Thursday, July 26, 2007

Mission: Mommy Milk

When I decided to breastfeed, I went into it with an open mind, saying that I would give it a fair shot and if it didn't work out, then I wouldn't beat myself up for having to switch to formula. In reality, it doesn't quite work that way, and there's a lot of guilt associated with even thinking about having to switch to formula, let alone actually doing it. We struggled with nursing in the first week--more than I let on here--because it was very painful as we were both learning what to do and how to do it correctly and efficiently. I would scream and cry in pain each time she latched on, only to have to break her latch with a quick, sharp head pull that made it feel like I had razor blades inside my nipples. Add to that her desire to feed every hour or two in the beginning, and it was not a scene I would like to repeat anytime soon. I am, however, stubborn, so I kept up with it because I didn't want to see myself as a "failure" even though I rationally knew that wouldn't have been the case.

In order to get through that time, I set a series of breastfeeding goals for myself. In the beginning, just nursing for one more day was a feat worthy of celebration. I made myself look no further in time than that current day. I kept reminding myself that each additional day I could offer my milk was better than not having that day. Once we got better at it and the pain went away, I started looking at a little more long-term goals. My first goal was to nurse for the three months I was home on maternity leave. Check. My next goal to was continue for three more months until Baby B was six months old. As of tomorrow, I will have completed that goal, as well, and I'm very proud of myself for that, as it is not an easy task to complete, especially with working full time.

So, as long as my supply cooperates, my next and ultimate goal is to continue nursing for the first full year. I can tell my supply has dropped since I started working--I now get about half of what I used to pump during the day--but I have a very good freezer stash, so I think even if my milk dried up completely today, I'd still be set for most of the next six months. I am thankful each day I was able to persevere through the beginning difficulties and have stuck with this. I like nursing more than I imagined I would, and part of me really dreads the time I'll have to wean. (I know I could nurse beyond a year, as many moms do, but for a variety of reasons, I don't think I want to do that. I officially reserve the right to change my mind about that at any given time.)


At July 27, 2007 10:35 PM, Blogger Bethany said...

Congratulations on making it to 6 months! I can't believe I'm almost there myself! I think we should both be very proud of ourselves for doing such a good thing for our babies. It makes me sad to think that we are in such a minority because I have really enjoyed my breastfeeding experience thus far (well minus the initial discomfort and troubles that I think everyone has)!


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