There are a lot of women out there with strong feelings one way or another on breastfeeding. I'd like to think I am not one of those women. Honestly, I think other people's opinions and judgements about breastfeeding are better left unsaid, because more often than not, they end up stressing a new mom out more than actually helping!
I do, however, feel strongly that there doesn't have to be a right or wrong, all-or-nothing answer when it comes to feeding your newborn. The "right" answer is whatever works best for both you and baby... and the rest of the family... and maybe even your social life because, let's face it, an unhappy mom = unhappy household.
I am certainly not the most cuddly, sit-around-all-day-and-look-at-the-baby type moms.... but I do enjoy the special closeness that comes with nursing. The hubby and I tried to keep our lives as similar to pre-baby as possible when we had Connor, and with our second baby, things haven't been any different... and that makes nursing a pain (pun intended a little bit ;) Slipping off to a quiet room, alone, for 30 or more minutes, to nurse, isn't exactly my idea of a great time. Again, love the bonding with baby, but it sucks when you feel like you are missing out on other things because of it.
So am I nursing? Yes. Do I love it? Yes ... and No. Let me explain.
I would not trade the nursing experience for anything. The first time he latches, the little milk mustache, the bonding, the coy eye-contact while feeding, and the sense of providing for your own baby. Wow - that's cool. What else is cool? I love not having to wear a padded bra in order to have boobs right now ... plus I can still eat like I'm preggers because nursing burns so many calories. There are so many other benefits for you and baby - I think most of us are aware... these are just my personal faves!
HOWEVER (and this is important), breastfeeding is not like a lot of lactation-pushers would suggest. Does it hurt at first? Yes. Your nipples will feel as if you took a wad of sandpaper and went to town on them.... for a short time, that is. I honestly don't think anything can prepare you for that, but it does get better - quickly if the latch is correct. To be completely honest, for me, the pain of nursing is really a non-issue. Uh, I just gave birth. this is nothing!
Now for THE 2 BIGGIES!!
1.) Daddy (or other helpers you might have enlisted) CANNOT nurse for you. Nope, he can't. And, having him give a breast milk bottle once a night so you can sleep doesn't really work either because you still have to get up and pump. Bummer. By the second night home from the hospital, this reality sets in hard-core!
2.) No matter what any lactation-pusher tells you, it has been my experience, the experience of my friends, and confirmed by hospital nurses, that babies tend to go longer between feedings when they are on formula. Yes. That's right. 4 hours instead of 2 hours at night? That's a big freakin' deal!
Nursing? Easier? I wouldn't say easier. Cheaper - sure. Are there benefits - of course... but formula is also great... and not evil!
So here is what I have worked out that makes sense for me and our family. Feel free to steal this idea! In fact, I recommend it!
My little punkin' gets to nurse anytime between 7AM and 7 PM. Between 7 PM and 7 AM, he is hittin' the bottle. He gets anywhere from 2-4 bottles right now, which are half breast milk and half Enfamil Gentlease formula. That is just until his little system gets more developed and used to the formula, then it's going to be all formula at night and I'll use my stored-up pumped breast milk for day-time bottle feedings when I'm not home, etc...
Right now, I still pump a couple of times between the dinner time breastfeeding and going to bed ... that's just to keep up my supply, which is crucial when cutting out several feedings and supplementing with bottles/ formula. (Now, this is where I screwed up with my first son - you MUST keep pumping or feeding regularly in the beginning and not get lazy!!!) I think at about 6-8 weeks, my milk supply will be established enough where I'm not having to pump anymore unless I miss a day-time feeding. I also happen to enjoy the Mother's Milk tea, so I have a cup or two of that a day... not sure it helps, but I figure what the hell?
I'm certainly no expert, but I'm hoping that other moms out there who are looking for a little insight and support on breastfeeding and supplementing will find my experience helpful and comforting. It doesn't have to be all or nothing! It's whatever you want it to be! The more enjoyable and flexible nursing is for you, the longer you will keep it up! It's a win-win... Bonus!
Lot's more hot mommy topics coming soon! Thanks for stopping by!