Some days, this is how I feel about breastfeeding. There are plenty of days when both of my nurslings need me so much that I am barely able to stay sane. If I have to stop and go to the bathroom, watch out! Kids are screaming, and hitting, and throwing everything in sight. Usually I can handle one of them having a hard day, but not both. During those extremely trying times I look like this all day.
There is so much pressure surrounding breastfeeding. Pressure to do it right, to do it on demand, to be graceful, to be discreet, to be loving, to love IT, and on and on. There is so much baggage around it, that even the slightest dissonance on anything related to breastfeeding can throw the whole thing off the rails. I don't always love breastfeeding. A lot of the time I don't want to do it at all. But in my time nursing, I've learned to do two things:
1) When I'm really hating it, I remind myself that this shall pass. Kids grow and change so quickly. What is a nuisance today will transform into a new skill tomorrow. My feelings shall also pass.
2) I forgive myself.
Not all of us long time breastfeeders had it easy. In the beginning, breastfeeding was hard. It felt like my nipples were being sucked off of my body. When we get hurt, we know exactly where the pain is. If someone pinches us, we can touch the troubled spot without having to see it. But the nipple pain was nothing like that. It was nowhere and it was everywhere. Each time I carefully latched him on. My fingers felt all around his mouth to make sure everything was where it should be. His latch was fine. Not too shallow, not off center. But the pain was still there. After each nursing session my nipples were smashed, cracked, and often times bleeding.
I did everything I could think of to stop the pain. Relatched a hundred times. Tried every nursing position on the internet. Held his mouth open wider as he latched (this probably made things worse, hindsight is 20/20). Nipple shields. They lessened the pain somewhat, but using the shield I could see the bloody milk that Chase was drinking. Some blood mixed in with breast milk is fine. But seeing it like that, it pushed me over the edge. There I was sitting against the wall on the bed, bloody nipple shield hanging off one boob, a pack of frozen peas pressed against the other balling my eyes out.
I'm gritting my teeth just thinking about it now, years later. That time was so frustrating! The pain was always there no matter what I or Chase did. The first 10 weeks of Chase's life he spent listening to me scream and curse when he nursed. Daddy's nerves must have been shot. He had to watch me writhe in pain all the time. No amount of cuddling, holding, rocking, singing, would calm Chase down. He wanted to be latched on 24/7. Thankfully, one day, the pain went away. I never figured out what was wrong. But my best guess? Inverted nipples. He really was sucking my nipples out. Heh.
Some things are worth fighting for. Worth digging in. Breastfeeding is one of those things. Each of our paths to Breastfeeding Mastery will be different (fantastic book for developing any skill beyond basic competency). But we will all have hurdles we need to overcome. It's important to know that you can overcome them. Like I have. Like so many other mom's have. If you're in a tough spot, buckle down and dig in! Read some breastfeeding books. Find support groups. Take care of yourself (drink lots of water, eat healthy nourishing foods). Approach the problem with the mindset that you will succeed. And keep in mind the solution may be time and practice.
Just got an email..
Wooo hooo! Right in time for world breast feeding week! That means I'll be doing a lot more of this
Any nursing mothers out there want to join me? :)
Balancing me time and everything else can be really hard. Not because I take too much me time. Quite the opposite. So many days I'm crabby because I don't take enough me time when I should.
But sometimes I can work in a little me time and still entertain Desmond. It's amazing how useful breastfeeding is!
Even after 3 and a half years of nursing I still have to remind myself.. Love your boobs. And if you don't, take comfort in knowing they will change. Again. And again. Wake up with voluptuous Ds; go to sleep with modest Bs. Growth spurt time? You may hit letters you never knew existed!
But don't feel self conscious about your changing boobs. Men love them. They do. My husband said the other day
Ha! It is important for us to love our bodies. Parenting demands so much of us that we can forget about checking in with ourselves. Self love and confidence are incredibly important. So the next time your boobs are lopsided, laugh it off. They'll be totally different in no time!
I post a lot of breastfeeding pictures of us around the house. Mainly in bed (cause that's the most comfortable spot all of us jumbled together). This is mostly Daddy's fault. It's a little harder to bring the camera along when we're out and about. But I assure you, we breastfeed all the time, practically everywhere we go!
Like the park...
And the pool...
Chase is a calm nursling. He always prefers to be in a more cradled and relaxed position. Desmond, however, loves to be kicking, moving, climbing, rolling... the more he's able to exert energy while nursing, the more happy he is. Here, here is doing the signature Desmond nursing pushup.
The hot tub is getting too hot now that summer is here. But on those overcast days when we're all needing a little extra something to help us relax, we crawl into that hot water and have some milk while we're at it.
If only there was a way I could recline.. then it'd be heaven. But as it is, its pretty darn good :)
Without fail, every time I nurse in public I hear this voice in my head.
So I check myself. Am I exposing too much? I check again. I tuck in here, adjust there. Then I regain my confidence and the other voice pipes up.
And it's true. Look at this:
All nurslings develop undesirable nursing habits at one time or another. Depending on the Mother+Baby pair, these habits can be anywhere from amusing to unbearable. Desmond has this urge to hit me while he nurses. Why would you hit the very person that is feeding you is beyond me, but he does it. And hard!
If I don't watch out, he'll get me right on my face. It's not fun at all. Especially in the middle of the night when he starts smacking my chest. Unbearable. So what do I do about it?
1) When he hits me really hard, I pop him off.
2) Tell him seriously (and calmly) that he's not going to nurse if he keeps hitting me.