Saturday, January 21, 2012

My Breastfeeding Journey

I keep promising myself I'll do a better job keeping up with this blog, but then I get carried away with life, and before I realize it weeks or even months have passed.

About this time four years ago I was quickly approaching my due date with my first child. I had researched and studied, and was eagerly anticipating a completely unmedicated, natural birth. And I had resigned myself to breastfeeding. Resigned? Yes, resigned. I knew that breastfeeding was the best thing for my child, and I was all about doing what was natural and best for my baby. God had desinged our bodies for child birth and for nurturing them afterwards. Not to mention there was no way on earth we could possibly afford formula. But these were my reasons for breastfeeding. In my mind breastfeeding seemed gross to me. The thought of exposing myself--even if it were just around myself--and then putting a mouth up to my breast and having that baby sucking off of me just seemed...perverted, somehow in my mind.

However, the moment my daughter was born, before the cord had even been clamped, I asked, "When can I nurse her?" In that moment of childbirth, during that beautiful transition into the real world of motherhood, all of my prior notions and discomforts vanished. My God-given maternal instinct took over and my greatest desire was to nurture my baby.

From the moment of her first latch--and that beautiful bond formed between mother and baby--I have been a major advocate of breastfeeding. I look back on my earlier thoughts and laugh at myself. I nursed that babe until she weened herself just after 18 months. Six weeks later her baby sister was born, and I nursed her for nearly two years until she weaned herself shortly before her baby brother. Now my youngest girl still asks to nurse, and though I would love to tandem nurse her, and had planned to, I just don't have the energy to. I have allowed her to nurse a few times, and it was a sweet time for us. Telling her no has brought me to tears, but trying to nurse two was very draining. But we'd have to double our grocery budget for me to eat enough to keep up with nursing two!

I love breastfeeding! I love the sweet moments of being one-on-one with my baby. I love the bond that is formed as a result of that time. I love the continuation of the nurturing that I provided for that sweet babe in the womb. I love knowing that I am helping my baby develop a healthy and strong immune system. I enjoy hearing comments like, "What are feeding that baby?" And I take pride in knowing that my baby is healthy and growing well as a result of my decision to breastfeed.

Now I want to pursue, along with a doula certification, becoming a lactation consultant and volunteering time to help other women understand the benefits of breastfeeding and to help them be successful. A far cry from resigning myself to the task!

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