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March 21, 2013

Breast is Best...Until It Isn't (A Guest Post)

I'm a bit pleased that I can interrupt this grief-fest with a reprieve from sorrowful meditations to present to you a post on motherhood, Mommy Wars, Breastfeeding, Formula feeding, whatever label you'd like to put on it.  I have some thoughts swirling for a post on grieving during Lent, some more reflection on the Sacraments through loss, and a painful realization that losing my baby may have been the very thing -- perhaps the only thing -- that was going to lead me to Heaven.  But, those are quite a bit heavy for this Thursday and I was surprised that I embraced the opportunity to write this post at this time.

Today, I would like to direct you to my dear friend, Sarah's blog, Fumbling Toward Grace, where I have written a guest post!  Sarah is running a series on Mommy Wars.  I have been so pleased thus far with the contributions she has had and am honored to be a part of it, too.  Communication in this area of the so-called Mommy Wars is sorely needed, unfortunately, because many times we get sucked into our judgments before we even know we have them! And then, we perpetuate them out of a misguided sense of pride.  I congratulate Sarah and all the other women contributing to an end of the Mommy Wars.  Being a Mommy is hard enough without all the extra baggage we heap on each other!!

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As I prepared for the birth of my first child, everyone asked me if I was going to nurse. “Of course,” I would say.

Along with completing the hospital’s birth preparation classes, I signed up for the breastfeeding class, too. From what I remember of that breastfeeding preparation class, I received a few booklets, they discussed different position holds for nursing, and told us all, “And don’t even let formula into your house – it gives you an out.” I left the class thinking, “Yeah, I got this.” Because the class told all of us that breastfeeding was NATURAL, it was the HEALTHY way, our babies would be getting the BEST START! The judgments started there, now that I look back on it.

Fast forward to my first three weeks with my first-born child, and I was a wreck. Breastfeeding felt anything but natural, and healthy or best start be damned, my child was starving and fussy and the only way she was getting anything was from a bottle anyway. The first night at home, my baby girl didn’t get anything to eat. My breasts were engorged and she sometimes seemed to latch on, but my let-down was slow and she was impatient. I couldn’t relax because I was sleep-deprived and had no idea what it meant to have a slow let-down. I was pumping all day and we were giving her breast milk via a bottle. Supply wasn’t my issue this time around, thank goodness, but my emotional state could not handle this continued pumping-only breastfeeding relationship. And it killed me, emotionally speaking, that my baby wouldn’t nurse at the breast. What was the point of this nursing thing, if not to get the bonding that they all said was so important?

As we transitioned to formula...READ MORE


 

1 comment:

  1. Really appreciated your Guest Post! Great Job... I too, was a wreck after my 1st child and breastfeeding had gone awry. The main reason I was so hell bent on doing it, was because my mother was a labor and delivery nurse, and a lactation consultant. She died early of breast cancer at 47, and I had never really mourned her death properly and it hit long and hard after the birth of my 1st daughter. My desires to breastfeed were my way of "connecting" to her... and nobody really understood that, but it was a completely personal thing. In the end, we ended up going to formula anyway, and eventually I got over it and it really was no big deal. (But at the time it was a major tragedy.) You are right, everyone does what works for them, and we need to stop judging because we all do the best we can. Yes, I have had elective C-Sections and I work outside the home, etc. and I send my kids to public school too. (I have felt some judgement for this from other Catholic mothers. What has hurt the most is when someone does not want their children to associate with mine, perhaps because they homeschool and I do not.) If nursing is a joy, than do it and God Bless it... if it causes pain or suffering, then we are blessed to have a formula alternative and it should not be a big deal. Your posts are a breath of fresh air!

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Thank you for reading. I enjoy reading other perspectives, please feel free to share yours. :)