Breast Feeding My Baby
- Monday, 06 June 2011
I was never one to love breast feeding. Surprising, right? But true.
I now have 3 kids - an 8 year old son, 6 year old daughter and a 4 month old daughter. I breast fed all of them, but my experiences with each were very different.
Before my son was born, I knew I wanted to try to breast feed him. That was until I tried it. A friend once said to me, "out of anyone I know, you are the last person I would expect not to breast feed for the entire year." Being the 'natural and organic' lifestlye expert that I am, it was true, I didn't think there should be another way.
Don't get me wrong. I am fully aware of the benefits of breast feeding a baby and how important it is for my kids health. So I stuck with it as long as I could, which lasted 5 months for my oldest, 11 weeks for my second and so far 4 months for my third (I am still feeding once a day, but I am starting to wean her now).
I clearly remember the call I received from a nurse four days after I got home from the hospital with my new baby. I told her I was having difficulty with the breast feeding and I wasn't enjoying it as much as I thought I would. I thought she would sympathize with me and tell me it was normal, but instead she went on and on about how breast feeding isn't about me -- it's about my baby and regardless of how I was feeling I needed to stick with it. Needless to say I hung up the phone and burst into tears -- and continued to breast feed.
For the first five weeks of life, my son cried non-stop. Until one day I decided to take him to visit my parents who lived five hours away. Since I was driving, I prepared a bottle with baby formula to keep on hand in case I needed to supplement him so he could stay fuller longer (knowing full well that the five hour trip could have easily taken me 10 hours). After stopping three times within the first hour, I decided to break out the bottle and give it to him. He drank it in about three seconds and I didn't hear a peep from him until I arrived at my parents home four and a half hours later. What I realized that day was the reason he cried non-stop was because he was hungry! I didn't have enough breast milk to satisfy his hunger. I had no idea. So from that day on, I gave him formula during the day and breast fed him in the morning when he woke up and before he went to sleep. The routine worked like a charm and my son became a happy baby.
When my daughter came along 20 months later, I breast fed her for 11 weeks. To be honest, I enjoyed it even less than with my first. I still didn't have a lot of milk and this made it difficult for my daughter to enjoy it. I also didn't like to breast feed in public (I am shy that way). I knew there were medications I could take to increase my breast milk supply, but I opted out of taking them (friends of mine who took it told me their gained 10 pounds as it increased their appetite). I tried the herbal route, but it was too time consuming and I didn't have the patience to drink the amount necessary to produce the amount of milk I needed to satisfy her (working full time and raising a 20 month old at the same time made it too hard to stick to the regimen).
I always looked at my friends and other moms who loved to breast feed in awe. I wanted to feel the same connection they had to breast feeding, that only we moms can experience.
However, things changed when my newest addition, my 4 month old, came along six years after my daughter was born. From the get-go, she latched like a champ. My midwives couldn't believe how strong her suck was. From the minute she was born, I felt an entirely different feeling about breast feeding -- I acutally enjoyed it. Maybe it was because I am older now and I am more comfortable with myself and my body, or perhaps because I saw how much she loved it, or maybe because I know she is my last baby, but I can honestly say the whole experience this time around was a positive one. I still don't have a lot of breast milk, so I'm supplementing with organic baby formula.
I guess the third time's the charm. As a whole, I am enjoying breast feeding my third baby and I can finally look at the other moms who really look like they love it, in a whole different light.