Thursday, August 7, 2014

I Love Nursing!

** Disclaimer:  This post is not meant to offend any mother who either could not or did not breastfeed their child.  That being said, forgive me, I am very blessed that I am able to breastfeed, and I am proud to have breastfed, and continue to breastfeed my baby girl.  **

Apparently August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month, and I've been meaning to write one or more posts about nursing, so this seems like a great time to share my two cents.

When Tracey Ann was about three weeks old a friend came by to bring us a meal and, among other things, asked me how I liked breastfeeding.  I told her it was fine.  Then she said, "Do people ask you, 'Don't you just love it?'?  People always asked me if I loved it, and I didn't really love it.  I mean, it was fine, but I didn't love it."

I hadn't been asked by anyone if I 'just loved it', so we moved on from the question to discuss other parts of motherhood, but the question stayed with me.

Now, six months later, I can honestly say that I DO LOVE IT.

I always have known that I wanted to breastfeed, and, frankly, I've always known that breastfeeding is not easy.  My mom shared with me from a young age some challenges that she had breastfeeding, and how it took time, commitment, education, and a visit from a lactation specialist for her to successfully breastfeed, but how proud she was for sticking with it.

Postpartum, there was no question in my mind as to whether or not to stick with breastfeeding.  I was not considering it, or thinking that I would see how it went, or I would try to pump so I could sleep while other people fed her, NO -- I had the attitude that breast milk, from my breasts, was all my baby needed to survive and that's the way it was going to be.

I was incredibly blessed in how Tracey Ann and I adjusted to breastfeeding.  I will not say it was easy, because it wasn't, but we did not have an especially difficult situation.  I did, however, make PLENTY of use of the hospital nurses during our two-day stay in the hospital with ALL KINDS of nursing questions.  One night I was calling the nurse in about every five minutes for nursing help.

I used a nipple shield for about the first two weeks while Tracey Ann was learning how to suck (she was tongue-tied at birth, so her mouth had to re-learn how to suck after practicing it differently in the womb), and while my nipples toughened up.  By approximately eight weeks, we had hit smooth sailing.

We used a bottle with breast milk for the six weeks I returned to work before the end of the school year, but come summer, our bottles were put away and she was fed on the breast with little exception.  It was this summer that I can honestly say I fell in love with nursing.

I Love...
I LOVE that my body has produced EVERYTHING that Tracey Ann needs since the moment of her conception.  That is SUCH an AWESOME thought.
I love that my curious, alert, hawk-eyed baby girl settles down, lies still, and nestles up next to me whenever she needs nourishment.
I love that in the process of eating she is held tightly, and I'm the one who gets to hold her.
I love that she is comforted by nursing when she is upset or hurt.
I love that my body needs her as much as hers needs mine -- that is a BOND, let me tell you, like nothing I could ever have imagined.
I love that, even when my diet is not impeccable, breast milk from me is better for her than formula.

I was very fortunate not to suffer any major postpartum depression -- a few emotional highs and lows, but nothing abnormal.  I must say, I wonder if I will be depressed when I stop nursing because I absolutely LOVE it!

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