04 August 2011

No Going Back: When I Made the Decision to Breastfeed

I was never around breastfeeding women when I was growing up. I never saw it that I remember. The only experience with breastfeeding that I do remember from my childhood was at a public pool for some sort of gathering, it may have been my dad's office party or a church things, who knows?

I was about 8 and was loving playing with my mom's friend's baby. Then she said that she had to take the baby to the dressing room and feed her. I asked "Can I help?" My mom and the lady both looked a little embarrassed and my mom said, "No, she nurses." I asked again, "Can I help?" My mom, "No" and maybe something about only mommy's can nurse and I should have known that.
My newborn doll and Aedyn at 8 weeks

I just remember that I'd never heard the term "nursing" before in that context; and I felt ashamed that I didn't know what it meant. I find it interesting that although I fed my dolls from bottles, I don't remember ever thinking that it was normal. I also remember hiding in my room and breastfeeding them.

Whatever my early childhood involved about breastfeeding I just always thought that it was normal, and I knew that it's what I would do. I wish I could tell you what made me decide to breastfeed, most moms have a reason. But mine is - it's just what you do. (Maybe it's hand in hand with the naivete that had me wondering why my OB would "Do the best he could so I could try another vaginal birth." When I said "There's always next time." while being whisked away for an Emergency C-sec. In my mind, Why would a C-sec preclude me from a vaginal birth the next time? But that's another story.)

But my expectations were tested early. When I was eighteen and completely uncomfortable in my size 30H bra I went in for my first complete physical. Yay, fun...(don't allow the sarcasm to drip off the edge of the screen and soak you...) I was given the option to start the process for a breast reduction. I wanted that reduction so bad! But because they would have to take so much tissue, no one could promise me more than a 50/50 shot at ever being able to breastfeed. There was no more discussion.

And with that, my decision was final. Besides all the reasons that I think are great for breastfeeding, besides the fact that I've never felt right about putting a bottle in my baby's mouth, I made a choice not to take an opportunity to get a reduction that would have been fully covered by insurance. That was it. I was going to breastfeed or die. And I did. Breastfeed, I mean...obviously I'm still here...

Now I look at myself in the mirror, so glad I made the decision that I made. Nothing beats the feeling of feeding your child from your own body. But I look, and I think, 2 more babies, then we're done. Only maybe 8 more years, then I can get rid of these, then I can look normal. But I will have breastfed, and I am proud that I waited. (And then I think, will we really be done at 2 more? What if we adopt a baby and I want to nurse him/her *sigh*)

I love hearing how and when women decided to nurse. What's your story?

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  1. I personally felt it was just the right thing to do for my children and I just felt it was my job as a mother to provide nourishing milk for my children.  Working full-time resulted in more expressed milk than nursings and I wish it didn't have to be that way, but I was determined. I got walked in on a few times in the supply room while pumping for my first, withstood pain from thrush as I continued to pump with my 2nd (thrush I believe resulting from the antibiotics from the c-section) and then with the third I had my pumping and nursing down to a "T" and didn't want to stop, but demands at work and home became too much and I am no longer nursing or pumping.  It's always so sad for me when I no longer nurse.  However, I am just greatful that with all 3 kids I made it to at least 8 months  (exclusively breastfeeding/pumping) with each of them.   

  2.  As far as growing up, I was not breastfed and only knew a little bit about it.  My sister in law nursed and was my biggest support person with my breastfeeding endevours as I had my first child.

  3. That's awesome that you made it to 8 months with all of them, especially with all the obstacles. I'm so glad that you were able to have that support from your SIL!


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