I never decided to breastfeed, I just did. It never occured to me that there was another option or that so many people choose another option. I am constantly amazed by the strength and complexity of the human body, every cell has a purpose. I am made to reproduce and I am capable of sustaining that life in-utero and beyond. It is a wonderful and neccessary part of a child’s (and mother’s) life.
My first daughter was a breeze, I think she just taught me! It really seemed so natural to give birth and put her right to my breast. Although it came easy, I did seek reassurance from the local breast feeding clinic which was great for weigh-ins and support. Even if you know everything is good, it’s nice to hear someone tell you what a good job you’re doing and how cute your baby is!
The reassurance I received from the nursing clinic was paramount. My second child was hellish, although I had a 17-month old running around so that didn’t help. I found it harder but once we sorted out the issues, mine and his, got over some nasty mastitis, I couldn’t get him off. He was the longest to nurse out of 4 kids. All of the others were really good, aside from the initial sore nipples, I have no complaints about nursing.
My father passed away earlier in the year, and I had to be many places where i couldnt take a small baby, even before he died I couldnt take Angus with me to the hospital because of the possibility that he may contract any number of illnesses. At one point I literally had to leave him with a friend and a bottle, all I could tell her was good luck. I felt awful for both of them! After all of this, he turned easily to the bottle and has weaned away from the breast maybe 50/50 at 10months.
I think the older generation assumes that we should be more modest. my mother-in-law always asks me if i would be more comfortable in another room (it’s really funny). They forget that we are bombarded with body images, it doesnt bother me at all to nurse in front of other people….but it may bother them.
I returned to work after my first child when she was 4months. This was hard. I was often pumping in my car, or late at night which led to earlier weaning then I would have liked. I also was pregnant by the time she was 9 months and became very ill with the second pregnancy. I have not returned to work on a full-time basis since then and have had 2 more children (4 total). Staying at home with 4 under 5 is difficult, and nursing is often done at strange times and even stranger positions but I feel that it is worth it and can be done.
If you are lucky enough to have the full year off, that is a great start and anyone should be proud that they could nurse for that amount of time, or longer. My babies have all been sleepy eaters, except #4. He likes to pull off the breast and smack his lips at me….lucky, he’s cute. My older 2 are very well informed and have alot of breastfeeding moms around them, we don’t mince words they know where babies come from how they are fed, so it is all very common-place for them. My 2 year-old often tries to get in on the action for the attention and cuddling part but hasn’t nursed since 13 months so doesnt really know what to do! the baby is very attached and is often pulling and tugging at my clothes, he has a low pitched hum that tells me he’s ready to eat!
I didn’t really have any personal expectations, I really just see the physiolgy of the experience at a greater level. My baby needs to eat, plus develop a healthy system by suckling often, and be nurtured. My body needs to preform it’s natural function in order to process an array of post-partum hormones. So, you really need each other in order to succeed.
I would really encourage new moms to do what feels “right” and put forth the effort it takes in the first few months (it really is work) but it gets to be so easy, it’s unfortunate that so many moms throw in the towel before they get there.