Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Journey through Breastfeeding

I was never breastfed as a baby.  My mother told me that she had inverted nipples and I couldn't get milk from her.  I was crying most of the time and so my father got frustrated and told my mom to feed me with formula milk.  

When I was pregnant with my first child, I knew I was going to breastfeed.  I saw pictures of mothers feeding their babies on their breasts and for me its beautiful.  I want to do just that.  My daughter was born via CS section.  They cup feed her while I was recuperating.   When she finally got to room in with me, I brought her to my breast and she took it.  It was a happy day for me.  I loved the way she felt in my arms and seeing her there -- nursing peacefully -- it was perfect.  I have been nursing only for days and I already had sore nipples.  I was crying and didnt know what to do.  My hubby (also formula fed) and the people around me, only had one solution.  Formula feed.  I had to stop until the wounds heal.  So we bought formula milk and baby bottles (we didnt buy one before I gave birth because I really want to breastfeed).  I pumped but my breasts are still engorged.  When the wound finally healed, I held my baby again in my arms thinking if I should bring her back to my breast or not.  I was young.  I was scared of the pain.  I resorted to formula feeding.  

When I got pregnant again after a few years,  I only had two things in mind -- VBAC and breastfeeding.  This time I know its going to be different.  Armed with gazillions of information, I was able to breeze through my normal delivery.  Now the breastfeeding part.  The pain must've missed me because there were days when I cringe in pain everytime my son latches;  My daughter can only watch and rub my back telling me over and over to relax.  How can something that's supposed to be natural be so painful?  I read. I researched. I applied what I learned.  My neverending explorations of the net lead me to one breastfeeding class and several information about the La Leche League.  All these empowered me and made me more confident.

My journey was not easy but it reminded me that there are so many things that I learned in the process.

1.  Breastfeeding is a skill.  One has to learn the correct position and the baby has to learn how to latch.  Patience is an important ingredient for you to master this skill.  Believe me, I've done a lot of trial and errors in getting my son to latch perfectly.

2. Breastfeeding is a committment.  You will encounter a lot of reasons why you should quit -- sore nipples, having to go back to work, sleepless nights -- to name a few.  But making that committment to yourself and to your baby that you will only give him/her the best milk, will keep you going.

3.  Being hard-headed is not that bad.  Yes. I admit. I'm an only child and what I want is what I usually get.  That kind of attitude worked for me because if I didnt assert what I want to do with my son, I never would have been successful with breastfeeding him this long.

4.  Knowledge is POWER.  It's a cliche`, I know.  But believe me, there are a lot of breastfeeding myths and misconception.  Know where and who to get the best information from.  The internet is ultra powerful and you get all sorts of information.  You can go to the La Leche League's website or the well known mom bloggers like me.  Here are some of the blogs and sites that I read and found very helpful:

Chronicles of a Nursning Mom
Ask Dr. Sears

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