Friday, October 24, 2008

My bittersweet relationship with breastfeeding

There is nothing in the world like having a child. I never knew I could love someone so much. I knew when I was pregnant that I wanted to breastfeed. I never said I was going to try, I said I was going to do it. I even went to a Le Leche League meeting in August to set up a support network in case I had trouble, at the advice of another breastfeeding mom. The first day was rough for both of us. We didn't know what we were doing and he had a hard time latching on. But the next day we had the help of a very good nurse at the hospital, and from then on we were a great team. BBZ is 1 month old now, and I have breastfed him every single day since the day he was born. I breastfeed "on demand", which is exactly how it sounds. Every time he wants to suck, I bring him to the breast. No pacifiers, no bottles, for at least the first 2 weeks. Talk about demanding, I see where they get the name. I was lucky enough that he slept 3-4 hours at night right from the beginning. He eats just about every hour when he is awake, but at night he is now on a very strict 3 hour schedule. He gets up every three hours and is up for about an hour. So that means I get to sleep in 2 hour increments. I would complain, but I know it could be much worse! I think I have figured out the best and worst parts of breastfeeding. The worst part is that I am the only one who can feed him. N has started giving him the occasional bottle, but I have to feed him at night otherwise I get to engorged and sore, so N can only help occasionally when I can pump. Even after N gives him a bottle he still wants to nurse. He acts like he is still hungry, but I think it's the close intimacy that he desires. It's a work in progress...N and BBZ need to develop their feeding relationship just like BBZ and I did. Saying I am overwhelmed is an understatement. Not all the time, but sometimes. One day a few weeks ago I cried all day because he seemed to never get full. I swear I nursed him all day. I was suppossed to go to a LLL meeting that evening, but I was so emotional I didn't want to, but I knew it would be the best place to get the support I needed. I planned to take a short nap before the meeting and ended up sleeping from 6pm-11pm, and so did BBZ. I guess it was a rough day for both of us. The best part of breastfeeding? That I am the only one who can feed him. It is both the worst and the best feeling in the world. To look down and see him getting all of his required nourishment from me is indescribable. He had his 1 month check-up yesterday and he weighs 11lbs! And everything that is going into his little body is coming from me. What an amazing phenomenon! One last thing to say about breastfeeding...I wish it was more accepted in public. I hope to become more comfortable feeding him in public as we get better at it, but I am always anxious when we go out around town because I worry about where I will be able to feed him if I need to. Luckily he has been sleeping the whole time every time we've gone out, so I haven't had to choose between staying in the booth in the restaurant to feed him or going and sitting in a dirty bathroom stall. LLL is all about feeding in public, but I am still a little uncomfortable with it. Hopefully as he and I get better at it I will become more comfortable. It's one of the most natural things in the world...why does it make me so nervous??? I guess it's something I just have to come to terms with.