The Joys, and Trials, of Breastfeeding

Inspire Natural Parenting Contest
9 months of throwing up. 8 days past the due date. 24 hours of labor, followed by 3 hours of pushing, to be topped off with an emergency C-section.
Nothing about my pregnancy could seem to be classified as easy or natural. In fact, I felt as if the whole experience somehow betrayed all my fantasies of the wonder and miracle of pregnancy and childbirth.

Nothing went as it was supposed to, except for breastfeeding. It was the one area in which all went right.I had planned on breastfeeding because of the wonderful benefits it provides your baby and you. It’s by far the best nutritional choice and gives both mother and child a plethora of health benefits as well. What I had no idea I’d be getting was the beautiful experience of “feel good” chemicals released from it, so needed during those 3 a.m. diaper changes; an amazing bond with my newborn like no other, formed due to the unique closeness providing my baby nourishment gave; and the added perk of losing all my baby weight plus 10 lbs all while eating like an elephant.

Was it all glamour and cuddles? Goodness no! Even with a trip to the lactation consultant I was a bag of nerves in the hospital. I was just convinced that because I wasn’t able to nurse Amber as soon as she was born, or even see her until hours later, she’d have attachment and latching issues. I just knew they were going to give her formula and a bottle in the nursery while I was in recovery and she’d be scarred for life. Each nurse had a different suggestion, a different method that I should try. I freaked out because she was sleeping too much (I know, what was I thinking?) the second day and didn’t want to wake up to eat. They forgot to bring me the “nipple grease” and I actually cracked all over and started bleeding.
That was just while at the hospital. Once we got home I had some latching problems. My lactation consultant gave me some weird looking contraptions to help, definitely weren’t the most comfortable devices I assure you! When I did manage to get Amber to latch it took all I had to keep from yelping in pain. Until you “toughen up” it hurts!!!! And yes, even if you are doing it right it still hurts until your body gets used to it! Add to that the mortified look on hubby’s face when my milk came in, and went right through my shirt…
Eventually we got into the swing of things though and before long it was so second nature I could practically nurse her in my sleep.
I have always been an advocate of nursing the whole first year to reap all the benefits, but knew by Amber’s first birthday she’d be weaned. I’d always thought “extended nursing” was a little weird.
We ended up moving across the country on Amber’s first birthday. In order to ease the transition I decided to continue breastfeeding. Around 16 months old I realized that Amber had pretty much weaned herself and we were only doing the “before bed” feeding which she wasn’t acting very interested in anymore. That night I decided to put her to bed without it. She didn’t even notice, but I could have cried.
Although it did have its challenges breastfeeding was one of the most special experiences for me of Amber’s babyhood.
And to say that about a time which was filled moment by moment by time freezing, earth shaking, tear bringing wonderful moments, that’s saying quite a lot.