Wednesday, December 18, 2013

/ / A D V E N T U R E S I N B R E A S T F E E D I N G - H A N N A H ' S S T O R Y / /

I've been missing these adventures in breastfeeding posts and I'm happy to say that they are back.  I've been so terribly at keeping up with the dates and reminding people.  But I'm so grateful to see how excited people are to share their stories.  So many people want to know why it is necessary to post photos of breastfeeding.  I believe there are many reasons, which are all valid, but my favorite is so other women can see what breastfeeding looks like.  It does help and for that I am so grateful to all you inspiring mamas!  You are brave for sharing such a personal part of your life.  

I'm excited to post Hannah's story.  Thank you for sharing!  Hannah blogs at The Rain and I and is also part of Sakura Bloom's current Sling Diaries.  I love her perspective.  Follow along with her at @therainandi <3

I lay down on my side to feed Silas in our bed. He recognizes the movements of this ritual we do all throughout the day and night because his little mouth starts searching before I even get situated to latch him. He fits perfectly in my arm and weight of his small body against me is my heaven. He looks up, locking eyes with me as he eats heartily, making satisfied humming noises. Briefly, he pauses and smiles at me. I melt completely. There is nothing as precious as this-- I am so deeply in love with this being.

I didn’t always feel dreamy about breastfeeding though. Learning to breastfeed the week my son was born was very difficult.

I gave birth to Silas in a birthing pool in our bedroom. The labor and birth went smoothly and he was perfectly healthy. I held him close to my chest until it came time to deliver the placenta and handed him off to my fiance, Christopher. I hemorrhaged and nearly passed out. This left me extremely weak. Christopher held Silas for most of the morning, placing him on me to breastfeed.

I would get out of breath trying to hold him and getting him to latch on. I couldn’t tell if his lips were flared or if his head was in the right position. 

I became worried about my ability to nourish this baby who was 100% dependent on me. I was so dizzy I couldn’t stand up. Speaking left me breathless. I knew something was wrong and could tell I would be going to the hospital.

My midwife, family doctor, my mom, and Christopher all decided that I should go in for a blood transfusion. My hemoglobin levels were very low. Silas came with me and I breastfeed him during the transfusion.

I remember sitting in the hospital bed on a donut pillow, trying to breastfeed my baby around the IV in my arm. Silas came ten days before his due date and I had yet to buy nursing bras or nursing pads, so my shirt was soaked in milk. I hadn’t slept or taken a shower yet. I was in tears every time I fed him, curling my toes with the intense afterpains. The post-contractions were comparable to labor. The engorgement was incredibly painful (I wouldn’t be able to face my chest to the shower head for weeks). I felt frustrated that I couldn’t care for my son the way I wanted to. I cried when he cried, completely overwhelmed. Christopher would try to soothe me and help me understand that Silas would reflect my energy and if I was scared, he would be too.

We went home and I felt immensely better after the transfusion. I got the hang of positioning Silas to eat over the next couple weeks. I used an app to time his feedings. It got easier. It stopped hurting. Eventually, I was walking around the house while feeding him. It became second nature, like I was told it would.

But what I wasn’t told was how relaxing it would be, or how I would cherish having this amazing tool to soothe my baby. Some of the most precious moments of my life have been watching him nod off into a sweet little slumber after eating. We are still breastfeeding exclusively and it amazes me how he grows and is sustained by my milk alone. I plan to breastfeed full term and I dream of someday tandem feeding with a second sweet little baby. <3

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