Growing a Baby: Breastfeeding the first month

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While I was pregnant I made the decision to breastfeed. A month later, it was the best decision I ever made. However, this past month of actually breastfeeding along with the last few months of pregnancy preparing to breastfeed have been…well, difficult.

Why you ask?

Other people have been the biggest problem.

No, you say.

Yes.

Why? Because American society has made breastfeeding a taboo. Something crazy women do. Or mothers only do at home.

The last few months of pregnancy people told me my milk might not come in. That terrified me. My body wouldn’t make what it was supposed to make? OMG, I thought.

Then it was: “Don’t be upset if you end up having to give formula. It’s not a big deal. Formula keeps them satisfied longer anyway.”

Wrong. (Now that I finally know what I’m talking about a little better.) One bottle of formula to an Exclusively Breast Fed (EBF) baby can ruin their entire digestive system and throw it so completely off that it kills most of the good bacteria and constipated the baby (this came straight from the Lactation consultants mouth).

She got hungry at the doctor.
She got hungry at the doctor.

Next it was: “Breastfeeding causes your boobs to constantly hurt. Once you feel that pain you’ll want to quit after a few weeks.”

Ok. That one was true. But give up I did not and guess what, the pain is now gone.

So, the truth about breastfeeding:

1. Yes, those fist few weeks it does hurt. But then it gradually goes away. One day you wake up, feed the baby, take a nap with her, wake up, feed the baby, and realize that it hasn’t hurt at all. You’re cured! And, if you can make it through labor pain, breastfeeding boob pain for two weeks should SO not be an issue. Put your big girl mommy panties on, for real.

2. Yes, we lost a whole pound waiting for my milk to come in. But, every time she wanted to suck, even if it was every other minute, I let her. Which probably played a big part in my milk coming in with a vengeance three days after she was born. We’ve been going strong ever since. Those first two weeks, I fed on demand. If she wanted it, she got it. Unfortunately, that is a hard habit to break and at a month I’m still doing that, but it makes her happy and I love our snuggle time.

Being lazy in the bed. Love our snuggle time.
Being lazy in the bed. Love our snuggle time.

3. “You’ll never get any sleep.” Not true. Yes, she does want to eat all the time because the breast milk isn’t quite as filling as filler-filled formula. I combat this with her sleeping on my chest with a boob uncovered. She wakes me up rooting and trying to find my nipple and I help her the rest of the way and fall back asleep. We’ve been just fine doing this. I don’t roll over. Bed sharing has been done for hundreds of years as well as breastfeeding. If it didn’t work, you wouldn’t be reading this and I wouldn’t have written it because we wouldn’t be alive. Formula and bottles really haven’t been around for very long in comparison to breastfeeding. Think about it.

4. “What happens when you go back to work.” I pump and put it in a bottle for daycare and give her a boob when she’s with me. DUH!! Use common sense people. This isn’t a hard concept. It’s illegal for the workplace not to allow me to pump. I’m a professor so it’s not that big of a deal. I just pump between classes and put it in a cooler until I get home and freeze it. COMMON SENSE.

Got milk? I do from one breast!
Got milk? I do from one breast!

5. “Your husband wants to feed her too.” And he did for the first time the other night. When I was finally sure the boob was her favorite, I put breast milk in a bottle, gave it to my husband along with the baby and both enjoyed their time together. I, however, will never give her a bottle. When I’m around and feed her, it will always be my boob.

Husband feeds baby for first time (4 weeks old)
Husband feeds baby for first time (4 weeks old)

6. “But what about when you’re in public.” This one is the worst. I have a cover. I cover myself. I don’t just flop my boob out. I understand that it makes some people uncomfortable. I understand that. But, when I’m using the cover, get over it. This is the natural way to feed my child. The way God intended. (So for you God-fearing people, please remember this. When I’m in church and she screams I will feed her the way God intended and keep listening the preacher at the same time. Why should I leave or go to another room when I’m in His house doing what He made me to do?)

Need more information on breastfeeding? Check on these great resources:

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (book)

La Leche Legue

CDC Guide

Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding

The Breast crawl (Yes, babies really do this!)

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