Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Breastfeeding with patience...lots of it!

I found out through a friend's blog that this week is World Breastfeeding Week. Okay...I didn't know there was such an event and I think it's pretty cool that there is one. As I was reading her blog post of how difficult it's been for her to breastfeed her second daughter it brought tears to my eyes. It brought back memories of how hard it was for me to nurse my firstborn 16 years ago. I know exactly how she's feeling.

Sierra weighed 4lbs. and 2 oz. when she came out of my body. I remember the nurse inserting a tube down her throat to feed her. She would force it and shove it down her throat because she couldn't swallow it fast enough. I remember my husband getting upset with her which caused me to become extremely angry. I was like a lioness protecting my young. Sierra was my firstborn and I didn't like what I saw. I even yelled at her for being impatient while inserting a tube down my newborn's fragile little mouth to feed her, and for doing it so harshly. That was a hard moment for me.

I had to pump constantly because I was so engorged. I had so much milk that I could have nursed twins! I was determined to continue to work with the lactation nurse so that Sierra could learn how to latch on correctly. It was a struggle, but Sierra and I worked together and we did it. After a week Sierra became a little pro at nursing. I was so happy. The only downside was that because she was so tiny, she was waking up every hour to nurse. EVERY HOUR! For at least a month! 1995 was the year of no sleep for me. I look at my daughter now and know that it was all worth it.

My two younger daughters were perfectionists at nursing. They immediately found the breast and latched on with no problem. I felt like a nursing machine, and loved that I never had to spend any money on formula or bottles. I really appreciated breastfeeding and remembered how hard it was for Sierra to latch on correctly. Having breastfed all my girls for at least two to three years was heaven.

Then there is Noah. I had a hard time getting him to nurse from the very beginning. I struggled with him for six weeks! I wanted to give up on him but then I remembered how I persevered with Sierra. Noah weighed seven pounds and one ounce. He weighed a lot more than Sierra, and yet he still couldn't latch on all the way. She learned a lot quicker than he did. I thought his nursing issues had to do with my body not producing enough milk because of having him late in my thirties. I was 38 when I had him. I know that's not old, but my body isn't 23, 28, or 33 anymore.  I know that as we age our bodies change and sometimes it's harder for women to get pregnant when they are nearing 40. I also heard that the older you get in having children, your milk supply becomes weak. That wasn't the case for me.

Bottom line...Noah was a lazy nurser.

He would fall asleep at the breast. There were times when he would nurse, and wouldn't empty the breast which caused me to pump the rest of it out, hence giving him...a  bottle. I thought it was pretty cool that he was taking both. He was still lazy at nursing. I realized that he was getting confused and we no longer gave him a bottle. We decided to buy a cup feeder instead. He slowly recognized that he was only going to be cupfed if he didn't empty my breast. Cup feeding him was tedious and it was such a trial.  After six long weeks he began to nurse a lot better. He was no longer lazy. I think the fact that he was cup fed for almost two months, drinking out of a sippy cup at four months became easy for him. He is by far the most aggressive nurser out of all my kids. He always wants to nurse. Always! Noah will be two in three months and I am slowly trying to wean him.  I really don't want to nurse Noah after he turns two. He's getting too long and big!

I really did enjoy breastfeeding all of my girls. I am grateful that I toughed it out and that I was blessed with patience to have had Sierra and Noah hang in there through nursing. Breastfeeding truly is the best. I want to tell all you mothers out there who are reading this that unless you have major difficulties such as my girlfriend does, try not to give up! Patience was key for me. I know for first time mom's it's hard, because it was hard for me too.

I am thankful to know that our babies are healthy and strong and whether they are being breastfed or given a bottle with formula... it's sustenance. And that's all that matters.

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