Thursday, February 27, 2014

Some Additional Thoughts on Breastfeeding

I was very much a person who hoped that breastfeeding would work for me, but was not so emotionally attached to it that I'd be devastated if it wasn't a possibility. On some level I always knew it would happen naturally. But, as I said, if I was someone who had to supplement, had a baby with an allergy, or simply could not do it, I would have been ok.

In the hospital, we didn't quite get the hang of it. My personal goal was to be able to feel comfortable nursing before heading home. Each time we tried to feed, Baby Fix-It had trouble latching and got all frenzied. I, in turn, started sweating. I'd take a deep breath and the exhale would hit him on the face. This calmed him just enough to focus. Kind of. Every single time we fed in the hospital I was dinging the nurse call button to get assistance. I'm so glad I did. We never had an issue after those initial sessions.

While breastfeeding, I felt like I had a superpower. No matter what was going on, I could calm my baby. Feed him, cuddle him, ease him to sleep. It also meant that at the onset of the slightest fuss he was in my arms. Almost every mother experiences this. It's empowering and exhausting.

We made sure to introduce a bottle so that Mr. Fix-It could also feed our baby. We weren't as diligent about this as we should have been, and Baby Fix-It became a serious bottle-refuser. This means that in the history of my son's existence I have never NEVER ONCE slept through one of his wake ups. I'm honestly not resentful, he's so sweet when he's half awake in those wee hours of the morning, but still - wow. I know that if I worked traditional hours, this would have changed and he would have figured out how to take a bottle. For us, it was fine and in those very early months we were never apart more than 4 hours. Sometimes this felt hopelessly overwhelming and confining, but most times I thought to myself, "where do I need to go?" We introduced solids a tiny bit early, and that immediately allowed me some additional freedom. Baby Fix-It is healthy and thriving, and we found what worked best for us.

I didn't think I'd like nursing as much as I did. It really was this exceptional bond I shared with my baby. I felt comfortable feeding my son anywhere we went. On a plane, in a restaurant, outside Target in the parking lot. It's incredibly demanding, and yet also special and beautiful.


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