There's no question breastfeeding has its challenges. From the shape of mom's nipples to the neck rotation of the baby, it all has an impact. But I never knew what would kill our breastfeeding relationship would go undetected for so long, although it was right under my nose. Or rather my baby's nose.
I was one of those women who proudly proclaimed, "I bottle fed my kids and they're all fine." And they are fine. The thing is though, now that I work as a postpartum nurse, a great percentage of my time on the unit is spent teaching and assisting new moms. And I get breastfeeding now. I totally could have rocked this gig. But I didn't because I was too tired.
Well done. Any wayward young girl or new mother who considers you a role model may now elect not to breastfeed her child. All because of your inaccurate, uneducated, misguided and -- truly -- disgusting sentiments about what is one of the most loving, selfless and beautiful relationships a mother can have with her baby.
Some things I remember clearly about the first days after my sons were born. I was zapped, emotional and incredibly vulnerable. So I can't imagine having a document thrust at me that essentially guilt-trips me into swearing that I will breastfeed my newborns or else risk exposing them to "significant illness and disease."
Eighteen years ago, fathers offered moral support with breastfeeding through fetching a glass of water for the wife. Now, things are different. This generation of dads is not leaving their partners' side to go home. Dads want to be involved in breastfeeding, and taking care of their partners and babies.
Before I delivered by first son I knew basically nothing about post-delivery recovery. I knew a minimal amount from medical school. There would be bleeding and soreness. I didn't need a medical degree to assume that. What to really expect was a mystery. These aren't things that moms and moms-to-be discuss very often, at least not in my social circle.
Tears in my eyes, I looked up from my nursing chair at The Hubster, who had our hungry newborn daughter in his arms. I felt like I was trapped in a cruel science experiment to determine how much nipple pain an exhausted new mother could take in two hour intervals before she cracked. Expectant first-time moms: Breastfeeding is hard.
I'll be the first to admit that kids are time-sucks. They can literally consume every waking second you have by demanding all of your attention. And if you have more than one and they're young, good luck trying to "nap when the baby naps." What if they're on different nap schedules? What if that's the only time you get to have a shower or eat something that requires both hands?
Even though mothers are anxious to see their child latching well and feeding on the breast, to know that their particular experience is occurring in most every room on the ward, does help somewhat to dispel the belief that they have done something wrong, that there is something wrong with them, and/or that their baby will never breastfeed.