Sunday, August 7, 2016

Breastfeeding Isn't Always Hard: Encouragement for Pregnant Moms

This is my last post in celebration of World Breastfeeding Week 2016! This is also the last day of my giveaway, which you can check out here.

Many breastfeeding mothers overcome tough obstacles to give their babies the best. I'm so glad there are stories out there about overcoming those obstacles because they help new and seasoned moms press forward and stick with breastfeeding in their own hard times.

But there's also a place for my breastfeeding story. If there's a first time pregnant mom out there who's a little worried about breastfeeding and not sure if she can do it because it seems so hard, my story is for you.

First of all, I didn't know much about breastfeeding before I started trying to conceive and became obsessed with reading and learning everything. At this point in my life, the natural lifestyle was very appealing to me, so I knew right away that I wanted to breastfeed my baby, the most natural thing you can do. Still, I had thoughts like, "What if my milk is no good or I don't make enough?" I battled these anxiety-filled questions by educating myself with the answers. 

In fact, I was so determined, that getting a good start to breastfeeding was my number one inspiration for having a drug-free, natural vaginal labor and delivery. Because once you take drugs for pain management, you're more likely to need other medical interventions that can put a damper on your baby's natural breastfeeding instinct. Thankfully, I was able to give my son a natural birth!

I wanted my baby to do the breast crawl, but the nurses either forgot about that part of my birth plan or ignored it. Because I was so excited, I just went with it when a nurse placed my baby next to my nipple. (I still feel a little bummed he didn't have a chance to do the breast crawl, but the most important stuff happened like I wanted.)
I'll never forget my boy lifting his little head with so much effort, rooting around, and latching his tiny mouth so perfectly. He was a natural! I felt so proud.

Eight hours went by with no feeding until a nurse told me he should have been eating every two to three hours. Which I think I knew, but I wasn't thinking clearly because I had barely slept and was running on adrenaline. (Helloooo, motherhood.) The got me a little worried because he didn't seem hungry. He wasn't interested in eating. All my baby wanted to do was sleep, sleep, and sleep some more. The nurses gave me a couple more hours to get him to feed, but he still wouldn't.

After ten hours, a nurse showed me how to hand express, which I was pretty bad at. She helped me produce some colostrum onto a spoon so I could spoon feed my little dude. A few feedings like that gave him a ton more energy to be awake, and then he was right back at nursing like a champ.
We've had no problems since. (And I don't even count our little ten hour hiccup as a problem.) No thrush. No mastitis. No tongue tie. One or two poor latches that bruised my nipple, but that was it. Hardly any nipple pain.

Breastfeeding came naturally to both of us. I even did pretty well with the newborn cluster feedings. Honestly, the hardest part of breastfeeding for me was giving up dairy because it makes my son gassy. That was hard for about a week until I adjusted. Oh, also, he won't take a bottle, which means we're together all the time, so no movie theaters for this gal. But missing out on dairy and movies won't last forever. These are temporary, minor sacrifices so that my baby and I can reap amazing benefits. It's honestly my pleasure to miss out in these things so that I can breastfeed.
Breastfeeding brings us both so much joy, comfort, and health. Not to mention all the money we're saving by not buying formula. And the time I save, especially at night, not having to make bottles. The ease with which I can pacify him when he's cranky and tired.

Breastfeeding isn't always hard. It isn't for us. I can't promise that it won't be for you, but there is hope. It's possible. Just learn everything you can about breastfeeding. Find a good support system and a pediatrician who loves breastfeeding. You can do it and it can be wonderful.

Want more content on crunchy momming with faith, gentleness, and boobs? Check Her Arms Are Strong on Facebook!

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