Guest Post ~ Forcing the Bloom’s Breastfeeding Journey
August 27, 2013 4 Comments
This is a guest post from Adrienne of Forcing the Bloom. She has found breastfeeding to be a challenging, beautiful, and rewarding experience. She found extra support she needed from La Leche meetings and now invites others as well.
Thank you so much, Adrienne!
What Breastfeeding Means to Me…
I was surprised to discover that breastfeeding isn’t as simple as it seems like it should be. I was also surprised to discover that it’s not very common. I didn’t really think about it until I had a baby. I just assumed everyone breastfed, at least for a while. So, I did not know how to answer my midwife during a pre-natal visit when she asked me whether I was going to breastfeed. I didn’t know what she meant by the question. Was it a test? What was she trying to get at? Of course! Then I started learning about breastfeeding (or the lack of it). Now I’m the mom I heard so much about before I became pregnant – yes, that mom. The one still breastfeeding her 16 month old toddler pretty much anytime and anywhere. How did I get here? Even if you could get where I’m at, do you want to be here? I get it. I understand the intensity and demands of breastfeeding. I had many challenges along the way, some big and some small. There were some tears, but there was also many tender moments that made it all worth it. It has been an amazing and awesome journey.
What made breastfeeding work for me was a commitment to breastfeeding and a very supportive, community of breastfeeding mothers – aka La Leche! The lactation consultant that taught a breastfeeding class I attended and who met with me a couple of times recommended reading a good book on breastfeeding and attending La Leche meetings. It only took me about one year to get with the program! I discovered that there is SO much incorrect information about breastfeeding swirling around and VERY little direction about where to find helpful information. My heart goes out to new moms! It’s no wonder mothers struggle with breastfeeding. I mean when was the last time you noticed a woman breastfeeding in public? I hadn’t thought about it until I needed to breastfeed my baby. In the first few weeks, all you do is breastfeed! I couldn’t even make it through a one-hour church service.
I was not prepared for the intensity of breastfeeding especially during those first few weeks. But I think if you start off from the very beginning with the idea that breastfeeding is your one and only job/responsibility/privilege it makes things much easier in the long run. Have food and water right near your bed or a cozy chair in your room and keep your pajamas on to remind yourself and any visitors that you are focused on establishing your breastfeeding bond. I remember that on the very first day I attempted nursing and could not establish a good latch. I ended up watching a video about hand expressing sent by my midwife (http://newborns.stanford.edu/Breastfeeding/HandExpression.html). After several attempts, I was able to express a tablespoon of colostrum. And my husband had to help! I felt a little better when we were able to get about half of the colostrum into Baby B with a spoon. At least I could see he was getting something! I wish I had understood the value of skin-to-skin contact. Luckily, I had help from my midwife. I had mistakenly assumed Baby B would just pop on and I would be left with little to do but sit there and hold him. Of course all babies are different but that was not the case with my baby. I really had to work at moving around and trying different positions. If only I had attended La Leche meetings from the very beginning! I would have been surrounded by breastfeeding moms, all eager to support and guide new moms.
Some of the toughest challenges I faced with breastfeeding were returning to work (pumping) and an itchy yeast infection. That was when I called a lactation consultant who also taught the breastfeeding class I attended. We talked over the phone several times and I visited her home office at least twice. She talked to me mother-to-mother and without judgment. I also started reading breastfeeding books including “Breast Feeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Breastfeeding Mothers” by Nancy Mohrbacher and Kathleen Kendall-Tackett and “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding”. Every time I spoke with the lactation consultant she highly recommend that I also attend La Leche meetings. She reminded me that I would continue to have ongoing questions and that a support group was a powerful resource. When Baby B turned one, I finally attended my first meeting. I went to my first La Leche meeting with the intention of learning how to wean my baby. By my second meeting, I was so excited about the benefits of breastfeeding that I forgot about weaning. I have continued to attending meetings so that I can support other new moms. I also invite moms to come with me!
Somewhere between establishing that first latch and now, Baby B and I built a breastfeeding bond. I love every moment. There is nothing better in the world than seeing that look of serene satisfaction on your baby (or toddler’s) face as they look into your eyes and cozy up close to you. That spot is their home base, safe zone, life line. So, you will continue to find me breastfeeding in the middle of music class, the corner of a coffee shop, or next to the jungle gym. I am THAT mom. The one still breastfeeding her toddler. :) Breastfeeding is my joy, my privilege, my life. I love you Baby B.
Thanks again, Adrienne!
If you are interested in guesting posting on Atlantamomofthree, please check out my page for all the information.