My wonderful friend Amanda of Wife. Mama. Educator. is guest posting for this week's Phenomenal Mom Friday. Her post comes just in time for World Breastfeeding Week, August 1st-7th. Amanda is a breastfeeding champ and lactivist. She shares her perspective below...
I breastfeed my son, Ezra. He’s two.
When I was pregnant I knew I’d breastfeed. I just knew breastfeeding was normal—what moms did with babies. I was breastfed for 9 months. My sister breastfed her kids. My closest friends breastfed their children. Even my cousin, who had a baby at 18, attempted breastfeeding. I guess you could say I had a strong foundation laid for me. Friends I could count on and ask for advice, who bought me nursing pads and nipple cream even when they weren’t on my registry. I took a breastfeeding class. My husband happily accompanied me. He supported me, because even though he wasn’t breastfed, he saw the value. Simply put, I had a pro-breastfeeding support system.
And when Ezra was born, we breastfed. OMG did it hurt. I bled. It was terrible. And on top of it, no one in the hospital seemed to have the same information about breastfeeding. Feed every 2-3 hours. No, every 3 hours. No, every 3-4 hours. Don’t use the nipple cream. Use the nipple cream. Use the nipple cream but make sure to wipe it off. It’s should hurt if you’re doing it right. It looks like you’re doing it right, it shouldn’t be hurting.
It was enough to drive me insane. And when we went to our pediatrician for E’s two day check up, she misread his initial birth weight and thought he had lost way more than 10% of his birth weight. She then proceeded to grill me. Has your milk come in? No it hasn’t. How often are you feeding? Every 3-4 hours, that’s what the nurses told me. You need to put that baby to your breast. Nurse every two hours, around the clock, to get your milk to come in, and to get the baby’s weight up.
I cried. And cried. And then I drank a glass of wine (at the advice of the pediatrician, who probably didn’t grill me, it just felt that way) and breastfed my baby.
I was lucky. By no means from that point was breastfeeding easy, but with the exception of an absolute meltdown at exactly 3 weeks post-partum—more bleeding, the height of pain, my husband thinking he was helping by offering formula, and telling my husband he better shove it and then informing him that he needed to stay home so I didn’t hurt the baby—I had no major issues. No mastitis, thrush, overactive let down, milk supply issues or any of the other obstacles that many women face and work hard to overcome.
I was also lucky because I had the privilege of staying home. I was able to nurse on demand, around the clock, with no negative ramifications. I mastered nursing laying down by the time Ez was 6 weeks old. And I was happy to nurse and nap and nap and nurse with my wee one. It became easy, second nature and I couldn’t imagine any other way.
And while I always knew I’d breastfeed, I wasn’t prepared for was how passionate I’d become about breastfeeding. I could go on for days citing reasons for breastfeeding, and the injustices for women who can’t or are made to believe they can’t breastfeed, but I won’t, because ultimately I don’t find that to be valuable. Instead, I'll share the following:
Send breastfeeding moms to www.kellymom.com the most comprehensive quick reference for all things breastfeeding.
Try not to spread breastfeeding myths. This is really hard because there is so much misinformation out there, so see above.
In most instances, if you want to breastfeed, you can. Formula is rarely needed (yes, there are exceptions, but these are exceptions, not the rule).
Support moms, no matter what. Breast milk. Formula. A combination—it doesn’t have to be all or nothing.