Disclosure :: This post is part of a series for World Breastfeeding Week and is sponsored by Women’s & Children’s Hospital.
Breastfeeding … What’s That?
I had my first child at 25. Before this, I was almost completely unaware of what breastfeeding really was. While I come from a large family, my mother didn’t breastfeed any of us. I actually don’t even have a memory of anyone that I knew personally or was related to having nursed their baby. So, needless to say, my knowledge, and even more so, my desire to breastfeed my baby was almost non existent. The little I did know was filled with all of the myths and none of the truth. My son was born in 2006. When I say that, I wonder how is it that I knew so little about breastfeeding! I mean, it wasn’t 1980 (when I was born). The information was literally at my fingertips, and I barely knew anything.
I struggled to get on board. Because I had no example before me, my desire was weak. All of my pregnancy was spent with me persuading myself to just do it. Eight months in, the struggle was real and I wasn’t yet completely convinced. I even received a breast pump as a baby shower gift and I was still underwhelmed! Finally, I threw myself into reading and learning all I could about it. I made the decision that if I truly wanted to do the best I could for my baby, I owed it to myself and baby #1 to learn more and try!
Here We Go!
I was ready, or so I thought. If I thought I struggled before the baby was born, the aftermath taught me otherwise. My son struggled to latch on because he had some minor (at the time) breathing issues. The first few days were hard in the hospital. I was fortunate to have a lactic nurse at my beck and call but even that didn’t suffice. Before we were clear to go home, we were told our already struggling to nurse baby had jaundice. We went home for one night, with all the contraptions for that, and ended up admitted back into the hospital the very next morning. My poor baby was hungry and didn’t even have the energy to nurse. What to do? Cry all the tears was one, but I was really proud of myself because instead of quitting, my first thought was to pump while baby was in the hospital. We still struggled to nurse while he was inpatient again, and I continued to pump. It was such a rocky start. After almost two weeks, he was jaundice free and coming home! A few more visits and calls with the lactic nurse, and we picked up breastfeeding like a champ.
Here’s my point.
Your story matters. I was so inexperienced, with so little exposure to breastfeeding, I had no idea what to do. I was afraid. Believed all the terrible things I heard (some of which were true), and as a result went into what should be a very natural experience, fully stressed and unwilling. Breastfeeding is not a walk in the park for every mom and baby. I’ve had three kids, nursed all three, and of the three, only one was a breeze! However, nothing will surpass what I know that I gained, my son gained, and all those that have come to know me since, through my first experience. For some, I was the first person they knew who breastfed her baby. With that, even though my first was no walk in the park, many after me had a real life, personal example. Whether your choice is to go for it or not, it’s a personal one. I’m not here to judge. There are benefits to breastfeeding and I’ll save all those goodies for the medical experts. There are also benefits to being the first and the next one to continue providing the real life examples.
Share your story.
No matter what it may be because your story is exactly what someone needs to hear to know that they are not alone, they can do this if they choose, there may be obstacles, or there may not be any at all. Whatever the case, we can only do what we have learned or experienced ourselves.