When we went through our years of infertility struggles after our first baby (who I only nursed a short time because I didn’t know what I was doing and didn’t have support to help me with that), all I wanted was to have another baby to nurse – my heart would ache when I saw new moms breastfeeding. Our youngest is now almost four, and I still don’t take it for granted that God blessed me with 3 more babies to nurse.
But…it wasn’t as easy as it looked, not at first, and not for me anyway.
After a few days we got into our groove and it became a wonderful experience. It was also super convenient (Nina describes that below and you can also read about how easy it eventually became for us at this baby care post), but at first it was stressful.
- Getting my babies to latch on was always tricky – thankfully I became close friends with Tricia, a lactation nurse who lived near us, so she was always a great help and support for me. If you are struggling DON’T WAIT until you’re tempted to supplement, call the hospital you gave birth at and ask to speak to their lactation specialist, or call La Leche League – they love to help new moms. (Just don’t listen to their dietary advice.)
- Then when my milk came in, one side became so engorged that he wouldn’t nurse on that side at all. I cried for almost 24 hours straight until Tricia came over and promptly said, “OK, show me the goods…”, motioning for me to unbutton my shirt. (If this freaks you out, rest assured, at this stage in the game nobody really cares, least of all me – it felt good to laugh at that point!) Within 10 minutes she massaged the clogged ducts out (sounds like plumbing) and had him nursing perfectly, and I was so relieved as you can imagine.
- These are just a couple issues I had, but there are a few others that may come up for you. Keep in mind that in these situations you’ll receive your share of bad advice. Listen to your heart. A Mom knows what her baby needs.
- Just don’t be too quick to supplement! If it’s necessary, then so be it, but many will try to convince you to do so when it’s not needed. Breast milk is the best for your baby, so if you can get over one or two humps in the beginning, you’ll be so glad you stuck with it in a very short time.
- If it is needed for whatever reason (and for a few that happens, and it’s OK!), in my humble opinion I would suggest NOT using commercial formulas! They are full of junk, similar to other processed foods on the market. Here’s the only baby formula I would ever suggest. (Where to get the complete homemade baby formula KIT with everything you need all in one spot…except the raw dairy of course. Read over these FAQ’s on this homemade baby formula and there you’ll also find another link to a yahoo support group for moms making this formula – this support group will be invaluable to you! Making your own formula is not as easy as popping open a can of commercial powdered mix, but just as you’re (hopefully) moving away from processed foods in your own diet, it’s even more crucial when feeding your baby!)
- What were some of your breast-feeding struggles?
Now read this excerpt from Nina Planck’s new book, Real Food for Mother and Baby: The Fertility Diet, Eating for Two, and Baby’s First Foods :
“I was not in a hurry for Julian to start eating real food. It was not that I wanted to breast-feed forever. I didn’t. It was not that I enjoyed Julian’s total dependence on me and no one else. I didn’t. When he started to last for longer stretches without nursing, I was delighted. Things were more flexible. But most of all, I didn’t feel quite so much like a bucket of milk on two legs. I loved getting a babysitter, rummaging in the back of the closet for a dress you couldn’t nurse in, and going out with Rob.
But there was something utopian about nursing. My breasts met Julian’s nutritional needs. Anywhere we went, I carried his breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks in the perfect container. I didn’t have to think. Julian was eight months old when we went on tour to promote the paperback edition of Real Food. Travel was a breeze. I didn’t have to buy, pack, cook, or wash anything. Long flights, short ones, delays, bad hotel food, time zone changes – none of it mattered. There was nothing to take, spill, or spoil. Extreme conditions were no problem. On a windy sand dune or a desert hike in the blazing sun, Julian didn’t even need water. I had it. Nursing was a kind of Eden.”
- More about healthy, green, NATURAL parenting – with info on the most comfortable & versatile baby carriers, healthiest first table foods for baby, and super simple cloth diapering! (I was even less green then than I am now, so I was totally a disposable diaper kind of Mom…sorry…)
- More PARENTING posts for you to look over.