Friday, April 4, 2008

Breastfeeding Soapbox

BFing is certainly more time consuming and challenging and emotionally charged than I imagined! I still remember the frstration and pain as we struggled to get a good latch, the wracking sobs while the doc told us we had to supplement for the first 2 weeks because my milk was slow to come in... Feeling like a failure and at the same time feeling angry because everyone at the hospital had pushed so hard (each with a different opinion) and I had suffered through a lot of pain and then being told I still had to supplement....

Things are working great now (we've made it 2 1/2 weeks with no formula as of today), but tomorrow it could all change. 2 days ago, JJ went from feeding every 3 hours to feeding every hour. Who knows what will be next?

I applaud each and every one who has tried, regardless of the results. We are having to learn a skill that is more art than science while dealing with sleep deprivation and the guilt from the well-meaning "armchair boobs"( who may or may not have experience or even the right equipment) around us telling us that we're not "doing it right." It is ironic that our culture today is all about "breast is best" while at the same time not providing the necessary environment to make it easy. I mean, for goodness sakes, there's a whole PROFESSION in telling women how to breast feed (enter lactation consultants). What does it say about our culture that such a profession is necessary?!?! And believe me, it is very necessary - it is a rare and fortunate mom in today's US that has the childhood and adolescent exposure to this art form such that it is second nature rather than a strange and some what foriegn concept. Yet, we are quick to judge and hand out guilt to those poor mothers who can't for whatever reason, manage to learn to do this.


Alisa at CA said...

I know EXACTLY what you mean about the breastfeeding... I had a little trouble getting my 3rd to "figure it out," whereas my first two were champions from the get-go. So, I sought some help from the lactation nurse, and my husband couldn't understand why *I* would need help when I'd done it relatively effortlessly twice before!

And about the lack of support/knowledge in our society... I've heard that it's partly because the idea of the extended family has gone by the wayside in our society (not to mention the fact that earlier generations were taught to NOT BF, because formula was supposed to be better). In societies where the extended family still lives under one roof, BF rates are very high.

Well, I really just wanted to come by and offer my sympathy for your BF struggles and also to mention that reverting to BF every hour is not at all uncommon. It's usually just a growth spurt, and nursing hourly helps to stimulate more production. It will usually normalize within days. Here's a trick I use... I always sneak in at least one extra pumping a day, just so my supply can stay one step ahead of the demand. That way, you aren't caught short on milk supply by the baby (you'll just notice that you can't pump quite as much for a few days). It helps to weather the growth spurts a little better. :)

Anyway, love the blog so I can keep up with ya, and don't be a stranger!

BeccaD4wn said...

Good point about the lack of extended family! And good advice about the pumping. It's amazing how something that seems so simple could be so hard... Thanks for the sympathy! :)