Tuesday, April 16, 2013

What Was Your Breastfeeding Experience?

An article on MomDot* got me thinking about my experiences as a breastfeeding stay-at-home mom.  It was very tiring and time consuming but there was something rewarding to know that for the first 8 months of their lives my babies were still all me.  They fed from me in the womb and then continued until we introduced baby foods and cereals.  The bond I felt with them made me feel needed and important at a time when I could have given in to extreme depression.  When Cookie weaned herself at 15 months I felt despondent.   It wasn't until then that postpartum depression clocked me in between the eyes.

There were days that I wish pumping would have worked for me so that hubby could have done a few nighttime feedings.  I breastfed Cookie to 15 months and Bonbon to 19 months.  Being a full time stay-at-home mom I had the luxury of being exhausted at home where I could be close to my bed and take a nap when I needed it.  I tried the pumping with a hand pump and it was difficult, almost impossible.  Though most days I was engorged and ready to burst my breasts were like a stubborn child holding their mouth solidly shut.  Once the baby latched on both of us ended up satisfied - full bellies and empty breasts.

I remember when my youngest, Bonbon, was born the doctors were worried she wasn't getting enough to eat because mild jaundice was making her lethargic and uninterested in eating.  We spent the next few days at my in-laws with Bonbon stripped down to her diaper on my lap in full sun of the south facing window and feeding her every hour on the hour.  When we went back for her check up a few days later she had gained 4 oz. and the breast feeding nurse/coach said she was doing fabulous.

1) Cookie newborn 2) What was left of my car after the accident with a telephone pole.  Can you believe my husband came out of there in one piece?  Thank goodness for baby car seats - Cookie's saved her life.  3) Bonbon newborn

I can count on one hand the number of times my girls had formula.  The first time my oldest had formula was
when she was six weeks old and I was strapped to a gurney in the emergency room.  A car accident that sidelined my husband for 8 weeks (4 broken ribs, broken hip, clavicle and cracked sternum) prevented me from feeding Cookie that night.  She was extremely upset and the nurses refused to let me sit up to nurse her since I hadn't been sent into the CT scan to check for internal injuries yet.  The one time  I tried to give Bonbon formula she threw up all over me.

So for 5 years I didn't have a day to myself or with hubby to go out.  On our 11th anniversary we finally had a date night.  I didn't realize until then how much I really needed a break to be an adult without the kids nearby.  Missing them was the hard part.  We had to try really hard to control ourselves and discuss other things rather than how much we missed the kids.  Now that they are both well past breast feeding stage it is nice that we can send them to grandma's or auntie's house for an evening or a weekend and just enjoy being together.

I wouldn't trade my breastfeeding time with each of my girls for anything.  Even a few more hours of sleep.  Unless my babies health was somehow in danger because they were not able to receive enough nutrition from me for whatever reason I don't think I would even have considered using formula.

*Are all formulas equal? Choosing balanced nutrition for your baby. - Influential Mom Blogger, Mom Blog Brand Ambassador, PR Friendly

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