Originally Posted 12/12/09 on Adventures in a Vegetarian Kitchen
I love the Beatles. This is the only song I know that refers to breast feeding and that is what I want to post about today.
Today I am celebrating. First I am celebrating that my son is one month old. Second, I’m celebrating the simplicity in life. I am just a mammal and I am doing what all other mammals do; feed their offspring.
I heard that the first month of breast feeding is the hardest and if you can make it through that, you’re pretty much set! Looking back it was hard, but not in the way I thought it would be.
People frustrate me. Everyone I know has the mindset “Breast is Best” and of course it is. Before I would tell people that I planned to breast feed they would try to convince me to. When I told them that I was going to, all of the sudden their tune would change to “It’s really hard. I know all these women who tried and couldn’t do it.” or other stupid comments like “You won’t make enough milk”, “It’s just too hard” and so on.
No one told me why it’s so hard. Here I am today telling all the women out there who plan to breast feed their children what I personally thought was so hard about it.
I have a wonderful baby who had a perfect latch on right from the first feeding, so teaching him to latch wasn’t an issue and I know this is the main problem most women encounter.
The hardest thing for me is that I’m the only one that can feed him. It’s hard enough recovering from childbirth, but then when you have to feed every 2 hours around the clock for the first 2 weeks it feels impossible. I had company keep offering to bottle feed him formula so I could sleep for a long time. As tempting as that was, I felt it was pretty messed up to try to sabatoge my goals to breast feed. Not having support from visitors was incredibly difficult.
I had a pretty rough delivery. I tore through three layers of skin and had to have more stitches than if I’d had a C-section. Sitting for 12 hours of the day is very rough on such a tender area. My baby would not latch on well in the side-lying position so I had to sit through all of our feedings.
Dylan has a bit of a tongue tie. No pediatrician we have seen will clip it so for a while I had pretty sore nipples. It’s loosened up a lot and things are getting much better.
Growth spurts are very hard. He had to be constantly feeding and when he wasn’t feeding he was screaming. I had visitors during one of his two growth spurts and they kept trying to take him from me saying I was feeding him too much. They’d say “He’s just using you as a pacifier.” It got really bad the night before said company was about to leave. Dylan was at his most crankiest and all he wanted was to eat. The visitors wanted to spend as much time as possible with their grandson before they left. They would not let me have him! He was screaming and I was in my bedroom crying because they wouldn’t support me in my parenting style. Finally my husband had to take him from them and tell them we were going to bed (at like 5 p.m.) and we shut the door for the night and I was able to feed him to his heart’s conent. The other growth spurt we were on our own and it was so much easier to manage. Although it’s hard to sit and feed for hours and hours on end.
I’ve said a lot of negative things about the visitors we had. I’m grateful for the help they provided during their stay. I was able to rest much more than if they hadn’t been here. I never went hungry and I was able to take baths and showers. Once everyone left is when things got difficult.
Babies are hard work! As soon as I sit down to eat a meal he decides he needs to eat. As soon as I’ve nursed him to sleep and hand him to his Daddy so I can take a quick shower, the baby decides he’s not yet finished eating. It’s hard to take care of a baby. It’s hard to take care of a baby and yourself.
Anyway, today I feel it’s time to give myself a pat on the back. I’ve done well, I’ve made it through the first month. Being a mother is a million times harder than I expected but a million times more rewarding. I love my baby so much and I’m so happy to be his mother.