long before pregnancy or baby i was creeped out by breastfeeding. it seemed... gross. and seeing ladies out in public breastfeeding (without a cover) made me uncomfortable. oh how the tables have turned. after deciding on the whole natural childbirth approach i just figured breastfeeding might as well go along with that. i'd give it a try. plus, it's free! score! so if it worked out so much the better. and if it didn't- eh ok. it still seemed...weird. but i was ready to give it a try. and when jude finally came we got him to breastfeed right away. and wouldn't you know it he had a champion latch right away and barely lost any weight in the hospital. so off we went.
we are nursing on demand which for jude is about every 2 hours. sometimes i wish it was more like every 3 hours, but that's just how it is, damned growing baby. and he eats about 10 times a day, for at least half an hour, which means i spend about 6 hours a day breastfeeding. yeah. 6 HOURS A DAY. it is time consuming, i'll admit that. plus in addition i pump two times a day. i freeze the milk one time and one time a day he gets a bottle (which he doesn't really like) to practice for the babysitter.
as smoothly as my pregnancy went so has gone the breastfeeding. he loves to eat and there seems to be plenty to go around. at his one month pediatrician appointment he weighed 11lbs, which is more than 2.5 pounds more than his birth weight (8lbs 6 oz)! ridiculous growing baby! and i was prepared for it to be excruciatingly painful since that's what everyone on the internet warned me about. but to be honest? it never really hurt. at all. he just had a good latch from the start. the only real problem we sometimes have is that he will let go in the middle of letdown, especially on the right side, and it will spray EVERYWHERE. all over his face, which makes him laugh, all over me, and the boppy, and anything else within a 2 foot range which one time included jon's face. heh.
and yes, i know how lucky we are. i know how many women struggle with breastfeeding, with poorly latching babies, undersupply, oversupply, mastitis, and on and on and on. what can i say? we just lucked out this time. so far so good.
i've learned to be prepared before a nursing session. i get the boppy, a burp cloth, some water, the remote, a blanket- whatever i'm going to need for the next half hour or longer, especially longer if he falls asleep on the boppy and i don't feel like waking him- but i read about that beforehand. something i was totally unprepared for? what happens if you have to use the bathroom when you're feeding: do you -can you- hold it? do you stop and put the super pissed baby down? do you keep feeding and carry them in there with you, which seems sort of unsanitary? dilemmas i wasn't ready for until i was in that unfortunate situation in the middle of the night, that's for sure. so come on my internet ladies, we need a discussion on breastfeeding/bathroom protocols. that one caught me off guard. i also had no idea it would hurt to miss a feeding, or have a late feeding, or god in the morning when i wake up- eeeeeeeeeyow. it's a 24 hour job and your body won't let you forget it. i had to come back to this part and add one more thing i was unprepared for: the leaking. everywhere. leaking. of all the bad parts about this that is the one i hate most. not being able to just sleep in a comfy tshirt because you'll wake up in giant sticky puddles. grrrrr.
i'm glad to report that it doesn't feel gross or weird at all. and i was worried about what jon would think about it. but i think it has been pretty cool for both of us to see how amazing nature is. baby is hungry, boobs make food. baby is hungry again? boobs make more food. baby cries? boobs make food. our bodies are pretty amazing. but it does take a little getting used to, to be a living food. i'm allowed to drink in moderation but it still feels awkward so i don't do it much.
breastfeeding in public? i've done it a fair number of times so far, thanks to our sling. in the sling you can't even tell what's going on. it is so awesome! i am not one of those ladies who feels comfortable just whipping it out in public to feed- though more power to them. i just can't do it. it's intimidating to know that there are people out there who will go out of their way to shame a breastfeeding mother. i definitely feel more comfortable when jon is there to have my back. i've read so many horror stories about women breastfeeding being asked to leave, or stop, or go to the bathroom. it's ridiculous. it's a baby eating. our culture has so overly sexualized women's breasts that people forget that this is what they are actually meant for. growing our healthy babies. i don't think anything i could ever write would explain it more eloquently than Her Bad Mother's post here. she makes me want to run out and breastfeed everyplace, with no shame.
i've written about how i'm not very gushy mushy. i didn't cry when jude was born. i was happy but not particularly emotional. but breastfeeding- cuddling your baby close and nourishing him with your body- when he nurses and smiles up at me- that i get the fuzzy wuzzys about. it feels good to provide so much comfort and be so needed by somebody else. it feels womanly, motherly.
i am loving breastfeeding, who would have ever guessed?? i may be a lactation activist after all.