I grew up thinking breastfeeding is just what mommy's do. I don't know why I believed that since my mom didn't breastfeed me. Maybe the word had gotten out that "breast is best". I probably had more practical reasons though. It was free and easy.
I really hate bringing up this story because it pains me when I have to relive it but here it goes anyway. I nursed my 1st born for only 2 weeks. It was the most painful 2 weeks of my life. In that 2 weeks, I did a lot of supplementing with formula to give me a chance to heal. It was no use. I gave up. I remember the pain I felt forking out $10 per can of formula at the check out counter. We were broke and my baby was drinking 2-3 of these cans a week! He was getting out of control fat too. Another painful memory I have is picking up a bottle and not knowing if it was still good or not. I always gave it to him anyway because of the cost. It twisted my stomach to have to toss it down the sink. With baby #2, I was more diligent about making sure I did everything right. I had all the lactation supplies and never fed my baby without a nurse or lactation consultant by my side to make sure everything was going according to plan. On the day I left the hospital, I felt the pain starting. I KNEW I was doing everything right. By day 4, I had already given up. If there are any lactation consultants reading this, let me tell you exactly what made me give up so easy. It was just one comment that my consultant told me in the hospital. She said, "It's not supposed to hurt." She was not the last person to say that to me either. It is not rude by any means. It was just the deal breaker when it did start to hurt. Since I knew I was doing everything right (the 2nd time anyway) and it still hurt?... That must mean that I was not capable of breastfeeding. Its like telling someone with a hurt arm that it is not supposed to hurt. Well, it hurts so it must be broken. I was broken, so I quit. I would like to tell all breastfeeding guru's out there....for some women, it can hurt. And it can hurt really bad.
Four years go by before I had another baby. In that time, I started hanging out with the homeschool moms. Everyone was breastfeeding and I was so jealous. I prayed and begged God to let the breastfeeding work for me. I was going to do whatever I could to make it work. I did it too. I read every piece of literature on breastfeeding that I could find to keep myself motivated. I remember reading the top 3 problems babies have if they were not breastfed; Ear infections, speech impediments, and eczema. My poor first babies had all of that. I did that to them! I made them sick and itchy because they didn't get my milk. That motivated me. Yes, it still hurt like hell but I did my own thing this time. I didn't buy the normal supplies. I bought Vaseline and pain pills. Prescription kind of pain pills. I took 2 pain pills at a time, every 4 hours for a week and was coated with Vaseline at all times. It worked! The memory of feeding my Samantha for the first time with NO pain is still etched in my memory. It was only on one side but hey, I'll take it. The kids enjoy having a drugged up mommy anyway. win-win
So, has it gotten any easier with the more kids I had? NOPE! As a matter of fact, it took 2 full weeks and even more pain and more pain pills with this last baby. The doctors tell me that the pain pills will have little effect on a newborn but that information didn't sway me. I knew that I could nurse him out of any addiction I gave him:) I can't give up my Vaseline but I have been able to pass the Vaseline baton to coconut cream after a couple days. That is much tastier and healthier for my baby.
I love how God throws me a curve ball every once in a while. Just when I get myself convinced of something, God gives me a child that disproves it. I had ONE baby where I didn't take any pain pills at all in those first few days. That would be Josie. I am quite sure I didn't have any pain because I had just stopped nursing the baby before her (Ben) just 2 months earlier. But, at least I got one break.
I plan on having a blog on all the benefits of breastfeeding and why I have a goal of nursing for at least 2 years. Yes, I said "at least". It still makes me want to laugh when anyone looks at me with those big eyes and appalled look and says, "can you believe that anyone would breastfeed for 2 years!!!!" When I ask anyone why they think 2 years is too long, all I can get is, "its weird...it looks wrong....the baby's legs are hanging out...they pull up mom's shirt in public.." I think my answers will win that rebuttal. Stay tuned. Maybe your one of those people that has better points for not nursing for 2 years or more. Let me know so I can address it. Before you do though, your subject will have to be about why this is NOT good for the baby. In this very "me" centered world, I get so many "I wanted it...I didn't like it...I'M offended...I this and I that". Well, I'M not interested. lol. Stay on topic....the best of baby topic.