Thursday, October 21, 2010

Let's Talk Boobs by Cali

When I found out I was pregnant with my first child I was overwhelmed with what I had to do! Take
prenatal vitamins, find a Dr., go to said Dr., A LOT, find a pediatrician for your baby, register for baby
items you are unfamiliar with and have no idea what you need, go to baby shower, get the rest of the
things you need. Can't forget dealing with the things that happen to your body, whose boobs are these?
Where is my baby bump? THERE it is! Why are my boobs leaking? I need nacho cheese Doritos at 2am.
Why can't I sleep? No I really wanted cooler ranch Doritos? What do you mean you can't find
peppermint stick ice cream at the store? I could go on for weeks! So hard to prepare yourself
emotionally for what is about to happen.

Eventually it crossed my mind "oh my gosh I am going to have to feed this being!? Now I get to my
point. I knew breastfeeding was best. I knew that I wanted to do what was best for my baby. So why
not? Well from the very beginning of my son's life I ran into SO many "booby traps."
Booby trap number 1 for me, formula! I had more cans of formula than I knew what to do with before my son was even born! Samples, checks you name it, they gave me even more IN the hospital too! Other road blocks included a total lack of support and advice. After my son was born we were thrown into a breastfeeding class that had at least 15 other moms and their own new bundles of joy and ONE lactation consultant, with a half hour to help us all.

That was no good! We got a quick once over and I was told he had a great latch. Well okay then, this
will be smooth sailing! Then the melt down came, my first night home, no milk had come in, baby was
crying, I was crying, my boobs hurt, chaos! What do I do? Oh yeah, all that formula they gave us (see
how that works?) Then it happens, for me the most crippling blow to my attempt to breastfeed...
Nursing. In... PUBLIC!? Going out was scary, leave the house? What if the baby gets hungry? What if I
have to feed him in public? What if someone is offended and says something rude to me? I was so sure
I would crumple into a pile of tears that I resigned to staying home. But that got old fast as my father
came to town a few weeks after my sons birth and we were off to the races, lunch out, shopping, visiting
family, and it felt GREAT to be out and about, except for that cold sweat panic when the baby got
hungry, so formula it was (again, see how that works?). I felt so much guilt as my milk supply decreased,
and his formula intake increased, what a slippery slope.

My return to work also yielded many issues for me. Working in the food industry as a server provided
many pitfalls. Long shifts often, what we refer to as "doubles", left no time to pump, when can a server
stop and breath, let alone sit down for 10-15 minutes and pump? It was the end of the end. I would be
lying if I said sometimes I don't feel pangs of guilt about not breastfeeding him longer. However I
learned a lot from that first attempt.
With the birth of my daughter I felt ready, I was prepared with support groups and more knowledge than
the first time around. While I took the diaper bags that the formula companies used for marketing, I hid
away, gave away, threw away the samples, keeping the bag and even the occasional convenient cooler
bag. This time around the hospital I delivered at had changed things around; instead of one class with
many moms and one lactation consultant, they had a lactation consultant that came to my room to
help. I had people to call when I got home and realized, oh yeah this hurts! I came to realize, well yes, it
hurts at first (only the initial latch, not the entire time), and about two weeks (if even that) later it didn't
hurt. Wew! I made it through, with no formula. Then the big hurdle... Nursing. In... PUBLIC! Maybe it
came with a little bit of age, maybe it came with a little experience, but this time around I figured, I really
didn't care what anyone else though, I would not put someone else's needs in front of my child's. Armed
with a few nursing bras and a few nursing shirts, I was ready to take on the world. I did it! Here we are,
five months into breastfeeding and I feel like a superhero!

Two great "movements" that have come around since I had my first child that I would like to give credit
too are, Ban the Bag and Best for Babes. I was very happy to see that the hospital I was delivering at was a participant in Ban the Bag. I feel that it's really setting mothers up to fail, "breastfeed because it is best for the baby."

But here is some formula for when you fail". It would be like a doctor sending you home with a prescription
for chantix to quit smoking, and a pack of cigarettes, what good is that? I can't say enough great things
about Best for Babes, they are doing a great thing, and I recommend that site to any mom that is
breastfeeding, wants to breast feed, or is struggling with breast feeding. If I can do it, you can try! But
importantly, if you don’t suceed, do not beat yourself up over it. Because while breastfeeding is good
for your baby, having a hapy healthy (phsically, mentally and emotionally) mama is really what matters
most!

Have any mama’s here run into any “Booby Traps?”

2 comments:

gianna said...

Oh, I made it through the Booby Traps on baby #1, but only (and truly mean only) because I had an older lady who was a friend of mine from my church who WAS a lactation consultant be my personal lactation consultant. (by volunteer basis) For the first 3 weeks of my baby's life, I called her panicked and freaked out and crying pretty much every day. By baby 2 (and subsequent 3 and 4) I was able to do this because I had a totally different experience. But you are completely right about an emotionally stable mommy being one of the most important things! You aren't any good if you are so unstable and shooting yourself in the foot!

Erika said...

I had many booby traps thrown my way, mostly by my in-laws/family... I have overcome them however, with a lot of help from BFB. <3 On the 9th of November I will have been EXCLUSIVELY breastfeeding for 9 months! While being a full time college student!! :)

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