Monday, January 10, 2011

Mommy Monday

Over the next few Mondays, I thought I would post some thoughts about some of the topics in which there are a lot of voices. These posts may ruffle some feathers but I am writing only about my own experiences and thoughts. I recognize that every mother has their own experiences and convictions, please share them so that my sister can learn from all of us!

One of the things that almost everyone has an opinion about is how and when to feed your baby. You will quickly see that some people are very passionate about this topic and will make claims that may make you feel guilty for not doing it the "right" way. One thing I have come to learn after three babies (and feeding in several different ways) is that it all comes down to what you are comfortable with and fits into your lifestyle and family. Because of the amount of information and things to consider in this area, I will extend this topic into next Monday's post.

The first thing you need to think through is whether or not you want to breastfeed. I wrote a blog post about breastfeeding before Silas was born (two years ago!) so I thought I would link it here so I don't repeat myself.
But I will reflect on the experience after a successful third try at breastfeeding. I was very intentional about the support I sought and although it was painful at first, it got better and I loved it! I found great satisfaction from doing what my body was made to do and enduring the hardship was very rewarding.

But I do know that for many women it just didn't work and I think that it is important to prepare yourself for that too. There are a lot of factors to consider- your emotional state of mind, whether baby is getting the hang of it, how much you want to work at it if it is difficult. But, in the end you are not any less of a mother if you don't do it. Another thing to remember is that just because your body is made to do something, doesn't mean it will always work that way. Our bodies are made to fight infection but sometimes medication is needed to aid in the process, thank God for modern medicine! The same is true for breastfeeding and pregnancy in general. Some women are medically not able to deliver babies naturally, just because they have a C-section doesn't mean that they are any less of a mother. If your baby is born too premature to be able to learn the sucking mechanism, thank God that he provided a way for your baby to be alive and able to eat at all! If it doesn't work like it should, there are other options that you can utilize, guilt free.

Thoughts from readers? What did you enjoy about breast or bottle feeding? What was your experience like and what lessons did you learn?


Sullivan's Mom said...

because of the nature of sullivan's situation at birth, breastfeeding was a challenge. I did pump with him, which we fed via a bottle, but because of the burden of pumping, I phased that out after the first six months or so and moved into formula. For me, pumping was a way to give him breastmilk and feel more connected to him - in a pretty sterile and unnatural situation, it was a small thing that I could do for him.
In retrospect, I also appreciated that David was able to spend many quiet late nights/early mornings with him. I'm not sure they would have had that early bonding experience...and it sure helped me get some sleep, although I was up frequently during the night pumping - so I guess it felt like a family effort to feed.
I'm in full agreement that the only 'right' way is the way that works for you. Happy mom = happy baby, in my opinion.

words and streets said...

Yep. I agree. Happy mom is so so key. I breastfed both babes past 12 months and am planning to try it again with #3. Lord help me, though. Mercy... I am not looking forward to it. I always have bfeeding issues, I'm just one of those ladies. But honestly I don't know another way so I'm just going to stick with it (for now). Plus I really do think it helps Mom recover a little quicker in the uterine shrinking area. :)

In response to a previous blog post (yes I have been reading :) that I didn't get a chance to post on---3 non essentials for newborn living, remember that one??! here are my 3:
1. cloth diapers -- the real deal kind. no i don't use cloth diapers on their bums but i use them for everything else, especially spit up and breast milk spillages! i get a new set with each babe. they're just so absorbent
2. swing -- i think a swing is nice those first few months. but don't let it replace necessary floor time! keep that baby on the floor on his tummy, even if they scream their heads off. it's so so important in their development.
3. netflix -- for night feedings :)
thanks for the posts, jane, they've been good for me to read to prepare for this babe in feb. I really can't remember a thing about how to take care of newborns anymore! yikes! it feels like a lifetime ago. i think i'm going to splurge for one of those swaddle velcro wrap things that everyone seems to use.
love, allie

emily said...

I love this :) Have I mentioned that already?!? So many great ideas and advice. Thanks ladies!

Need to get more to pipe in :)

Anonymous said...

I wanted to add that the number one reason women don't breastfeed is lack of support. I do think women who can nurse should give it their all. No need to rehearse the arguments here. I'd encourage anyone thinking through this to look for some support and to talk to your husband about the fact that you need support, encouragement, patience and (at least in my case) a little tough love when things get rough. I know you had a bad experience with an organized group, but those were really helpful in my experience.

And it doesn't always have to be traumatizing. Despite a difficult start I found nursing very rewarding. Not to mention dirt cheap.

Jane said...

Sarah- I did love the fact that Matt was able to participate in feeding our first two babies, especially because he wasn't home much and the time he had with them was important.

Jane said...

Allie- thanks for sharing! Baby #3 was great for us, I am so excited for you! Don't worry, it will all come back to you and it will be old hat by then! I was so chill with Silas, it was almost tempting to keep going, almost ;)

Jane said...

Melissa- Oh yes, support, support, support. And hubby is key. I had a ton of great support with my struggles with Jesse but I think if Matt would have been a little more hard a** with me, it would have been harder to quit. Not to blame him, I think he didn't like to see me struggle so much. By the third one, he was definately able to "cheer" me on- he knew my regrets and he remebered the formula bills! It was so worth the struggle in the end.

noelle said...

These comments are all out of love and experience. I have 4 children. My firstborn, now 21, lol, yes I am older, did not get nursed. It was all due to my insecurity. We had a rough time .. Basically following the doctors instructions, he did not dig a 'feeding schedule". When my next was born, nature took over. Try to relax and just let it happen. They know what to do and if we relax you are both relaxed. I did faithfully use ointment to prevent soreness. a blister here and there passed quickly. I did need to tickle their lips and 'squirt" milk to interest them. All in all it was an amazing blessing for all. No greater gift for both. My advice is don"t worry... It is natural after the first time. No feeding schedule.. On demand worked for us. With other little ones, find their favorite toy to keep occupied. No need for guilt if it is coming from your heart. God bless. FYI: my kid at 21, 17, 16 and 10 :).

Lisa said...

I just want to encourage the mom-to-be that although it's good to be prepared for bumps in the road when it comes to breastfeeding, you shouldn't expect it to be a horribly difficult challenge. I think you hear the hard experiences talked about more frequently, but for many women it goes very smoothly from the start. For me, there was just a little soreness at the start of feedings for the first week or two. And while I was at the hospital, I requested a visit from a lactation consultant to ask her, "Am I doing this right?" It takes a good bit of confidence to get past any early feeding challenges so just try to stay positive.