National Breastfeeding Week was the first week of August. In honor of that, I thought I’d dedicate a blog to this important topic. I think we’ve all heard a lot about the benefits of breastfeeding and if you’d like more information, I’ve listed several references at the end for you to check out.
But before I get to that- I asked several moms why they chose to breastfeed, what benefits they saw from breastfeeding, what they enjoyed or didn’t enjoy about it, and what helped them succeed. You will see that although they each had different experiences with breastfeeding, they all stuck it out and were able to do it, despite the difficulties.
Sarah, Mom of a 4 month old boy: I love the one on one time spent with each other. It might sound weird but sometimes I feel like I need that time with him more than he needs me. I love breastfeeding!
Leah, Mom of 5: I have mixed emotions about breast feeding which stem from my past experiences with reoccurring breast infections. I just tend to be prone to them, with certain children more then others. So it’s a love/hate relationship. When I was able to breast feed and not get such adverse experiences I really loved it. To me it is a physical expression of a mothers bond to her child & also of a woman’s inherent & God given appointment of the care & nurturing of them. I guess I “successfully” breasted all of my children but it wasn’t until my 4th child that I was able to not have severe pain, chapping, cracking & bleeding for the first month or so. I attribute that to a very great lactation specialist who had a very brief but effective tips & tricks session. I was so incredibly grateful to have foregone some of the “after pains” that seemed to linger because of breast feeding.
Megan, Mom of a 2 year old girl: I thought breastfeeding was a good experience. I think it’s a great natural process and I loved bonding with my daughter. I also was most favorable to breast feeding because of the health benefits to both mother and child. However, when I went back to work part-time after 6 weeks and had to pump, I also saw the great bond my husband had by being able to feed our daughter and being responsible for that aspect, he had a huge process how he warmed the milk and I thought it was so cute. Overall, I think the health benefit is main the reason I did and will breastfeed in the future. I thought having the different nurses on staff while in the hospital give their opinion was helpful in how to hold and get a latch worked best for me.
Mary, Mom of 3: Breastfeeding my babies, especially my first was a very empowering experience. I was able to provide something for my baby that no one else could. It wasn’t an instant bond after delivery with my first baby and I know breastfeeding was what helped the connection most. Being a new mommy was frightening and I didn’t know how to do many things but the one thing that came natural for me was breastfeeding. I could do it as often as I felt necessary and it instantly soothed my baby. Someday when I look back, I know my fondest memories with my infants will be the quiet late night feedings with my baby snuggled up close.
Danielle, Mom of a 1 year old boy: I have absolutely loved my experience breastfeeding even though there have been some bumps in the road. While pregnant, there were so many things about labor and delivery that I was nervous about and never gave a second thought to breastfeeding, except that I was going to do it. I assumed that it would come easy because that is what our bodies are supposed to. However, I struggled the first three months; trying to get my supply right, multiple infections, bleeding, cracking, etc… Somedays it was so hard and painful, but it has been all worth it to experience that special bond it creates between me and my son. Seeing a lactation specialist really helped me in the beginning and making sure to always “mind my milk” (drinking enough water and eating enough calories throughout the day). I am grateful that I stuck with it; now I love breastfeeding!
Melissa, Mom of 4: I have had a few relatively small bumps in the road of breastfeeding, such as painful bleeding/cracking, low milk supply, plugged ducts, infections, pumping at work, etc. Through all of those experiences, nothing could deter me from breastfeeding. I loved the special time I had with each baby, even when it was tiring in the middle of the night. I loved that I could provide the perfect food, on demand, and at no cost. It’s a win for everyone. I did have to supplement at times with my second child due to a low milk supply, and that was really hard. I felt like I was failing him, that I was incompetent. I hated using formula, but he needed to eat, and I knew it was the next best thing. I totally understand that there are situations when you cannot breastfeed, and I don’t think any mom should feel like a failure for that. I will just say that each baby is different, and so each experience with breastfeeding is different. Each child latches on differently, and so my advice would be to seek the help offered by a lactation consultant either at the hospital or from a support group (like La Leche League). I felt silly, but they are qualified, passionate about what they do, and they want you to succeed. Breastfeeding is a beautiful way to connect with your child, to honor the female form and all the miraculous abilities it allows, and enjoy motherhood. I would encourage all mothers to give it their best shot, get help if needed, stick with it. If it doesn’t work out, give yourself a pat on the back for trying your best and leave the judgement behind.
These women are very wise and have dedicated the time and effort to providing their children with the best possible start through breastfeeding. I hope their perspectives have given any potential nursing moms the courage to breastfeed. Check out the resources below for more information on the benefits of breastfeeding, as well as where to get help if you have questions about or are struggling to breastfeed.
WIC Breastfeeding “Warmline”: 1-801-851-7312
Baby Your Baby: Lactation consultant- 1-800-826-9662
Pregnancy Risk Line: 1-800-525-3243
U of U Hospital Lactation Clinic: 1-801-581-2205