Friday, June 10, 2011

Nursing my babies

As we're a week past Jessie's first birthday (& I'm the only one up with nothing else to do) this seems like a good time to write about my nursing relationship with both of my girls.

Growing up I didn't know many people who breastfed. I can think of exactly 3. I can remember it being discussed once. I never though it would be something I would do. Even when dreaming about my babies and family, nursing never crossed my mind. Then I got pregnant.

There's a lot of information out there about nursing and there's a lot of stuff on the internet about what's best and then there's a lot of crap too. I was a bottle fed baby and both my sister and I are very healthy people, so I don't really "buy" that breastmilk is what keeps my kids healthy (good genes yo!) I put that in as a nod to the formula fed babies. I truly believe we live is a wonderful time where parents have the luxury of choosing how and what to feed their babies. Now on to my story.

It was really Rocky who "decided"/ urged me to breastfeed. He had watched one of his sisters nurse her babies and probably did his own research too. Maggie was born the day we were to have gone to our breastfeeding class so we struggled in the hosptial. Then she turned out jaundiced and spent another night in the hosptial where I learned how to pump. The Pediatrician wanted to know exatly how much she ate and how much she peed out and in the hormonal mess I was in I didn't want to give her formula. From that point it took 3 long long weeks for Maggie to get how to nurse. We struggled through the vicious cycle that was try to nurse, feed her with a bottle, pump and start all over. I had people tell me it was okay to give her formula -- things I had told other struggling friends -- but I was determined to make this work. Which was really odd because it was never something I was that strong on to begin with.

Maggie did get it down and I nursed her for 13 months when her gymnastic moves got the better of me. She was probably 60% breastfed. I stopped pumping when she was about 6 or 7 months old. Because of our early experiences Maggie never met a bottle she didn't love (a different story!) and daycare provided formula so it was a decision that made perfect sense.

Then there's Jessie. I worried a bit about nursing her because of the c section. I'd read all the horror stories about how it messes up you milk production. The only early issue we really had was my boobs not really knowing what to do right away. A nipple shield fixed that and Jessie got nursing down very quickly and was even off the shield by the end of her first month. Here we are 12 months and 4 teeth later and showing no signs of stopping (though plenty of signs of slowing down).

It's been fun to watch Maggie take it all in. She's pretended to nurse her babies. She's wanted to help me pump -- and I let her. She'll even tell people "Jessie likes the boob."

I've sometimes said I'm a lazy mom which is why I co sleep and nurse. I can do both without getting out of bed and therefore get my sleep! I've never had those euphoric moments some women talk about yet it does secretly make me happy that sometimes I'm the only one who can satisfy my baby. Sometimes. Sometimes it's a pain in the ass.

I've been reading a lot about the mommy wars lately. How to feed our children/babies is definitely one of the big ones. I don't write this to put my hat into the ring as someone interested in fighting that fight or even to be all let's all get along. I do think it's good however to talk about our choices and why we do what we do. Even if the answer is simply "'cause."
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