Human Milk

I've decided I would like to share my thoughts about breastfeeding. Seems everyone has an opinion, and well, so do I. When it came down to having children in my mind there was no option but breastfeeding. Karoline was delivered via c-section so the immediate placement of her on my chest didn't happen. But, the staff at the hospital we were at were absolutely remarkable and the time from her birth to the time we were in the recovery room and she was allowed to lay on me was a very short amount of time. However, my sense of time was completely off thanks to the spinal block. Side note, that was by far the worst part of having to have a c-section, my memory for the first two weeks of Karoline's life is very clouded and there are not many picture of me holding her so I don't remember doing so. Anyway ...

From the first attempt of breastfeeding to today has been a long road. In the beginning it was adorable to see this tiny new life try to figure out how to feed herself. It truly is remarkable the instincts that we are all born with. In the hospital figuring out breastfeeding was an overwhelming task and something that I feel was not made any easier by the constant reminder that we needed to keep track of every time she ate and for how long. Then there were the people who would come and go and would critique your  breastfeeding. We really did have a pleasant experience at our hospital and I know the nurses were just doing their job but while reflecting on it now I am surprised at how unhelpful their help really was. In addition, there was always someone offering formula. To me (now remember this is just my opinion, you all have yours and that is perfectly fine to me) formula is the easy way out (IF you are able to breastfeed). I can't believe how many times they suggested me giving Karoline just a little bit of formula to help her get started and figure the whole eating thing out. I do believe had I been more relaxed and able to just enjoy feeding her instead of being "checked on" every few seconds that I may have been able to help her get used to it more quickly. Even when we were leaving the hospital we were asked if we wanted to take a little bottle of formula. I must note that Karoine was a little "yellow" when she was born and they were worried about her being jaundice. None of her tests confirmed this, it was just her outward appearance. The lighting in our room was horrible and I think that played a big part in it. On the day we were leaving the hospital I broke down on one of the pediatricians that came in to see Karoline. She was pro-breastfeeding and reassured me that turning down the formula was the right thing. I am convinced hat doctor was an angel in disguise, she completely calmed me and helped me to realize that I was doing my best and Karoline was going to be just fine.

Upon getting home breastfeeding did get easier. A week after Karoline was born we met our pediatrician. He was recommended to us by a male pediatrician we met at the hospital ... side note, this man was wonderful and when I called his office to schedule an appointment we found out he worked an hour away. The more alarming part was that he himself returned the call and was able to give us the name of our doctor now. Our doctor is also in line with our thinking and told me that I was on the cusp of helping our baby to grow. We are very fortunate to have been able to meet our pediatrician. I know now and would caution everyone that to make sure you don't settle. There is a doctor who will agree with your line of thinking and will be a great member of your support team.

Over the next few weeks as we settled into a routine breastfeeding became unbearable and excruciatingly painful. I know I did not go through the pain of labor BUT breast feeding was more painful than any of my recovery from the c-section. Despite the pain and a bout of mastitis I stuck it out. I really didn't see any other option, I had to endure the pain for our baby girl. After about a month or two of ridiculous pain it definitely got better. Karoline got better at feeding and my breasts finally became, well callused. There are still issues but I wouldn't trade it for the world. Yesterday while we were playing in the morning Karoline crawled up to me, pulled herself up and let me know that she needed a little snack. This was such a joy to me. She knows that I am where the milk comes from and is now able to communicate to me that she would like to nurse. It makes me tear up just thinking about it. Nursing moms understand, women who want children and who would like to nurse will one day understand as well.

A friend of mine is going on a business trip and has looked into sending home breast milk in the mail for her little one. Such a huge thing to put your children's needs first and I applaud her. Her box will be mailed, labeled "human milk." Breast milk is like gold to a mom who has to pump. We are so blessed that I no longer have to pump, just one of the luxuries of being a stay at home mama.

I do think that this topic is something that most people would prefer is kept quiet. Believe me, before having Karoline I would most likely have felt the same way. I am not one to breastfeed in public, I prefer the comfort of my vehicle while we are out and about, and I still use a big cover to make sure nothing is seen. But, I don't feel like it is something that can't be talked about. If you've made it this far ... thanks for reading and I hope if you have children one day that your will consider nursing your babies. Or will provide support for your wife who will nurse your little ones. One more thing, Karoline is 7 1/2 months old and has yet to even have one sign of sickness. Did I mention breast milk is like gold?

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