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!