Friday, July 23, 2010

Why I Chose to Breastfeed

Welcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe's Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to For more info on The Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today's post is about Importance of Breastfeeding. Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st!

I've been a little SWAMPED with school, so I didn't post the previous two days. Here's what you missed:
Wordless Wednesday...ironically, I have two pictures of myself breastfeeding. TWO! And, they're both mostly head shots of me. One is at a restaurant and you can only see my face. The other is an extremely adorable picture of my daughter's head and me. Her foot is up on my chest. That's it.  Maybe with baby #2, I'll be brave enough to take more pictures!

Yesterday's Carnival post should have been about how my birth experience impacted nursing...
I really thought I had written about my "birth."   I guess I have not shared that here.  But, that goes along with the importance of breastfeeding and why I chose (and committed fully) to nursing my daughter.
When I was pregnant, and even before, I knew I'd nurse.  I have an awesome sister-in-law who was an excellent example.  She nursed her first daughter for a year.  It could be done.  Women in Oklahoma do breastfeed for more than 6 weeks! 

Then I got pregnant.  I did not take breastfeeding classes.  I thought I knew it all (yeah, right!).  No one prepared me for how hard breastfeeding is.  It's truly an art.  Then came A's birth.  A. was born via c-section after 24 hours of labor (induction for pre-eclampsia) and 2.5 hours (included in the 24 hours) of pushing.  I was devastated.  Heartbroken.  Fortunately, I had the most awesome nurse, who, despite my post-partum hemorrhage (the real deal, lots and lots and lots of blood) got Addison to latch on.  Not only did she did A. to latch on within, probably, less than 1 hour from her birth, she did so as I was actively bleeding.  That simple act helped me so much.  The bond was formed.  The connection was made.
The next 48 hours were a totally different story.  I got 2 units of Hespan (a starch that is used as a volume expander...trying to avoiding getting blood), was on Magnesium Sulfate, was out of it, and got 2 units of blood.  My blood pressure was 140s/40s...for real.  That's because my hemoglobin dropped dramatically. I felt awful.  A. got very little, if any, of my milk in that first 48 hours.  Daddy (and the entire family) learned to syringe feed (formula) during this time.  

At 48 hours, I went to the mom/baby unit.  I struggled over the next 48 hours.  I got 2 more units of blood.  I saw every lactation consultant (almost) employed at the hospital.  I pumped.  I resigned myself to being okay with formula and breastfeeding.  My nurses (who happened to be my employees, as I was their manager) comforted me, consoled me, told me formula was okay.  I was heartbroken.
But, somewhere...maybe the ride home...maybe the first morning we woke up to a room full of bottles...I don't really know.....somewhere though, it hit me.  It hit me like a ton of bricks.  I did NOT have the birth I wanted.  In fact, I despised the way my daughter was born.  I felt respected.  I loved (and still do) my OB.  She was so awesome and encouraging and supportive.  She told me I'd VBAC next time.  So, it had nothing to do with the way I felt during surgery.  I hated my recovery.  I hated having MY child cut from me.  So, I decided I would NOT give up on breastfeeding.

Then, I had milk supply issues.  Huge issues.  As in, my milk didn't "come in" for 2 weeks.  For 2 weeks, I breastfed, pumped, and fed A. formula.  No wonder I was exhausted and had a horrible recovery.  I was always feeding or preparing to feed my daughter!  When I saw my OB at my 2 week visit, I nearly begged for her permission to quit breastfeeding.  After all, I thought, if she thought it was okay, it would be okay.  Well, she told me it would be okay...but to keep breastfeeding.  Grrr, not what I wanted to hear.  But, I did not want to disappoint her.  Or myself.  Or my daughter.  (Probably in reverse order!)
Little A did not get the birth she deserved.  She would get the food she deserved.  So I nursed.  And nursed.  I took fenugreek (per my OB's recommendation).  At about 6 weeks, it all sunk in.  Nursing was suddenly easy.  I vowed quitting at any time, was still indeed quitting.  And I vowed never to quit.  (On a side note, I think it's okay to quit at 3 years...where we are now!)

Other than psychologically mending my relationship with my has helped her health.  She has been a healthy little girl.  Compared to my nephews, who only got a little breast milk (less than 1 week), she is absolutely healthy!

And, I'm frugal.  And green.  Think of all the money I saved!  And water!  

And, that, is how breastfeeding became so important to me. 

 Here are more posts by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! Check back because more will be added throughout the day.


Whitney =0) said...

I'm so glad you chose to stick with it even after everything you and your daughter went through!!!

Lauren @ Hobo Mama said...

Wow, what a story! I'm so impressed you stuck with it, despite it all. And good for your OB being so encouraging, even though it wasn't what you wanted to hear at the moment. :) It would have been OK, and no one would have blamed you, to have given up on breastfeeding, but what an absolute gift to your daughter that you didn't — and to yourself, for your own healing. I had an easier recovery than you and just one rough first week of breastfeeding, but I also remember that first realization of "Hey, this is easy suddenly!" And what a relief!

Megan said...

I've been reading everything I can get my hands on about breastfeeding (specifically) and other natural parenting techniques (in general) and this is one of the most inspiring stories I've read yet. I have been longing to become a parent since I was far too young for the responsibility, and even though I'm still not a parent yet I know that I was meant to be a mother. All the blogs I've read have been so encouraging about breastfeeding, NIPing, and doing what is natural for the child-parent relationship, but reading your story made me feel like even if it's really hard I can make it work, just like you did. So congratulations and thank you :)

Brooke said...

Thanks everyone! I like to tell everyone, especially new parents about breastfeeding! It's HARD, but it's SOOO worth it. And, it's only hard for a little while. Then, it's literally the easiest (and really laziest!) thing I've done. You just sit there (or lay there!).

Good luck Megan!