I never thought, in my wildest dreams, that I was going to breastfeed Bubba. If we’re being honest, the whole idea of it just really grossed me out. I didn’t think it was beautiful or natural or anything of the sorts; until I saw that perfect baby boy staring up at me.
They say a woman becomes a mother the minute she finds out she’s pregnant but for me, it was the first time I held him. I was overwhelmed with emotion and happiness and I did what felt right; I nursed him and it was meant to be.
There were days when I wanted to quit; it was too hard, he wouldn’t latch on, I was exhausted and wanted someone to help me, to relieve me. However, I knew that this was something only I could do and the best thing I could do for him. With Z still deployed, it was mine and Bubba’s time together. It’s where our connection first started, and where our bond grew stronger than ever.
Over the past few months, I’ve started the weaning process and while it was hard at first, it became much easier. He finally started sleeping through the night and feedings were dropping quicker than I expected. I was told the feeding during the night would be hardest to get rid of but for us, that wasn’t the issue.
The feeding before bedtime was it for us. Seriously, I’ve never seen this child so sad. He just refused to go to sleep without nursing; up until three nights ago, that is. I let him cry for a little, snuggled, and sang and before I knew it, he was out. Was this it? Had we finally wrapped up 15 months of nursing?
How do I feel? Physically, I feel great. I’ve heard horror stories of engorgement and soreness and I haven’t had anything of the sort (thank God).
Mentally and emotionally, it’s bittersweet. I love that I can go on a date with Z or out with my friends and not have to worry about leaking, rushing home to feed Bubs, or having to pump. But if you’ve ever nursed, you know what I’m feeling. You miss that time; just the two of you. Yes I wished it away at times and would get frustrated but looking back, it was such a wonderful thing.
I’m so proud of Bubba and myself for sticking it out these past 15 months. We both had bad days but after a few deeps breaths, we’d be back on track. I’m so thankful for that time we had together, and it truly made me want to be the best mother I could.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with choosing formula, as it has to be a decision you make together, really. Some babies have trouble latching or sucking and such, so even if the mother really wants to, it just doesn’t work out sometimes.
Never let ANYONE make you feel bad for choosing which way to go. You’re the mommy, and it’s YOUR decision. If you’re stuck on what to do, consider these things:
Read any material you can get your hands on: There are so many books, articles, and pamphlets out there. Make sure you do your reading and really weigh the pros and cons of both breastfeeding and bottle feeding.
Don’t knock it before you try it: You may really enjoy nursing, or you might hate it. If I have any advice, I’d say to give it a try. You’ll never regret trying but you may regret not trying.
Invest in a good pump: The best pump I’ve found to date is the Medela Pump In Style Double Electric Breast Pump. I didn’t pump often since I work from home, but it’s great to have a supply for emergencies and a little break if you need one. For those of you who work outside of the home and will be going back to work, you will NEED a pump. Invest in a good one, trust me on this one.
Financial readiness: Formula and bottle feeding supplies can get very pricey. We chose to breastfeed because it’s free, easy, and convenient. Obviously this depends on each individual’s situation but for us, free was the best option. Take a look at your finances and make sure to add feeding supplies into the budget; it will be less of a shock when it comes time for it.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help: Your hospital should have a lactation consultant, but there are also lactation consultants your doctor can refer you to as well. Talking to friends about it helps too! Hell, I’ve even physically helped my friend get the hang of it. A boob is a boob people, no shame here.
Practice makes perfect: There are a few different positions (refer to your reading material) and it’s best to try all of them. You may find one works better than the other and some babies prefer certain positions over another.
Don’t give up: There are days you’ll want to throw in the towel, but just take a deep breath and take a break. Bubba never took a pacifier but try that, or supplement with a bottle of pumped milk.
I’d be happy to talk to anyone that has any questions! I’ve come a long way from being completely disgusted to absolutely cherishing it. If I can help educate anyone on what I’ve learned, it will have been more than worth it.
But I promise you, it already was.
“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.” – Proverb