Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Why I Breastfeed

As I write this, I do so while nursing my soon-to-be 3 month old boy (turning 3 months on mother's day, actually!):

I am happy and grateful to be exclusively breastfeeding and also to be a stay-at-home-mom. Prior to even being preggo, I already had my heart and will set on breastfeeding. This is mostly because I wasn't really breastfed past the colostrum stage: my mom said that back then in the 1980's, she was stressed and didn't get much support, so I inevitably was formula-fed. She even struggled to hand-pump, and when my dad was wondering "how hard could it be?" then tried it himself...! Well, that ended then and there. Now my parents did their best, but I feel that had I been breastfed, I would:
-not have been as sickly
-bounced back from illness faster
-not have really had allergy issues
-would not have had weight issues as much

This is versus my husband who was breastfed and when there are seasonal allergies, his go away when he removes himself from the environment within minutes, whereas mine becomes a full-blown cold.

So basically I told myself that if I were to have a child, I would do things differently. So when I got pregnant, aside from wanting a home birth, I also wanted to exclusively breastfeed (don't even mention formula-supplementing to me!). I was nervous/scared because of my mom's struggles, so beforehand, I bought mother's milk tea, fenugreek, shatavari and blessed milk thistle capsules, as well as lactation cookies. I was told most women can breastfeed, especially with support, which i thankfully had in spades, but i was nervous anyway. Well when my son was born, he had a hard time latching, so we hired a lactation specialist to come over the next day which was also Valentine's Day. We also hired a postpartum doula to help us as a family.

We've had some other struggles, too: at around 3 weeks, we got thrush on one side, but it wasn't noticeably so, just the pain indicated it. Along with that came engorgement so I used a breast-pump for the first time to get the milk out and ensure that side wouldn't lose its supply. My son wasn't happy just nursing on one side instead of the previous two, and I was exasperated/frustrated too! Then 2 weeks later I got a bleb or milk blister on the other side. But we successfully got through these, phew! I took lots of probiotics, grapefruit seed oil, and eliminated dairy, then used gentian violet on us both. As for the bleb, I took sunflower lecithin and evening primrose oil, and continue to do so, as it they help a lot to get the milk "unstuck" and flowing, which is what we want.

We are still nursing, and I am glad. I haven't introduced the bottle to him yet to prevent nipple confusion, but we'll get there, especially for travel purposes! I also take all sorts of healthy food to fuel us both, and hope that he will favor these tastes and foods over unhealthy ones in the future.

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