Friday, August 1, 2014

// 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 - m y s t o r y //

I never thought of breastfeeding before I became pregnant.  If I had, I probably would have been in the “please be modest, cover up and don’t show my husband your boobs” camp.  As I typed that, I felt a little shame, but I try to focus on where I am now.  (Where I am now:  “Only cover up if you want to, but please, it’s just a boob.”)  My pregnancy was a surprise.  We had just returned home from a three-week cross country road trip that also served as our HONEYMOON.  Yes, I said honeymoon.  So, to say that I wasn’t prepared is an understatement.  However, I went to my doctors appointments and read up on pregnancy and sooner or later, I was determined to breastfeed.  I’m not sure how I became passionate about it, but I’m so glad I did.  I read it was wonderful for my child, so my mind was made up:  I’m breastfeeding.  

When Elliot was born, he latched on right away.  However, he was having some breathing troubles, where his breaths were coming faster and faster.  I woke up in the middle of the first night and I heard some of the worst sounds coming from my sweet, first born son.  He was sick and unable to breastfeed.  I was devastated.  Elliot had to have five days of antibiotics.  And until further notice, breastfeeding was out of the question.  I’m embarrassed to admit, I wallowed in self pity for a few days.  I kept wondering, “why? why does my son have to be sick?”  I’m embarrassed to admit because others have experienced far worse, but truthfully, I had no idea what was going on yet.  

Then, the nurse who saved the day.  I had been crying, holding my son’s tiny fingers as he was attached to tubes and iv’s.  I could not breastfeed him until I was given the okay by a doctor.  However, the doctor would not be making his rounds until the next day.  The nurse could tell that he was okay to nurse, so she called until she got a hold of him.  I was given the okay a day earlier.  My husband recorded the event on video, while I cried huge, happy tears.

From then on, our breastfeeding relationship was relatively easy, although it was hindered by my fear of breastfeeding in public.  Elliot was incredibly active (people who know him are not surprised by that)  and he would kick the cover off.  So, I nursed in bathrooms and in rooms alone.  It was sweet, but not as sweet as it could have been.  Then, lo and behold:  pregnancy surprise number two!

I gave up nursing when Elliot was nine months.  I was exhausted from pregnancy and had little milk left.  It was emotional, but I had so much going on.  We were living with my parents, unsure of where we were headed after and Elliot had no problem with ending our nursing relationship.  I was sad, but way too preoccupied.  

As for Asher, it was a bit different.  When he was born there was a perfect latch, however he was a sleepy baby and I had to encourage him to feed regularly by taking off his clothes to wake him up.  I was way more prepared this time.  But, as life often does, I was thrown a curveball.  Out of nowhere, at about 3.5 months, he stopped wanting to nurse.  I kept trying and trying, which could cause him to throw up the little milk he did consume.  I was scared and started to obsess, which was my largest problem.  I was incredibly stressed and had little help.  I had a eighteen month old and was stretched thin.  After over a week of not eating and loosing a little weight, two teeth popped through.  They told me it was too early for teething.  Apparently not.  

So, here I am.  Nearly two years of breastfeeding my youngest. We have begun the weaning process, because I felt as if it was time.  Asher was wanting to nurse all day and if I couldn’t, he would get very upset: even hitting and pulling at my shirt.  He wasn’t sleeping well and I think needed to feel a little more connected with Jimmy.  So, now we breastfeed at “night night” times.  (naps and at night.)  During the day he will ask for it and then go “nooooo, nigh nigh” and giggle.  If he really does need a nursing session, I won’t deny him that.  But it’s been nice seeing him connect to Jimmy more.  (I will nurse Ash and then let Jimmy put him to bed.)  

This has been super long, but I wanted to start this series again with my own story.  I hadn’t shared and thought “well, that’s just silly.”  I believe posting photos and breastfeeding in public is important because it absolutely encourages and promotes breastfeeding.  When women see it, then they aren’t ashamed of it.  They are able to ask questions and actually have a visual of what it looks like to nurse.  That sounds silly, but if they have never “seen” it, how will they know?  It’s not enough to get thrown into it at birth:  in fact, it’s detrimental to the longevity of the nursing relationship.  Also, baby wearing.  Babywearing and breastfeeding all the way.  Especially if you have more than one child.  Nothing feels more badass and accomplished in the world of breastfeeding then being able to take a walk downtown with your family and breastfeed while socializing, getting errands done, etc.  I remember the first time I got the hang of it-  I was giddy with excitement!

Thanks for reading my story, guys!  Happy World Breastfeeding Week!  Whatever your story may look like, be proud!  Seriously.  We all love our kids and now, let’s love ourselves.  We are strong women, and our stories inspire others to feel pride in our role as mothers.  <3

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