This is one of those posts that if you aren't into TMI, I'd stop reading now. It's all about breastfeeding and the ups and downs that come along with it. First all, I don't care what the La Leache league says, breastfeeding is hard (not that they don't acknowledge that, it's just you don't hear it enough). Now, there may be women out there who had it easy but for Jude and I it has been one thing after another. However, I REALLY wanted to breastfeed my kid so even though it's not easy I've been working really hard to make it happen. I don't even know where to begin. But I somehow wanted to blog about this because it's been such a huge deal for us to get through (and we aren't through it all yet!).
People are SO passionate about breastfeeding. Last weekend I took Jude out with us to Macaroni Grill and went to change him in the bathroom. As I was wiping my kid's butt some random woman comes up to me and asks if I'm breastfeeding. This is when I was doing formula with Jude because we were still working on weight gain and so I said, "We are working on it." Then this random woman, without knowing jack about my situation informs me that "You should breastfeed, even if it hurts." Okay, problem #1 with this statement -- Breastfeeding shouldn't hurt. If it hurts you are doing something wrong. Problem #2 with this statement -- Who the hell are you to tell me what to do with my child? Are you my pediatrician, are you his mother? If I want to give my kid formula then that's my decision, and really none of your business what I do. Even though I am pro breastfeeding I would NEVER inform a random stranger what they should do with their kid. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? It was almost enough to make me NOT try breastfeeding again after I got the go-ahead from my doctor to do so.
Here's something else about breastfeeding. It's time consuming. Let me tell you, making a bottle is so much easier for several reasons. Reason #1 -- it takes two minutes to make a bottle, for me to breastfeed it's a big production, I have to get the boppy ready, I need to get the nipple shield (which helps me breastfeed Jude because my breasts are a bit "inefficient"), I have to get Jude positioned just right and then constantly keep him awake to get him to nurse for 30 minutes on each side. With a bottle he can have it down in about 15 minutes (3 ozs no less, with me it takes almost an hour to get 2 ozs in him!) Reason #2 -- You know how much your kid is eating. Because I am so paranoid about Jude's intake I worry about how much he eats when bf-ing. Currently I have rented a scale from my lactation consultant that I can weigh him before and after so that I can be sure he's had enough. But, I have to give that scale back tomorrow and I'm a bit nervous about it because I'm SO scared he will lose weight again. I don't trust my instincts as much when it comes to nursing, so the bottle calms my nerves a bit. Reason #3 -- Pumping is time consuming too. Not only do you have to nurse but afterwards it's good to pump for 10 minutes, or if I chose to give Jude a bottle of expressed milk, I have to pump to make up for the lack of nursing session and keep my supply up.
Now, I don't want to discourage anyone out there to not breastfeed. I'm still doing it even though it overwhelms me because I feel like it's the right thing to do for my kid. However, I don't think people are completely honest about the challenges of breastfeeding when you read about it in books and on the internet. Everyone makes it seem like everything will just come naturally and you and your kid will be totally satisfied. This IS not the case for everyone. I think it's good for people to know that breastfeeding can come with all kinds of problems. Problems they don't tell you about in the books, problems they don't talk about on the internet unless you REALLY search for it. However, I have found one place of support, Kellymom.com. This site has been amazing on resources for breastfeeding and all the problems that can come along.
I know this is a decision that is deeply personal with each mother and breast or bottle, every kid is going to grow up just fine! I think sometimes we forget that when reading all this stuff and talking to others. I'm not going to judge anyone for not breastfeeding their kid. And, I'm going to be jealous of those mothers that breastfeeding came easy to, trust me it doesn't work like that for everyone! I wanted to breastfeed, and with A LOT of work, I have been able to do so. But, did I give my kid 2 ozs of formula last night because he was fussy and I was stressed and scared? YES! Am I ashamed of that decision? NO! If anything, with this blog post I just want people to feel supported if they are struggling with breastfeeding and to let them know that you are not alone! I have felt so alone in this process because there were very few people who understood what I was going through. Thankfully I have a core group of friends that I was able to share these feelings with and knew it was a "no judgment zone!" I needed that and I thank them for reading my weepy e-mails and listening to me cry over the phone! My husband has been super supportive, even though I think he feels going to formula would be easier, he understands this is important to me so he has worked really hard to support me.
So, there's my rant about breastfeeding. I'm going for it! It's not easy, and I'm not even sure at this point if I can tell you if it's worth it or not. But, it's what feels right for us right now ... who knows what tomorrow will bring! :)
Now some photos from the past few weeks!