My Breasfeeding Stoy
This is a little of topic but since there are so many of you here that I feel like I know after a year of posting I wanted to share this with you.
I am breasfeeding Lay and have joined my Local La Leche League. They have a bi-monthly publication called New Beginnings where they share mother's stories. I sent this in a few days ago. I hope they run it. The picture may seem a little risque but since I don't find BF as at all sexual I went ahead and included it here. It will also be put in the magazine if the story gets excepted.
When I found out I was pregnant with my first child the thought of breast feeding was the farthest thing on my mind. In fact, I was what you would probably call anti-breastfeeding before I became pregnant. I thought it was little strange and frankly it creped me out a little bit. I couldnt separate the natural maternal act from the sexual stereotypes in my head. I couldnÂt understand why anyone would breastfeed when formula was just as good. ThatÂs what all the commercials always said anyway. My overall take on breast feeding was it was passÃ© and only lower class or weirdoes did it. Why would you want to feed your child the same way barn yard animals do?
My best friend and childÂs father Jonathan had another opinion on the subject entirely. His twins from another relationship who live with us were both breast fed and it was really important to him that our child together be as well. He started working on me early. Even before I ever became pregnant we would have heated debates about the ProÂs and ConÂs of breast feeding. His point being it was what was best emotionally and physically for both mother and child. My point being it was weird and I was not a cow.
When we found out I was pregnant Jonathan, the twins and I were all very excited. Jonathan of course wasted no time beating around the bush and asked if I planned to breastfeed. I fought him long and hard for a few months always arguing and even getting mad at him a couple times for "pressuring" me. He continued to gently state his point and never gave up. As my tummy grew bigger he grew more determined.
I finally agreed to give it a shot more or less to shut Jonathan up. I wore down. I thought to myself if it means this much to him IÂll give it a try. I didnÂt contact anyone for support prior to my daughterÂs birth or look up any information because I wasnÂt planning on really following through. I even planned to have an epidural because I didnÂt really care about establishing a good latch after birth. I was just doing this for Jonathan.
January the 3rd rolled around and I went into Labor. Baby Layla was on her way. Jonathan was the one who advised all the staff of our plans to breast feed upon arrival at the hospital. Once the Midwife broke my water the contractions came on long and hard. At nine and a half centimeters I got an epidural. It wasnÂt long after that that Layla June Peavey came into this world. I was surrounded by Jonathan, my mother, my sister, the twins and my nephew. My entire family on my momÂs side listened via three way calling from California. It was a very emotionally over whelming moment to see this little one who had been growing inside of me for the very first time. It was even more emotional since I was surrounded by so many people I love. I wept out of sheer joy.
Within minutes of the birth a nurse asked me if I would like to try and breast feed. I said yes and as Jonathan and the rest of my family looked on Layla latched on to my breast for the first time and begin to suck. I was not prepared for the wave of emotion that came over me as I looked down on her, eyes already opened seemingly alert, at my breast. I knew in that split second I was hooked. The feeling of closeness with my daughter as she nursed for the first time was deeper than any other connection I had ever experienced. It was nothing short of spiritual. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that this was how God intended it to be.
There were some road bumps the first couple of months. I contended with the sore, cracked and blistered nipples like so many new mothers do. There was a point where I wasnÂt sure if I could continue on. The pain was just excruciating. Ever time Layla cried to nurse I would cry anticipating the pain. She looked like a little shark with her pupils all dilated and mouth chomping. Those were hard times. I had decided I very much wanted to continue and worried I wouldnÂt be able to. Jonathan had the idea to contact our local La Leche League for support. He got on the internet and found the number for a leader in our area. He gave Nancy a call. It turned out he knew Nancy from his hometown. They had been friends and gone to the same church. I knew this was more than coincidence.
Nancy gave me the time and location of the next meeting and I went. Marguerite, the other leader, showed me a bunch of different ways to position Layla that made latching so much easier. I was so relieved to find that a simple change in positioning was all it took to make thinks go smoother. Another member of the group hooked me up with a Pump In Style pump since I had to return to work after my six weeks leave was up. She had bought it thinking she was going to use it constantly and wound up never using it.
I returned home refreshed and confident armed with my new pump for work, a copy of The Art of Breastfeeding, nipple cream and a few back issues of New Beginnings. I am attending these meetings every month and have become a LLLI member. Once again this was all JonathanÂs idea to contact the LLL. I would of never of thought of it.
With the continued support of Jonathan and the ladies from my group I have been successfully pumping and breast feeding for four months now. Being able to nurse Layla after a work day has meant so much to me. It killed me that I couldnÂt stay home with her. The guilt was unbearable but I have to pay rent and Layla needed health insurance so I had to go. I am lucky enough to have an employer who fully supports me as a breast feeding mother so pumping at work is a non issue.
My mom and the rest of my family have been very supportive of my breast feeding endeavors as well. They always tell me how proud they all are of me. When I started stressing about putting Layla in daycare my mom volunteered to keep her for me. This made it so much easier to go back to work. I dreaded leaving her and cried my eyes out for the first couple of weeks but at least I knew she was getting plenty of love and attention. She wasnÂt sitting in a crib crying and being ignored.
When I pick Layla up from moms in the afternoons the first thing we do is nurse. It is our way of greeting each otherÂour reconnect after a long day. I look forward to it so much. All the stress of the day is gone the minute she looks up at me with those blueberry eyes while she sucks happily away. That milky smile she gives me is priceless. I canÂt put it into words. Nursing has made my separation from her more bearable. I know I can always look forward to our special time together. We nurse through out the night and into the morning when itÂs time for her to go back to GrandmaÂs. I even squeeze one last session in at grandmas before I leave to work. ItÂs like IÂm some kind of addict getting one last "hit" in. I NEED it to make it through my day.
I have become the opposite of what I started out as. The anti-breast feeder has turned into an enthusiastic pro-breast feeder. I am the Benedict Arnold of breast feeding. I have breast feeding gear spread through out my house. My bookshelf contains multiple books on the subject. I talk all the time to family, friends and co workers about the joys and benefits of breast feeding. I laugh at myself looking back now. How naÃ¯ve I was to make such judgments on something I knew nothing about. How ill informed I was. The truth is you canÂt understand the connection that comes with breast feeding at all until you have experienced it.
I thank God for Jonathan who, if not for him, I may not have had the privilege to share this experience with my daughter. He helped me get past my bias, supported me through tuff times and continues to cheer me on today. He is a great father, a fierce friend and all together a beautiful person. The support of family makes all the difference in the world as far as breast feeding success is concerned. I realize how blessed I am in the aspect. This other worldly bond I have with Layla would not exist without the encouragement of her father and I will forever be grateful to him for his persistence, guidance and loving support.
I also feel great pride knowing I am a role model for the twins. Maybe when they grow up and have their babies they will remember their sister and me sitting peacefully on the couch nursing and that will be something they want for themselves and their children. When that time comes I will be able to mentor them. They will be able to benefit from my experience and obviously they will always have their fathers full and heart felt support.
Daddy, Mommy and Layla Four hours old.