My Breastfeeding “Choice”

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, I thought I’d share my own personal experience with choosing to breastfeed.

I had never given much thought to the breastfeeding/formula debate. I had so little exposure to feeding infants that I never even considered that I would have to make a decision. I remember even before I was pregnant with Keira a certain “lactivist” friend and I were discussing the choice and I lightly responded “oh, I’ll probably just do a mix of formula and breastmilk” as I considered the fact that I would be working during the day and not around to breastfeed.

However, as soon as I got pregnant, breastfeeding became a huge topic of conversation.

I remember receiving one of my first presents from my godmother, a fantastic lactation specialist. Inside the card she said “you are going to breastfeed, riiiiight?” I found it so odd. Why would she ask me something like that? Isn’t that what you just DO??? But sure enough, people at work began making comments; they were glad that the mother’s room would finally be getting some use. It just seemed the most accepted thing to do. In fact, I never considered my breasts would become a topic of conversation at work without dealing with a sexual harassment case.

Then, as I was preparing for Keira and mentioned to my mom I still had to buy a pump, she told me to hold off for a while. “Why?” I asked, hoping she was thinking of buying it for me.

“Cause you might not like it.” *blink blink* Now that was an idea I never considered…. She informed me that she had only gone through 12 weeks of breastfeeding with each of us. “But at least you guys got the good stuff, right?”

A few weeks later, Keira was born. As I was in the recovery room after my c-section, I tried to nurse her… But it wouldn’t work. I couldn’t figure it out laying down and she was starting to go out of her initial alertness. So, I settled for the next best thing: skin-to-skin contact. Even if the baby can’t nurse right away, my books all informed me, that skin-to-skin contact will make the baby more comfortable and the scent should lure the baby in later.

But for nearly 24 hours I tried over and over to try to get my baby girl to nurse. I remember trying to feed her and both of us just getting extremely frustrated. When she looked up at me with eyes that seemed to say “why won’t you feed me??”, I just broke down crying!!

Jason called my godmother to ask for advice as tears streamed down my face. And after that call, my godmother continued to send me encouraging texts “Don’t worry! Babies are hardwired to breastfeed!” I tried pumping when Keira wouldn’t latch and ended up feeding her with a syringe. But by day 2 (thank god!!) I finally had the hospital lactation specialist come by and teach us both how it was done. Finally! I never felt so relieved as that moment when I finally was able to feed my baby.

As the days went on, it got easier and easier. Keira and I found our groove. This week will mark 12 weeks that we’ve successfully breastfed – the exact time my mom stopped with me. And while those first days were difficult, I can’t imagine stopping now that it’s become so easy. I’m lucky to have such a supportive circle of friends and family (my godmother, my husband, my mother and tons of breastfeeding friends) who all helped me get to this point.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Heather
    Aug 05, 2010 @ 18:28:23

    I ❤ all your stories. They are very uplifting. Breastfeeding is a personal choice by far. On my end, I breastfed and coslept with Blade until he was two years old. Both were wonderful experiences for me, and ones that as long as Lilly is happy with I hope and pray I can repeat. I am so happy for you and your precious little lady. Congratulations, and there is nothing like being able to know that you are the one that gives your baby everything she needs, you give her life.


  2. A. A. Muffler
    Aug 06, 2010 @ 16:53:55

    I breastfed/pumped/mixed in formula for a year and yes, the learning curve is STEEP. Once you’re in the groove it’s fine. I remember one Sunday morning as a seasoned pro I latched my son on and as he lay happily feeding himself, I read the Sunday paper with both hands. Six months before that day, however, I was a bawling mess, stressed out of my mind – what kind of mother can’t feed her own baby? Um, a normal one going through the struggle so many others have before. It ain’t easy being a Mom, but the pay off is pretty decent. 🙂


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