week was rough and I fought with myself many times over quitting. But I just could never bring myself to do it. It was really stressing me out. I wanted to keep going but it was oh so hard and I wanted to quit but then I would feel like a failure. I've put in a lot of sweat and tears over nursing Nova.

Breast feeding has been far from a natural experience for me. And I can't say it's been any easier than bottle feeding. Sure it's been nice to not have to prepare any bottles and then wash them, but all that time saved goes into the hours and hours spent nursing. Nova has nursed twice as much as Hudson ever spent taking a bottle. And the diet change? Sorry I just have no self control there! Call me a child abuser if you must but I wasn't about to cut out all my favorite foods! We'll deal with the tummy aches and rashes. Hey, she's still alive and happy today! I never liked the argument that breast milk is ready when ever and where ever cause I also found out with bottle feeding that formula is also. And formula wins that argument in my opinion cause you can't breast feed in a car! A bottle would have come in handy many, many times in the first few months for Miss I-Hate-My-Car-Seat! And a bottle gives instant satisfaction where many times when Nova was just too hungry to wait for my milk to come in she would cry and cry and cry and not nurse. Poor baby would get so frustrated! I hated it! Bottles win again! And nursing out in public was quite the hassle for me for a long time. Covers ARE hot but I wasn't about to let my boobs be seen by the public! I believe in modesty when breast feeding. I can be more discretely about it now that I have more experience but back then and even now Nova is not a neat eater. She was constantly on and off and on and off when she was younger which had to do with our on going latch issues. If we were to nurse in public with out a cover my nipples would have been shown off many times. The struggle is so real! And another win for bottles for lightening the load of a mother. Others can more easily help out! And Nova could be enjoying sleep-overs and Grammy and Pappy's!

You may be wondering why I didn't just pump and bottle feed also which I did for about 2 months but it was rare. Let me tell you my struggle there... We had latch issues. For months. I feared that using a bottle would make her stop nursing since it was much less work for her. Bottles were our last resort during the hard days. And well, pumping is just a pain in the butt! I salute any mom who can do that full time! It's not worth it to me.

I keep telling myself I had no choice but to keep going after every trial we came up to because she wouldn't take a bottle after 3 months old but of course I had a choice! I just didn't try hard enough to quit because deep down this is what I really wanted to do. I'll hate on breast feeding all day every day but I secretly like it people, OK!? I'm not your average breast feeder! I never chose to breast feed for the health benefits. That was just a bonus. I ain't afraid of no formula! It's heaven sent! And I didn't chose to breast feed because I felt denied that option with Hudson. When I had him I could not have cared less about breast feeding. In fact my prayers over the decision to breast feed him or not were answered quickly with the news of his cleft. I chose to breast feed Nova simply because I wanted to. I made a commitment and I learned to love it somehow!

I'll tell you right now if I would have quit that first week it would have made life a lot easier. But you know what? Then I wouldn't have felt the immense amount of joy and accomplishment when we had reached one whole year of breast feeding. Tell me, have you ever reached a goal of a year? And I'm not just talking about nursing. It was one of the best feelings! Especially since it has been one of the hardest things I have done. We've had many trials all along the way. And I have wanted to quit many times through out the year. So if your willing to stick it out through thick and thin then don't give up!! Now that I have reached my goal of breast feeding for a year I don't know what's next! I don't know when I'll wean her and I'm afraid if I don't pick a date soon I'll end up nursing her until she is 5! I'd like my boobs backs soon thank you very much! And so would Curtis! I'm attached to nursing OK!? There I said it! Plus my Nova girl just loves her "milks" so much it's hard for me to take that away from her!

Having done both bottle and breast exclusively I've come to the conclusion that both of my kids are still equally as awesome, smart, healthy, and happy! And I never would have doubted it!! You can't argue that breast milk isn't the best option for babies because it is! And if formula is the worst thing that my kids have eaten then I'll consider myself very, very lucky! I'll never judge my kids based on how or what they were fed the first year of their life when they have a whole life ahead of them!

And that's my breast feeding thoughts and experience for you in a big nutshell. Take it or leave it.

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