In case you haven’t heard, this is World Breastfeeding Week. While I may not have small ones that are interested in breastfeeding anymore, I DID breastfeed all 3 of my kiddos. I wanted to take a minute during this week and share my experience and why I chose to breastfeed.
Personally, I never felt there was any option other than to breastfeed. So, when I found out I was pregnant with A, I started researching everything I could concerning breastfeeding. If you’re wondering how I researched this subject, I ask most of the women in my family how they did it. I’m the oldest of my generation in my family. We (for the most part) are a very close family. Growing up, it was just what my Aunts did. They nursed the babies, weaned them and carried on through life. They did this while holding down jobs, going for their degree or taking care of their other kids. I had good examples, I was blessed!
I also researched La Leche League. While I never joined, I did attend a meeting and bought their book The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. LLL and the book were both terrific resources and have helped women for years! My Mom was a member! The book, fantastic. It actually was the source I refered to when I got mastitis (yes, I DID get it, yes, it was painful. No, I did not stop nursing. Actually, nursing made it feel better!).
During the last few weeks of my first pregnancy, I attended a breastfeeding class at the hospital and met with a lactation consultant. Any lingering thoughts or reservations about it quickly flew out the window after this. I had my mind-set. I would breastfeed and I would succeed.
Now, you may be asking how did it go? Well, like anything else, there is a learning curve. Cooperative babies also help. A supportive and helpful husband is the BEST THING EVER! Hubs would bring me the baby. He would change them after the feeding. He would rock them and soothe them so I could get a minutes rest. He would make sure I had enough to drink and eat and get up in the middle of the night to help (which especially helped when the two little ones came along). I can’t stress enough the value of a good support system!
I nursed A for 8 months, Ren for 6 and CS for 13ish (I lost track with her). The weaning process for A and Ren was doctor ordered. For me to carry a pregnancy to term, I needed to take a baby aspirin. With the slight chance of Reyes’ Syndrome, I had to choose between continued nursing or possible miscarriage. Guess which won? If I could have continued nursing, I would have. Trust me, it was hard on me to stop. By stop, I mean cold turkey no more nursing at all, stop. Thank goodness for frozen breast milk!! That carried us through the “weaning” process with both A and Ren.
Personally, I feel I gave each of them a wonderful start in life with breastfeeding. I loved it! I loved the time I would spend holding each of them, rocking in the chair. I would gaze at them, their little eyes closing and think, “does it get any better than this?”. I loved everything I was providing them. I truly enjoyed the uninterrupted time I got to spend with each one of them, just getting to know them as small people.
Now, for as much as I enjoyed it, I know some people can’t breastfeed and I also know some choose not to. That’s okay with me. I will always respect a Mom’s decision. For me, hubs and our kids, breastfeeding was the best choice. I support it, I encourage it and love to hear about success stories!