Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The joy of breastfeeding

I always knew I would at least try to breastfeed. My mom breastfed me and my grandmother always said I was the healthiest of her grandchildren. So it made sense (and cents, but that's not my main reason for breastfeeding.)

This decision was a concern for me as the due date came closer and closer. Breastfeeding did not seem easy, and I kept reading stories about how cracked nipples, clogged ducts and mastitis.

Where were the happy stories about bonding and weight loss?

I didn't get to hold Little Elvis and attempt to feed him until about 12 hours after he was born. After hugging our beautiful new baby, I untied my gown and attempted to shove my breast into his little mouth. He didn't cry, but he also didn't automatically latch on.

We tickled his chin, rubbed his cheek, touched his arm and finally got him to open his mouth. Again I tried to shove my breast on him. He clamped and released. The nurse, my mom and Bob all tried to help, and finally he latched on for a little while.

Before we left the hospital, the lactation consultant had come by and we were awkwardly working on different holding techniques.

At this point, breastfeeding was more painful than enjoyable. I was bleeding and cracked and chapped and worried about making it the recommended year. And I couldn't find a hold that I found very comfortable.

Then, after about a week, my nipples toughened up, (I suppose they did, they stopped bleeding and stinging) I found a hold we both liked and I began to truly enjoy the process. I could stroke his cheek and gaze into his eyes and smile at him.

I now truly enjoy our time together when he's eating, although it's much more adventurous at this point -- he likes to stick his fingers in my mouth and explore my teeth, he hums, he smiles at me, he tries to suck his thumb while eating, he holds onto my shirt, giggles, and this evening he tried to blow a raspberry while feeding (not so pleasant). He usually finds a way to make me laugh or smile.

Now that he's eating solids, I'm getting a little worried about losing my special time with him. I put off feeding him twice a day, because I like being needed and didn't want to just be forgotten. I finally gave in, and although he's eating "real food" twice a day, he's still breastfeeding very regularly.

I know that I will have other ways to bond with him, but my worries about not making it a year have faded. I also know that I will miss our special time a lot.


Blogger Jennifer aka Binky Bitch said...

I know what you mean.

It took 6 weeks for me not to clench my teeth in pain when bfing my daughter. I'm so glad I didn't give up, I'd be missing out on our moments together.

10:54 PM  
Blogger Lainey-Paney said...

Well...I was afraid of breastfeeding, but our lactation consultant said that we were both naturals at it.

It took a full week for my milk to come in....but we were a good fit for nursing.

Gage self-weaned, and we were done. I missed it so much. I still miss that...

But now... he's almost 2, and when he takes his milk at night before bed, I'm the one he wants to snuggle with on the couch or have rock him in his, the bonding is still there. He still explores my face with his hands, and we look into each others' eyes...

12:55 PM  
Anonymous Dawn - Coming to a Nursery Near You said...

I was right there with you -it took us a good 2 weeks before we really GOT the latch, and they still hurt, but gradually less. Now, I love the time (even though they still hurt from time to time, dammit) and I know I'll miss it - but I also don't call a strict cut off at a year . With my daughter, I let her decide (though with gentle nudging) and she weaned at 14 or 15 months. You'll do what feels right, and then you move to the next stage of his life, when you're just as needed and just as important. I promise!

2:18 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

happy belated bday!
am getting nervous about the teeth ting, dav just got his 1st. cade weaned b4 he got any

1:34 PM  
Blogger Pregnantly Plump said...

I'm nervous about the teething thing too! Let me know how it goes.

10:57 PM  

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