Before I ever became pregnant, I knew I wanted to breastfeed. I was aware of the benefits of breastfed children and primarily wanted to breastfeed for two reasons – (1.) For that extra special bond with my baby and (2.) My immune system is a little lackluster, so I wanted to give my child milk that promotes healthy gut flora growth, bacteria that aid in nutrient absorptions and immune system development.
Knowing this, I also knew that breastfeeding meant at least a 12 month commitment of my boobs (when I make commitments, I make them for the long haul. If I can go 6 months, I can go 12 months, you know?). This meant that for at least a year, my boobs would be solely for the purpose of milk production and nutrition, not “fun bags.”
The man I married of course has the same values as me, but I must admit I was nervous to have the conversation knowing that he would have to relinquish his claim to my tatas for a good year. After all, men are men and boobs are just oh-so-exciting.
When I first broached the topic, his reaction was about what I expected. He asked me why I wanted to breastfeed. This didn’t surprise me. He’s not a “yes dear” man and I love that about him. He always wants to talk through the reasoning behind our decisions, especially the super important life decisions. After explaining to him the benefits of breastfeeding, he wholeheartedly agreed that that was the right choice for our child. (But I’d be lying if I said he wasn’t slightly disappointed he had to give up time with “the girls” for a year).
In fact, now knowing all the benefits of breastfeeding, he’s a full-on advocate of breastfeeding. Anytime someone questions whether or not they will breastfeed, he’s always giving his two cents about the importance of breast milk. “It’s what God made them for,” he says. He makes me so proud!
So when Bear was born, we were ready. She and I did skin-to-skin when she was first born and I thought, ok, go ahead and eat now. Well, go figure, that’s now how it goes.
I didn’t have the easiest time breastfeeding. Some people refer to it as a “dance.” We’ll, we just couldn’t dance. There was a lot of stepping on each others toes. Neither of us had a clue what we were doing. So rather than just give up and feed her formula, I worked at it. I worked really, really hard at it.
It took one full month of lactation support groups, nipple shields, and a lot of crying before we finally got our groove. Dennis was my rock and my biggest supporter during this extremely difficult time.
The lactation consultant suggested a few things to help my daughter latch. First, a nipple shield. Turned out I wasn’t as well equip in the beginning as I needed to be. So after I fed her, I also pumped to help “train” my equipment.
Next, a syringe with expressed milk. Bear wanted instant gratification (hmm, I wonder where she gets that from? Maybe her mother?). Since she didn’t quite know how to latch and suck, she was getting frustrated, making me frustrated, making me tense up, lowering my ability to produce. By using a syringe, it gave her the instant gratification she needed.
I couldn’t use all of these tools on my own. You should’ve seen me in the early days of BFing. I had to gather all of my tools, grab the Boppy and a burp cloth, and situate myself on the couch or rocker before I could even attempt to breastfeed. This was fully understood by a one-week old hungry baby. She was born with patience and knew mommy needed to get the food ready. (Sarcasm. She screamed and cried demanding her milk!)
Dennis would always assist me with this process. ALWAYS. (Honey, here’s the credit!) He would load up the syringe and squirt it while I would finagle my boob + shield in her mouth (again, another mental picture you probably could have lived without). After one month (yes, a FULL month) of this, we were finally about to lose the syringe. About a week later, we could dance without the shield as well.
Today, at 6 months old, we can waltz, rumba, jive, even do the Charleston. I owe a lot of it to my amazing, supportive husband.
About the #BFBlogHop
The Breastfeeding Blog Hop was started by Jen at Life with Levi to bring support, encouragement and information about breastfeeding to moms through a once a week linky on various breastfeeding topics. You can find all kinds of wonderful posts linked up in the archives there! The Breastfeeding Blog Hop was also hosted by Erin at The Slacker Mom, and you can find several months of Hop topics and posts linked up in her archives. For the rest of the 2012 archives, hosted at Sisters ‘N Cloth, go here.