Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Football Hold

Breastfeeding... what can I say about it?

Well, before I got pregnant my stance on breastfeeding was that I had to do it. There was no other way about it. The milk was free and it was the best thing for the baby. Not to mention the constant pressure from everyone, my mom, coworkers, friends, etc.

After I got pregnant and was actually going to have someone sucking on my boob every two hours, I began to reconsider. (After all, I didn't even want my husband doing that right now!) After the past nine months my boobs grew and grew and grew and couldn't imagine shoving some poor little baby's face into them. He might get lost or suffocate! Though its the most natural thing in the world, the idea was just weird.

The baby came and it was time to nurse. Let me tell you, it's REALLY hard to keep up with an 11 pound baby! Not only that, but he was big and hard to handle. You couldn't just scoop him up like a "normal" baby. But, when it came down to it, I felt I owed it to my baby to at least try breastfeeding.

The baby wouldn't latch on. My milk hadn't come in yet and he would get very upset after he couldn't get any food. I couldn't believe all the tricks the lactation nurse had to get the baby to breastfeed. Nipple shields, syringes, tubes, the list goes on.

We came home from the hospital and still no milk. I'd pump out a few squirts but it took a while for the mother load of milk to come in. Again, boobs were huge. I decided it was just easier to pump and bottle feed him since he was a little baby Hoover. The lactation nurse in the hospital said she'd never seen a baby suck that hard out of a 60cc syringe. Nice... Anyway, he slept pretty good as an infant. Slept through the night at 4 weeks. If he wasn't getting up, I was for sure not getting up! But my boobs would fill up with milk so fast! I'd roll over in bed onto my rock-hard, milk engorged breasts and just imagine them bursting like water balloons all over my good sheets. Eeww...

I'd wake up with him in the morning, give him his bottle, pump. Two hours later, give him his bottle, pump again. So on and so forth. By the end of the day... Really? Again? My boobs aren't really hurting from the incessant pumping but I'm just plain sick of pumping! After my first day-long outing without baby, the milk really built up. I didn't bring the pump with me because that was just weird. We were going shopping what was I going to do- sit in a bathroom stall and let everyone here the obvious sucking sound of the pump? Or sit in the car all exposed?? Even with a blanket over me I'd feel "out there."

That was the day I decided this just wasn't for me. I gave it a good long push as we always do in motherhood (no pun intended). My baby didn't care what he got as long as he was fed! So, should I feel guilty that my own discomfort and inconvenience ultimately pushed me to change my baby's food supply? Or that I'm too lazy to want to feed my baby? At first I did, but it's different for every mom.

New moms, here's my word of advice. I'm not going to tell you that you should breastfeed or that you shouldn't, but listen to your body, your heart, your mind, and your baby. I know it's a lot but get used to it - we don't have a choice anymore! I really do believe it's worth a shot, but it truly isn't for everyone. If you're like me and cringe at the thought of pumping again... don't feel guilty. Don't give up on breastfeeding too quickly, but don't feel guilty when it's time to move on.