(Fair warning… if you can’t tell by the title… this is about breastfeeding… if you don’t care to hear anything about it… quit reading! For the rest of you… carry on)
I want to start this post by saying that I love my decision to breastfeed. But that I believe that it was just that, a decision. I have friends who have chosen not to do it, friends who weren’t able to (for various reasons) and friends who believe it is the only way. And like SO MANY THINGS in parenting… there is more than one right way to do things. But for me, this was the right decision and I wanted to share a little bit of why and what has made it successful for me. Most of this post is what I wrote up for a friend who wanted more information about my breastfeeding decision.
I went into breastfeeding thinking… if it works great, if not, no big deal. But I also know that having support from my mom and a few friends who had done it successfully was critical to me being able to persevere through the first few weeks (which are HARD). But it is TOTALLY worth it. The more I have learned about breastfeeding the more I love it. And even though those first few weeks were hard and painful, now it isn’t painful at all, its SOOOO easy and its cheap too! So do what you want with this information, but here are my two cents on why it was worth it to me.
- It boosts my daughter’s immune system. I just got a very contagious stomach bug that everyone in my friends group got (I think there were at least 10 of us who got it… kids included) but Taylor escaped despite being in very close contact with me the whole time… so it definitely helped insulate her from the sickness. I also had a very high fever a few weeks after she was born, and it didn’t seem to bother her at all and she never got a fever.
- This article talks about it, but basically she (or he) communicates to your body what is ailing her and your body can create antibodies to fight whatever she has… even if you don’t have it. Y’all… that is some seriously cool stuff!
- There are a lot of things that breastfeeding has been linked to healthwise, but some of the important ones for me are a decreased chance of having severe allergies (my husband is very allergic to several things) and a reduced chance of childhood obesity.
- When she wakes up hungry in the middle of the night hungry, I don’t have to wait to heat up a bottle… I can just feed her, so she is happier and so am I because in about 10 minutes we are both happily back in bed.
- It’s cheap… basically you just eat like normal (a few more calories than normal… I had the major munchies for a while) and she is fed, which to me is much preferable to having to buy formula all the time.
- It will melt the pounds off of you! I basically did nothing but breastfeed and most of the weight has come off from pregnancy. It might be partially good genes, but whatever it is… I’ll take it!
I am not going to lie, the first week was really hard. My milk didn’t come in until about 5 days after she was born, and apparently she wasn’t getting enough colostrum (the yellow stuff that comes out before your milk really comes in), so I had to supplement in the hospital with some donor milk and one round of formula (which led to a lot of tears and panic in the hospital). But after my milk came in, she got a LOT better at feeding and it wasn’t as painful. I used this nipple cream and it made it not QUITE as miserable. Probably after about the first 3-4 weeks it quit hurting all together.
I have heard some horror stories about people whose hospitals weren’t very supportive of breastfeeding, but mine really was. They had lactation people I could call all the time while I was there, who were mostly helpful (although I did feel like each one told me a different way to do it and other things they did NOT like and contradicted each other occasionally… so like all things in parenting… take their advice with a grain of salt.) But the other helpful thing they had was a support group to go to after leaving the hospital where we could weigh the baby and ask any questions of the lactation consultant lady. If your hospital has these… take advantage! I liked going because when you breastfeed it is really hard to tell how much your child is getting at each feeding, so being able to weigh her each week I could ensure that she was growing well. I could also weigh her before and after a feeding to see how much she was getting.
And obviously she gets plenty of food… She is a nice healthy round baby! And I’m pretty sure that this is the only time in life when fat rolls are this cute!!!
My husband wasn’t very gung ho about the breastfeeding thing at first, he wasn’t against it, just not as committed to making it work as I was. And I will say, it IS a little hard for the husband because they basically can’t help in the middle of the night. So he and I made a deal, if it was time for her to feed (about every 3 hours) then I would get up… if it was anytime in between that… he would get up and take care of her. But now that he has seen some of the benefits of it, he is a huge supporter. And after the first few weeks when she got the hang of it and my supply was in, he could easily give her a bottle of breastmilk and I would pump instead and he got to be more a part of it (some people say not to do this until your supply is firmly established, but my supply has been great and I never saw any ramifications from her having a bottle of breastmilk on occasion).
I learned a ton of information by going to the breastfeeding group at the hospital, but if you have any questions http://kellymom.com/ is a great place to go, it has a lot of info in one place.