Wednesday, November 3, 2010

25 Days of Thanks Challenge: Day 4

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Today I am Thankful for...The Ability to Breastfeed my Baby

To preface this post, I'm going into a bit of detail about breastfeeding here in hopes of encouraging other breastfeeding moms. I know that there are a lot of moms out there who for whatever reason can not breastfeed. I totally respect a mom's decision to do what is right for them and their baby whether they breastfeed, pump, or use formula. I have experienced both sides of the spectrum with my girls. Though I didn't have the challenge of working while feeding (don't know how you girls do it), I faced other challenges as a stay-at-home mom.

When I had Elena, I knew nothing about babies (and I mean NOTHING). I had never even changed a diaper. Funny how I thought THAT would be my biggest challenge. I read all of the pregnancy books but just assumed that once I had the baby, everything would come naturally to me as a mom. For the most part it did, but breastfeeding did NOT. As a new mom it took Elena losing lots of weight and a few trips to the lactation consultant to discover she wasn't getting anything. She was labeled a "dis-functional sucker" meaning she latched on but was too lazy to get anything. She basically used me as a pacifier. Determined to give her what she needed (since I knew the benefits of breast milk) I purchased a nice breast pump and for nine long, agonizing months I pumped and fed. I found some great support sites for "EPing" moms (Exclusively Pumping) but didn't realize until having Kate, what a sacrifice pumping truly was for me.

When Kate arrived, I was a bit more aware of what needed to be done to breastfeed, but was so afraid of her not getting enough milk that I went a bit overboard. I did supplement for the first week after bringing her home but I immediately set out pumping to make sure I established my supply. She was a bit lazy at first about eating. We had a hard time keeping her awake to feed. I would feed her on one side and simultaneously pump on the other. Then my husband would feed her what I had pumped just to make sure she was getting some. With Elena, I always knew exactly how much she was getting. Due to my previous experience, I didn't trust my body (or my baby) to get what was needed. It wasn't until she started gaining weight consistently and an exhausting overnight stay in the hospital (due to some other complications she developed) that I finally started limiting some of my pumping and trusting her to get the job done.

Today, Kate is a champion breast-feeder. I only pump if I know that I might be going out or need a bottle for someone else to feed her later (which rarely happens). I can't believe the difference! The bonding that breastfeeding provides is nice, but the biggest difference is the convenience and comfort. I had no idea how I was torturing my body by exclusively pumping. I was rubbed raw from the friction of the pump. I couldn't lay on my stomach for the pain and even water hitting me in the shower hurt. Now that I know how breastfeeding is supposed to be, it would be tough to go back to pumping all the time if I had too. I am so thankful I was able to provide for Elena as long as I did, but I am EVER so thankful that Kate is able to get what she needs directly. It is such a blessing to see my body and my baby responding the way God designed us to...He is Good!

What are YOU thankful for today? Check out the "25 Days of Thanks" tab at the top of the page for details and link up below!


  1. I have to agree with this one, wholeheartedly. I was able to bf Charlotte for only 6 months, because of my work schedule at the time - pumping was dreadful. I had to pump in a cold instrument storage closet during my only short break of the day. Teachers really don't have flexible schedules at all. Being home with Bennett, I was able to bf him for 11 months, and only stopped because he bit me and then I got mastitis. I loved not having to fix bottles, heat milk, etc. And it is an incredible bonding experience, there is no closeness like it, and I actually miss it.

  2. I almost cried ready your post. It really hits home to me. I'm an exclusively pumping mom now, well for the most part. I breastfeed Alan on occasion, but it's mostly pumping. I started that about week three or four because I knew I would be going back to work. He's a great eater - eating about 5oz each feeding with a bottle. I never get that much in a pumping session, so I have to pump three additional times above however many feeding sessions he has to get enough to satisfy him. And since I started EPing so early, I don't really know what it's like to be a breastfeeding mom. I never really felt the connection everyone talks about because I was just worried about him getting enough.

  3. This is something I am very thankful for as well (it was going to be tomorrow's post for me :p) I did not find breastfeeding to be nature either. Alex had trouble latching and was a lazy eater as well. Then he was hooked on a nipple shield. I felt so insecure when it came to breastfeed and I worried about him getting enough. We supplemented for about 3 weeks (one bottle of formula a day). I also started pumping early (he was less than 24 hours old when I did) because was in the postpartum ICU and he was in the nursery and unable to nurse for about 6 hours. I kept pumping because of his issues with latching, which now I am grateful I listened to my own body and not the billions of people that told me not to pump early on. Now things are great and I am so grateful that I kept up with the breastfeeding now, but it was a tough journey. Thank you for you post!

  4. I was only allowed (by my dr.) to breastfeed for 1 month. I have seizures...during that month I didn't take my seizure meds. The whole time I pumped like crazy and then froze what I could. I was stressed all the time..well except when my baby was nursing. I was so sad when I had to stop. I will always feel blessed that I had that time with them both.


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