Friday, January 8, 2010

The Best Milk

This baby stuff is really winding down. My baby showers are quickly approaching. I have my long-term sub all ready to go and we were SO blessed to be switched to the exact doctor we wanted. There are 54 days until baby's due date and I have a ton of books to finish reading still.

What I'm about to say might be "controversial" to some but as I've said before my goal is to share my life in the real true colors of it, in the hopes that someone may be able to benefit from my thoughts.

With the coming of baby comes a TON of decisions. Cloth or disposable? Rooming in, family bed or in nursery? Breastfeed or bottle feed? All of the decisions have been pretty easy ones for Dirk and I. We have decided to use disposable (for the time being), baby will room in with us in her bassinet for the first couple months and I will breastfeed.

It's the breastfeeding part that really gets me. I'm all for breastfeeding, I understand the pros and cons and I'm 100% fully dedicated to it. With that said, I am more anxious and worried about breastfeeding than anything else. I decided that the best thing to do would be to read about it so that I could get rid of this fear of the unknown. I heard great things about "The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding" by the La Leche League so I borrowed it from a friend. I was so excited to sit down and read it but as I began reading I was totally turned off.

I totally agree that breastfeeding is a privilege and a special time for bonding with baby but the way this book portrays breastfeeding is as if it is almost a religious experience. I couldn't get through the first chapter. I don't want to get warm fuzzies when reading about breastfeeding. I want to know all the ins and outs. How do I do it? What are the complications that come with breastfeeding? And lets just be honest nothing is so amazing that it doesn't have it's down sides. What are the cons of breastfeeding? Surely there has to be some.

Finally, after trying to read through the first chapter like 3 times I just put it down and decided that it wasn't for me. I need a book that's gonna get down to the nitty gritty and tell me about all sides of breastfeeding. We went to Borders and I found a book called "Breastfeeding Sucks: What to do when your mammaries make you miserable." That sounded like a book for me but after reading a few pages I realized that it wasn't for me at this stage in the breastfeeding process. Then I saw "The Breastfeeding Book" by the ever trusty Dr. Sears. After flipping through his book I realized that it was exactly what I needed. All information, no warm fuzzies, just the facts. I have barely started reading it but I'm really glad that I decided to find another book.

I have to admit I felt a little guilty not reading "The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding" because so many women raved about how amazing it was and how it really depicted the true sense of breastfeeding. Maybe I'll feel differently once baby Dallas is born but at this point, "Please, just give me the facts!"


  1. I can identify with your feelings. When I first started reading The Womanly Art I got stuck too. But, here's the thing, I just moved on to the next chapter. Same thing with the next bit that didn't sit real well, just skipped on. I can't believe you read the first chapter 3 times!!! Especially if you weren't enjoying it. Dip in and out, read the mother's stories, but for goodness sake don't dismiss the book because you couldn't get past the first chapter :)

  2. Brynna,
    I didn't read the first chapter three times I tried three different times to get through the first chapter but just couldn't get interested. I did skim through the book and tried to read various other chapters but it's just not for me. I'm sure there's a ton of great things in there it's just now what I was looking for. Thanks for your suggestions though, I really appreciate it :)

  3. I really didn't read any books, and went into BF with an open mind. I'm not going to lie, breast feeding was one of the hardest things I have ever done. The first 4-6 weeks were the hardest. But there was somthing about how difficult it is that made me stick with it. I didn't want to not BF my baby bcause it was too hard for me. I wanted to make the choice for what was best for Adah. So we (Jon being a HUGE help) bit the bullet and stuck with it.

    You'll do great! Have the lactation consultants come in as much as possible in the hospital. Also, Ashlee gave me her mom's number and she was very availible! I'm sure she would do the same for you!

  4. I agree with Alyssa. You've gotta just dive in and figure out what works best for you. And a very understanding hubby can mean the world. Definitely use the lactation consultants, but don't ever question your own judgement. Some of them can be pretty pushy, so don't feel like you can't stand up for yourself.
    I didn't read many things about it beforehand, but I did attend a breastfeeding class before I gave birth. It was helpful to learn some of the cons and options for positioning.
    Like Alyssa, I was very determined to make it work, even though it was very tough. And it didn't start out so picture perfectly, but eventually she and I found our way and I was so glad to be able to do it for a year without ever having to give her formula once.

  5. At the risk of sounding like a parrot.. I also knew very little before beginning breastfeeding (I took an hour long class with Richie through Kaiser which just went over the basics like positions, etc.) but was determined to stick with it because of all the benefits. It wasn't until I started having problems that I began to read up on it. Luckily after the Kaiser class I went out and purchased a book the instructor had recommended called, The Nursing Mother's Companion by Kathleen Huggins (make sure to read the Amazon reviews- I think you'll be impressed by the author's credentials). I swear by this book!!! It's like an owner's manual. :) I have helped a few girlfriend's trouble shoot over the phone just by reading pertinent chapters of this book to them. I highly recommend it.

    Breastfeeding can be both a very special and a very overwhelming relationship but it is only for a season, so it is good to keep that in perspective. The hard stuff (mastitis, constant sour milk smell, no personal space, limited travel, new schedules all the time, ugly nursing bras, etc.)can be endured and the good stuff (extra cuddle time, a unique bond no one else had with the baby, super powered metabolism, knowing your body is sustaining another life, etc.) is so fleeting it's important to fully enjoy as much as you can. But of course enjoying it will have a lot to do with your success- so that's why I think that learning about it as much as possible is so important. Glad you are being proactive.

    And having the hubby support you is HUGE. Dirk can be very helpful by making sure you get a break from diaper changes at night, bringing you a glass of water EVERY TIME you nurse, making time for you to have a shower so you can have some precious 'alone and clean" time each day, thanking you for saving the family money on formula and giving the baby a superior nutritional start in life and buying you a pretty bra when the baby is weaned. (Hopefully Dirk is reading this :)

  6. I had to chime in again when I read Allison's response. Breastfeeding was very awkward for me at first, and I couldn't do it "just anywhere", so it was quite a process to sit down and get set up. It was inevitable that I forgot or needed something every single time. Knowing I was practically stuck there for the next 30-45 minutes, Jon was invaluable in fetching things and helping out. And yes Allison - most notably, WATER!!

    I found support from veteran moms and am still so thankful that my cons were "fixable", ie: I didn't suffer from low supply issues at all and I never got mastitis, though my dear friend did get an angry phone call from me one afternoon when I got my first clogged duct - "how come you never told me about this?!?"

    Harper didn't latch at first, which is a common occurence, especially in NICU babies, and I would have never thought of trying a nipple shield if the lactation consultant hadn't suggested it. It was invaluable and eventually we were able to do without - though that was part of the struggle I mentioned in my previous comment.

    I can sense your determination, and have a feeling you'll do fine, though don't expect it to be a walk in the park or perfect from the start. I know you're planning on going back to work, even for a few weeks, and you'll need the same determination for pumping at work, if that's what you decide to do. I did it for 10 months after I went back, and have learned plenty of tips and tricks I'd be happy to offer if that's your plan.

  7. Ladies,
    Thank you so much for your input. I really do find that the most valuable resources are from mommies themselves. I definitely know who to call on if I need some support. All of your comments are VERY helpful in easing my anxieties :)