Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Post About Breastfeeding from a Non Breastfeeder

I wrote this post well before I breastfed.  Long before I ever thought about possibly breastfeeding.

I have to be honest, my feelings haven't changed much.  You see, I breastfed, but I don't consider myself a breastfeeder.  You follow? HA!

The only time I knew for sure I wasn't going to be a working mom while pregnant was with my third.  I was already a stay-at-home mom and I was pretty sure it'd stay that way.  So when I started thinking about formula vs. breast, I thought maybe the latter would be better.  We didn't have the same income, I wouldn't have to worry about weaning/pumping when going back to work, and it truly seemed easier to breastfeed than to deal with bottles.

It also helped that our nurse practitioner was a lactation consultant.  So at one of Gabe's check ups she asked if I would be breastfeeding when the baby came along.  I told her "maybe".  The look on my mother-in-law's face was priceless!  It was not something I had ever discussed possibly doing.  (And yes, I still make my MIL come to appointments with me and the kids or watch two while I take one!)

So I talked to Marc about it, and like the true awesome person he is, told me to do whatever worked for me.  He'd support me either way!  We decided I would try it and if it didn't work, no biggie. We had formula fed two babies and both were FINE, so a third should be too.

On August 25, 2011, the whirlwind Harper Ri came to be.  And I breastfed.  And it wasn't too bad.  It sort of all just worked.  Yes, there was some struggling, but nothing horrible.  I do remember my sister-in-law and her husband visiting us in the hospital and having to leave when Harper wouldn't latch.  It was 5,000 degrees in the room and I was frustrated and just wanted to rip off my clothes and feed her.  I think they sensed this and didn't want to see my boobies hanging out, so they dismissed themselves!

A HUGE break through came when an awesome lactation consultant entered my room.  I had called one in before, but she was kind of awful at her job.  She just told me to keep trying.  LeDuh, that's exactly what I was doing!  But the awesome one sat with Marc and me for about an hour explaining everything to us and the lightbulb went off.  Hearing the scientific nature of it made a huge difference to me.  Fact will always win out with me.

Harp was born 6 pounds 14 ounces, when we left the hospital she was 6 pounds 6 ounces.  Yes, I was worried.  Yes, I thought about formula feeding her.  But at her first appointment she put on 9 ounces and the pediatrician was happy, so I continued with the boob.

I have to give a huge, special shout-out to Dana!!! She was my very own personal lactation consultant and I probably wouldn't have been as successful without her.  She answered all my texts and phone calls with thoughtful, caring responses and at all hours of the day.  She was a life saver! I still think she should be a LC for real, for real!!!!

There are definitely struggles with bf'ing that I didn't know about. You see, I never went to a class, never talked to anyone about it, I figured women had been breastfeeding since the beginning of time and I would just wing it.  So I wasn't too familiar with breast pads, nipple cream, hot flashes, let downs, hormones, and how little sleep you truly get.  Never thought that I would have to wear two sports bras when playing volleyball.  That I'd have to take a pump with  me to Longwood for Spring Weekend.  Shit, I didn't even know what kind of pump to get!  I also never thought I would be such a good producer either.  As great as it was for my babe, it was painful!  I can't lie though, I sure do miss those boobs!

The BIGGEST issue I had was dealing with breastfeeding for so long.  (At least long for me.)  For ten months I was attached to a tiny little human being most of the day and night.  It was wearing on me and I was becoming a lunatic.  Little sleep + Emily = crazy lady.  Plus, there are hormones still raging through you.  That threw me for a loop. When I decided to breastfeed I just thought about feeding a newborn, never did I imagine a growing, crawling, walking baby.  It seriously never crossed my mind. So when I thought I would have a third kid and it'd be no big thing I was wrong.  If I had formula fed I think I would have been fine, I was used to that.  But I sure did throw a wrench in to the mix.  I felt like a brand new first time mom, all over again.

I never put a timeline on myself for breastfeeding, once I began it.  I had hoped to make it to a year, but that wasn't a MUST.  Every woman I talked to said their baby usually led the weaning and I should take their lead.  So when Harper seemed less interested in me and more interested in playing, also more interested in "real" food, I followed her lead and weaned.

Overall, it was a great experience.  Harper and I successfully did our thing for awhile and I look back on it fondly.

I still will NEVER tell a woman she HAS to breastfeed.  Totally up to her.  Because as great as it was for us, there were some issues and things I could say about it.  But I'll try to keep this positive!

So there it is, my follow up breastfeeding post that I am sure EVERYONE was dying to read.  Not too exciting, sorry!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Emotions and Signs

You know, I would never say I am smart, but I would also never say I am dumb.  Not when it comes to history or science, or anything you might read in books.  But one think I am VERY aware of is emotional intelligence.  I have a sense about people, situations, feelings rule my world.  I am a Cancer, so I guess it's just in me!

I believe in signs, I believe the universe is telling us stuff all the time, and if you are lucky and in tune, you'll hear it.

These all go together, you see, emotions and signs.  And my emotions have been on a roller coaster lately, which means maybe I am missing signs.  Or maybe I am picking up every single one.

Truthfully I have no idea where this post is even going, but I have a lot swirling in my head and hope some of it comes out in a coherent manner.

I've been thinking about my babies a lot.  About how well I know them, how in tune with them I am.  I have been thinking about their pregnancies, their births, their wee little newborn days and how far they've come in so many areas.  How far Marc and I have come.

I've been getting updates on a woman who has severe postpartum depression.  And it makes me sad for so many reasons.  It makes me sad for her, her husband and her three kids.  But I know she doesn't mean for this to be happening, I know she wishes she could change it.  But one thing I have definitely learned lately is that sometimes what is happening in your body cannot be controlled by your mind.  And it cannot be controlled by all the well-meaning people in your life.

Which brings me to the profession of Occupational Therapy. Anyone in the medical field is saintly to me, but for this period in my life OTs have my heart.  I am truly fascinated by their work.  I am truly fascinated by their patience, intelligence, their willingness to help strangers.

I started reading a book "Sensational Kids" by Lucy Jane Miller.  I continually nod, wipe away tears, laugh, and feel like maybe, just maybe I'm not crazy. That maybe, just maybe I did sense something.  I did pick up on the signs.  That my journey in life, my purpose, is to raise my children.  And do it well.  That my emotional intelligence will be more valuable than anything I ever learned in a class.

So a lot of rambling on a Monday morning, but I have to get some of these thoughts out! My shoulders are up around my ears and I need to breathe deep and relax them!  Yoga may be on my horizon...