On Breastfeeding

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I am not currently nursing, but with the influx of babies into my friends’ lives, I thought I would put my two cents in… Breastfeeding is a choice I made with both my babies, and I did enjoy it (most of the time!)

One of the most recurring themes I have seen since becoming a mom, is that there will always be a different opinion.  Always.  One group says “nurse on demand” another says “feed every three hours”.  One side says it’s OK if your baby falls asleep in your arms, another suggests you lay them down awake always.  As soon as your belly pops out a little, well-meaning people will share all sorts of advice.  It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and wonder who is right.  In my experience, I usually fall somewhere between the two camps.  I have prayed about many mothering decisions and issues, and let God guide me through making choices about mothering and parenting.  So far, it’s working for me!  I find such peace in Isaiah 40:11,

“He will tend his flock like a shepherd;
he will gather the lambs in his arms;
he will carry them in his bosom,
and gently lead those that are with young.”

This has been so true in my mothering journey!  On a related  (to today’s post) note, the NAS version of the Bible states the same verse like this,

“Like a shepherd He will tend His flock,
In His arm He will gather the lambs
And carry them in His bosom;
He will gently lead the nursing ewes.”

I encourage you to hear/read all the information you can about mothering and parenting, but then spend good, quality time seeking the Lord to figure out how you should proceed– it may look different than the woman next door, and that’s OK!  Alright, onto breastfeeding–

It’s “natural”, but foreign at first– get help!

When Ladybug was born I felt so clueless about breastfeeding.  I read a lot about it, and attended a local breastfeeding class, but I still didn’t feel prepared!  Of course, it’s “natural”, but I had never done it before, and Ladybug had never done it before, so it didn’t just happen on its own!  Our hospital had a lactation consultant, and I had her attend a feeding to give me some tips and encouragement.

  • If your hospital has a consultant available, use her!  Even if you feel like things are going well, see her before you go home!
  • Ask some friends about their experience– look for ladies at church with young kids, or friends at work who just had babies.  Ask them if they’d mind a call when you’re home from the hospital and you’re having trouble with breastfeeding.
  • Look at the wealth of resources out there.  My favorite baby book of all-time is The Secrets of the Baby Whisperer by Tracey Hogg.  Again, it fit my mothering style (middle of the road), but there is so much out there about feeding your baby! {Breastfeeding.com, La Leche League}

Set realistic goals.

Personally I am not an extended breastfeeder.  (Again, middle of the road…) My goal with both of my babies was to breastfeed for six months.  The AAP recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life, so I guess that’s where I got my goal.  That goal kept me going.  In the beginning I had a lot of trouble on one side with Ladybug, and it was quite painful.  I told myself to give it eight weeks and then I would see where we were.  I really desired to make it six months, but telling myself that I only had to make it eight weeks, helped me see a “light” at the end of an ouchie tunnel.  By the time eight weeks rolled around, we were doing very well, and kept going.  I am happy to say I made it to six months of breastfeeding with both Ladybug and Stinkbug!

Don’t feel guilty about what you do.

One of the worst parts of motherhood is all the guilt surrounding every issue and every decision.  I stopped breastfeeding Ladybug at eight and a half months because I was pregnant again and just felt OK with stopping.  Ladybug was very good with bottles, and didn’t mind me weaning her a bit.  Stinkbug was a horrible nurser– constantly distracted and mad when I tried to make him slow down and eat, so I stopped at about seven months with him.  He liked bottles better at that point anyway since they allowed him to look around while he was eating.  Don’t feel guilty about weaning, or supplementing– do what’s best for you and your baby.

Prepare for success.

Get an adorable nursing cover.  Buy cute nursing tanks.  Have lanolin cream handy.  Get a Boppy.  Have a special spot to nurse all prepared with burp clothes, nursing pads, pillows, and the remote to the TV.  Try to see nursing for what it is– special time with your baby during the day.  Set yourself up to enjoy it and not dread it!  I love this mom’s list of breastfeeding advice: Leah’s Breastfeeding Advice.

The top picture is me and Ladybug, the bottom one is me and Stinkbug.

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Author: Sheila Stover

I'm a grace-loving, coffee-guzzling, overseas-living wife, mom, home school teacher and I process it all through writing when I can!

6 thoughts on “On Breastfeeding

  1. i reoccurring blocked ducts on my left… like daily… mastitis set in once already… HELP!

    • Ouch, Rebecca! I sometimes got into a very warm shower (with my back to the water) and massaged the clogged ducts. Don’t worry, it’s doesn’t last forever (at least mine didn’t!) It’s like your body figures out how much milk you’re using and adjusts and then you stop having all these clogging and engorgement issues! 😦 I feel like I’ve also heard warm compresses help. I hope it stops soon!

  2. Rebecca – I had them ALL the time with my 2nd son. Like Sheila said, warm shower, definitely. A lactaction consultant said to take a plastic comb and scrap it over soap (to make it glide easily) and run it over where the clogging is taking place (most of the time plugged ducts occur on the outsides – if this is your case, start under your arm w/ the comb and run it towards your nipple…Make sure to keep “lubing” it up w/ soap to make sure it glides easily).

  3. nursing is such a very hard job

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