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A Little Bit of My Breast Feeding Journey

June 20, 2014

I have an admission: I haven’t always loved breast feeding. This was a surprise because it’s something I was really looking forward to. I knew that it could be difficult, but I also knew that it was worth it. I’d read about the health benefits and the bonding and I was excited to get to do it.

Eli was not one of those babies who crawled right to the breast after birth. Instead, he couldn’t have cared less about those giant things in his face. I’m sure he just figured they were pillows. It’s not unusual, some babies are just like that and I didn’t take it personally. When he did care, sometime late afternoon the next day, he had some trouble latching. It was definitely frustrating for both of us- my nipples felt at times like they were being sliced with razor blades- but eventually we figured it out. All to be expected and all par for the course. When it took a while for my milk to come in, however I started to worry. I have a friend who did everything right, but never produced much milk. Hey, it happens. I tried to focus on her beautiful healthy, happy baby girl and remind myself that Eli’s health was number one and that whether or not I was able to breast feed was no indicator of me as a mother.

Our pediatrician recommended lactation tea to help speed things along- Eli had lost the maximum amount of weight to still be healthy so we were in a hurry. I had been given a box of Earth Mama Angel Baby Milkmaid Tea so that’s what I drank. It was delicious- even though it has anise, which I usually hate- but more importantly, it worked! My milk came in and I was leaking all over the place. If I hadn’t been busy basking in my breast feeding dream coming true I would have done a dance.

Once I got over my relief though I noticed an odd feeling. It was like being trapped or chained. There was a nagging in the pit of my stomach that I needed to go, to run. I didn’t enjoy just sitting and feeding and staring at my child. I mean, I loved staring at him and could do it for hours, I just didn’t like being forced to. I had all kinds of thoughts- Was I a bad mom? Did I not deserve all that I had been given in my beautiful perfect little being? I wondered how it could be possible that I didn’t love breast feeding.

And then.

The first thirty days passed and we were given the okay to take Eli out into the real world of restaurants, bookstores, and any other public places we desired. And I felt better. I began to enjoy breast feeding. I started really loving that time to connect with my boy, the feeling that wherever we were, we had a connection that was just for us. I loved looking into his eyes as he drifted off into a milk drunk sleep. I loved holding him close and knowing that my body was feeding him everything he needed. I no longer felt trapped. In fact, I felt freer than ever before.

I love that I get to do this for him, for us. Because it is for us. I get as much out of it as he does, emotionally at least and it was absolutely worth sticking through every hard, frustrating, “trapped” moment and feeling to get where I am today. I’m grateful beyond words that this worked for us and I can’t imagine it any other way.

*Please note, new mamas, that I’m aware I was lucky in that I never had to deal with cracked or bloody nipples, mastitis or plugged ducts (yet). And I firmly believe that the most important thing is doing what is right for YOU and YOUR BABY. (Aside from feeding said baby, duh.) Formula or breast you are still a badass- you’re a mama.

*One more final note on formula, I know some spectacular adoptive parents with wonderful babies who never once had a sip of breast milk and they’re just fine.

Here are some pictures, because why not?:

Before it got better.

Before it got better.

photo photo IMG_1889

One of us is eating. Hint: It's not me. (And yeah, I know we were in the bathroom, but it was only for a second so I could take the picture!)

One of us is eating. Hint: It’s not me. (And yeah, I know we were in the bathroom, but it was only for a second so I could take the picture!)

 

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 22, 2014 12:41 pm

    I love this post so much. Nursing my baby is one of my favorite parts of early motherhood. I felt that way with my older daughter, too. It always provides a chance to connect- just the two of us- no matter where we are, what we’re doing, or who’s around.

  2. July 11, 2014 9:48 am

    It’s strange how nursing takes work, isn’t it? With my first, I struggled and found a wonderful lactation consultant who helped us be successful. I nursed him until he was just over 2 years old and it was incredible. With my youngest, my body just kicked right into gear – it remembered just what to do 🙂 He is now 14 months and we’re still going strong. I was not looking forward to nursing, but it has been such a profound, incredible experience. I’m so glad it worked it out for us (and for you, too)!

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