Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Breastfeeding the Babies

I'm big on breastfeeding, simply because it is free and because it is what nature created just for your baby. So in my book, it makes it the perfect choice for me.

This is me, breastfeeding for the very first time with our oldest, Little Dude.

But I admit, both of my kids did get the occasional bottle of formula when I didn't have enough pumped for bottles. But that was pretty rare, and I liked it that way. I highly recommend the Medela Pump in Style Breast Pump. It is just amazing, awesome and worth every penny. This is the kind I have, only it is the 2006 model and works SO wonderfully. I was blessed to be given mine from one of the moms at the day care I taught at, but if it ever breaks and I need another, I will be buying the same kind again. I loved pumping because then Bill got to participate and have the same bonding and cuddling time while the kids still got the great milk. Both of our kids had breast and bottle from the very beginning, and we never had any nipple confusion with either one. This is Bill getting to "breastfeed" JR from a pumped bottle

Another reason I loved breastfeeding? The fun moments that it brought. Breastfeeding MAKES you take a moment to sit down, relax, and just enjoy your baby cuddling with you. I loved it. I nursed Little Dude for a year, and quit when I got pregnant with JR (though you don't have to quit, but it was time for us) and I nursed JR up until a few weeks ago. I actually would have really loved to nurse him longer, (and I admit I sometimes miss it) but his biting got out of control.

Yes, that is a fact of breastfeeding; all of you thinking about it might want to just keep in the back of your head-when the teeth come, a bite might occur...

Anyways, even with me yelling and popping his head when he'd chomp down on me, I couldn't get him to quit, and after a really bad bite, I got scared of even trying to nurse. So I stopped, and JR hasn't seemed to notice or care. He still comes crawling over, demanding his cuddle time, but now we just cuddle without nursing, and we are both fine with that.

This week is World Breastfeeding Week, and you can find all kinds of great information about how breastfeeding can protect your children with strong immune systems not only while they are little, but later in life as well, at World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action.

But you know what? Breastfeeding is a very personal choice, and though for me it was worth the pain and effort to get it going smoothly (it will be a few weeks before it starts working really well for you new moms), don't feel badly if you chose to formula feed. What is important is that your baby gets the love, support, and nutrition he/she needs.

We are lucky here in the US to have such great formula choices and regulations so that all our children are able to get what they need and grow into strong, healthy adults. Not all countries are as lucky, and many infants and toddlers die simply from lack of food, so donated breast milk can make a huge difference in saving those children. You can find out how to donate here.

It's kinda fun to realize that to a baby in another country, you can be Superwoman.


Andrea said...

Thank you for this wonderful, moving post. It's become more apparent to me that breastfeeding is the right choice for me (as of now) and I am anticipating the challenge when Henry is born. But I think with the right attitude it can work, or at least that's the plan!

Thank you always for your openness about this subject. I'm sure I'll have lots of questions!

John and Caitlin said...

Have I told you I think you're fanatastic lately? Because you are.

I think breastfeeding is a terrific choice. Mom can give her baby lots of lovely antibodies from it, to support their tiny immune systems. As an immunologist that makes me happy.

However, the whole biting aspect? That part made me wince. And I heard that breastfeeding is (or can be) really painful. Is that true?

msmrow said...

Let me preface this with *I have absolutely no experience with this, obviously* but I read in one of those huge baby encyclopedia books that when a baby bites while nursing, you are supposed to sort of smush their face into your chest so that he/she has to let go in order to breathe. Sounds a little crazy, but I guess it makes sense- how else are you going to get the kid to let go without using some sort of force or ending up with a terrible bite and pain? What did you do (if you don't mind me asking) when JR bit you? I am just curious...

Miche said...

Hey Msmrow,

I've read that you should do that; however, my reaction was always that: a reaction to the pain, so I would end up crying out and poping his forehead. (Not too hard, more tough tap with my fingers on his forehaed mind you-enough to get him to stop and see a bad result to his biting) Obviously though, I didn't do it hard enough or correctly or something, because JR just kept biting and it reached the point of him biting me almost every time we nursed.

With Little Dude, I only had to pop his head once, and he only bit me twice the whole time we nursed. I poped his head after the second time as a reaction and it worked like a charm.

Miche said...

Caitlin-Breastfeeding for the first time can be a little painful, but more of a uncomfortable tugging sensation, that and breastfeeding helps your urturus go back down to normal size after brith, so those first few day sof breastfeeding also cause your uruturs to contract (though I didnt' really notice the after contractions until my second baby-I've heard they get stronger the harder your uturus has to work after more babies)

Anyways, when you start breastfeeding, if the pain is enough to make you cry, then the baby is not latched on correctly. And after the first few days of getting your nipples used to being sucked and your uturus to stop contracting, then it is a very pleasent and fun time to sit and relax while watching your baby.

But you do have to watch out when the teeth come in, but that is not too bad, since most babies don't have enough teeth to create a painful bite until they are close to a year.

Alexandra said...

I wouldn't trade my breastfeeding experiences for anything...biting included. lol. although I never had to much trouble with that. I guess that only thing I would really emphasis to readers is that the while the first few weeks your nipples are sore, it should never be painful. Like you said, that means something is wrong and you may need to contact a lactation consultant to help you out. Great article!

Such Lovely Freckles said...

Looking back I wish I had breastfed for much longer than I actually did. But still, the time we did have, was wonderful, and I remember wonderful moments.

casual friday every day said...

I had terrible experiences with two of the three of my kids. And I'm so regretful that I quit nursing my second when I did. He was born to nurse. Seriously the BEST nurser and I had no problems as far as he was concerned. But I was SO sick with candida that I was miserable...and because I was ill I gave up :( The other two kids I had very legit reasons to stop nursing, but it didnt make it any easier. Hopefully one day, maybe, I'll have another chance at it. Maybe.

I love that photo of you. So beautiful.


Kamiyo said...

Hey Girly, I am so thankful for all the information that you share! I love catching up with your life through your blog. I don't keep in touch as much as I would like, but I do want you to know that I really appreciate you sharing your life experiences! On a personal note I am glad that you shared your nursing experiences! I stopped breastfeeding Eli when he got teeth and I decided that I was going to tough it out with Julian since he may be my last one. I enjoy every minute and we are managing even though he got 2 teeth at 4 months and now has 7 teeth at 7 months. It took two bites and two really loud shouts from me before he stopped! I just cherish that special time together. Thanks again! Love ya, Kamiyo