Most women have a stance on breastfeeding. It is on the news and in your newsfeeds about the health benefits or social stigmas or the etiquette. I am not going to debate any of those things in this article. You need to do what you want with your kid. Honestly, just like every other parenting situation, I know only what worked for me with my kids. That being said, I have kept on boobing for close to 3 years now. I feel as though I am qualified to classify myself as a breastfeeding expert. What I have to offer is the shattering of lies you may have heard. I want to get some truth out there.
I have made it through many booby traps. Booby traps are situations that can interfere with the breastfeeding relationship. Examples of a few of these are: I failed at breastfeeding my first child for longer than a few weeks, I got pregnant 10 months after gastric bypass when the current recommendation is 12 to 24 months, I had a cesarean, I was overweight and had type 2 diabetes. These were the just the complications I started with in my breastfeeding journey.
Once my daughter, Aiva, was born it did not get much easier. She had low blood sugar and had to go on IV glucose. She was given needle pricks to her heel every 2 hours to test her sugar. (I still feel this has affected her personality.) I was asked to supplement with formula in order to take her home. I had bleeding nipples and a plugged duct before leaving the maternity ward. Throughout this ordeal, I remained committed to breastfeeding.
Just when breastfeeding became routine, I got pregnant. I was 7 months postpartum. My milk dried up for about 6 weeks in my 3rd trimester. I dry nursed Aiva until the colostrum kicked in. That is when I began to tandem nurse with my son, Tommy. We tandem nursed until Aiva was 2 years 4 months. I first tried to wean her at 2 years. She was not ready and it caused a huge developmental regression. I continue to nurse Tommy. He is 16 months.
My family comes from a long line of formula babies. I only had one friend who breastfed with supplemental formula. When it came time for me to feed my kids, based on my health history and the developmental issues of my oldest, I felt breastfeeding was a medical necessity. I read books and websites and asked anyone who looked like they may know. I was voracious in trying to learn everything I could. I came to the hospital as prepared as I thought a person could be to nourish my new baby. During my time breastfeeding my kids I have realized most of what I learned were lies.
#1. Everyone will tell you to breastfeed and then immediately make it close to impossible to actually do it!
Seriously, everyone! The doctors with their medical interventions. The nurses with their tight schedules and rigid rules. You will have visitors that can not take a hint to leave. Suddenly everyone is a lactation consultant and your baby is starving. You get pressure to go back to work. Everyone suddenly wants to be able to give the baby a bottle. Then the rules start rolling in about how you should not feed in public or without a cover or in front of children or even in your own bed!
#2. Breastfeeding will not come naturally. It comes from intensely stubborn hard work.
Forget those stupid Youtube videos of newborns crawling up to your chest and latching on. Newborn mouths are tiny! Nipples after pregnancy are huge. There is only one right way to bring those two puzzle pieces together in the first weeks and it takes patience and trial and error. All of the tips and tricks help, but it still just comes down to what will work for you and your baby. Keep in mind you have to learn this vital skill at a time when you are emotionally vulnerable and in a lot of pain or your baby will starve. While you are going through this, there will probably be a free bottle of formula within arms reach in the hospital at all times.
#3. It hurts.
You will often hear that if you are doing it correctly there should be no pain. Total lie. It hurts in the beginning. It hurts when your milk comes in. It hurts when they start moving around. It hurts when they get teeth. It hurts when they get really good at draining a boob in 5 minutes. It hurts when they drift off and wake back up and suck the nipple in from the tip. IT FREAKING HURTS. My nipples have been abused for years and my son can still catch me off guard. He sends pain so intense down my body it can feel like I am going to have an out of body experience.
I am going to stop here because I feel like this is becoming an anti-breastfeeding article. I hope that this does not take the excitement of the breastfeeding experience away from anyone before they have tried it. I would never trade the beautiful moments and convenience of breastfeeding for bottles. I do it with no formula, no pumping. The experience it is mine. No one can give my kids what I am giving them. I made them with my body. I continue to grow them with the perfect food for my special child. That is one of the miracles I get to be a part of with my children.
People just need to stop the lies associated with it so more people can find success in breastfeeding by being prepared.
Let me know more of the lies you encountered while breastfeeding. Also, love to hear from people who actually stopped or formula fed because of a lie they were told. No judgment please, I know there are strong opinions on this subject but everyone is doing the best they can for thier situation.