Thoughts on Breastfeeding
Most aspects of child rearing were like fun mysteries to me before Jeremiah arrived. I spent a lot of time wondering if I’d be the parent I thought I’d be. My mom formula fed me after a couple weeks of breastfeeding because she was worried I wasn’t getting enough and experienced a lot of pain. I was her first baby! She basically told me it created a lot of anxiety for her because she felt like she didn’t know what she was doing and no one offered any guidance.
As we all know, it’s incredibly easy to do your own research today. In fact, information seems to be there whether we search for it or not. I knew I wanted to breastfeed when I got pregnant and I’m relieved it’s working out for us. It blows my mind that my chunky baby is still 100% sustained by my body, 3 months outside!
Our first enchanting night together in the hospital feels like a decade ago but I clearly remember the small frustration I felt when nursing Jeremiah. It wasn’t as immediately intuitive as I wanted it to be! The nurses were incredibly kind and assertive so when I asked them again and again to show me good positioning and what a proper latch looked like, they didn’t bat an eyelash. One nurse even went so far as to grab hold of my boob and guide baby to the nipple. A seasoned pro, I had to laugh to myself. She reminded me that baby and mom are learning together!
Since then, breastfeeding has gotten easier as most things do when you practice consistently. It was not a straight path and there were evenings both of us cried in frustration when supply seemed low and my body just hadn’t figured it out quite yet. Then there was the morning I woke up with a blocked duct that burned with intense pain every time baby nursed on that side. I was thankful for the pump then, as it hurt less in my attempts to unblock it.
3 months in and it’s finally starting to feel consistently easy. I love his little grunts as he roots around for the boob and the sweet coos as he eats and falls asleep. It’s all together the most amazing bonding experience and also truly tiring. After seeing some speckles of blood in his poop I called our pediatrician who ended up diagnosing him with a fairly common milk protein intolerance. The blood I was seeing a result of irritated intestinal lining. If I wanted to keep nursing him I’d have to eliminate all dairy from my diet. I haven’t eaten butter in 2 weeks so if you know me you know that must mean I’m really committed to breastfeeding this kid! Luckily, most babies outgrow the intolerance by 1 year old. I’m planning to try reintroducing dairy products when he starts solids around 6 months and his insides are a little more mature. Wish him luck because man do I love what dairy does to cookies and cake, brioche and pasta! Maybe this is my cue to start experimenting with leaf lard in our baked goods?
If I could give a piece of advice to myself 3 months ago it would be a reminder that it takes time for processes to normalize. Your body was built for this. As our pediatrician tells me, as long as baby is gaining weight, he’s getting enough… and don’t be afraid to ask for help as soon as you need it. I swear it’s because I was so adamant about proper latching that I’ve never had a chapped nip!