~Please read at your own discretion. This post contains my opinions and views of breastfeeding, as well as some intimate details of our nursing experience.~
Before Lawson was born, I did not intend on nursing him. To me, breastfeeding was just weird and I couldn’t imagine having a baby attached to me like that. However, I had heard all of the benefits of breastfeeding so I knew I wanted to give my new baby his mama’s milk. I planned to pump my milk to feed him, but as pregnancy went on and I felt more and more love for the baby growing inside of me, I decided I would give nursing a try. Now, you could probably consider me a “lactivist” because I’m so pro-breastfeeding!
What Changed My Mind
In our childbirth class, they showed a video of a baby doing “the birth crawl” after being placed on his mama’s abdomen immediately after birth. This precious little being managed to inch his way up to mama’s breasts and begin nursing with no guidance or interference from anyone else. It had to be one of the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen, and I so wanted to experience this with my own baby. Ya can’t get more natural than that, and it’s amazing how God designed our bodies to feed our babies and he designed our babies to know how to do that instinctively. Not to degrade this bond between humans, but just think about animals. They need no lactation specialists or proper techniques. It’s just natural.
Well my birth story with Lawson wasn’t how I had ideally pictured it, and I didn’t know how to speak up for these things that I desired so I didn’t get to experience that immediate bonding when Lawson was born. Hopefully my birth plan and new doctor will help me to get my wishes this time around with Linkin’s birth, but that’s a story for another day.
My Nursing Story
Nursing Lawson was not easy. It was a struggle. I felt so many emotions as a new mother, and it would’ve been so easy to give up and just give him formula… but I really didn’t want to. I wanted him to have mama’s milk. I nursed Lawson for about two months and then I began an in-home childcare business which didn’t allow me to nurse like I wanted. With the struggles of still learning to nurse, I didn’t see how I could do that and care for other small children at the same time. Somehow I managed to still pump milk, but I remember how difficult it was to find time to get away to do so, even briefly. I supplemented with formula and just pumped what I could for seven months. I did not want to stop giving my baby his mama’s milk, even if it was just a small amount through a bottle. I tried just about everything for increasing milk supply, but I would pump around the clock and only make about 12 oz. a day. Obviously, not near enough for a seven month old, and it was stressing me out working so hard for something that I wasn’t succeeding at. It was a very emotional decision, but I decided to stop pumping. Ever since then, I’ve had an even greater desire to do more the next time around. I want to be a pro at this with Linkin!
Let me now share with you my 2 New Rules for myself with nursing, and then I’ll get into the reasons behind them.
Rule #1 – I will NOT nurse my baby in a bathroom.
A few days before Lawson turned a month old, my grandfather had a quadruple bypass surgery. I wanted to be there for it, but that meant traveling three hours by myself as a new mom with my newborn. We did it, but it wasn’t easy as we were still learning to nurse together. Getting him to latch was often difficult, and I felt it was just easier to get away to try and feed him. We asked some hospital employees for a place to nurse, and the only suggestion they had was a private bathroom. Looking back, I realize how appalling this was. What if we suggested they go eat their lunch in this private bathroom? Um, no. But anyway, that is where I went to nurse. Sometimes I would wait for the bathroom to become available, only to have people knocking every few minutes. It was the most annoying thing ever! During one of our feedings, the bathroom was occupied, so I opted to use the man’s private bathroom. Bad decision! I can just remember it smelling awful, and I must have been some kind of a terrible mother to make my baby eat in such a degrading way. Please don’t leave me comments telling me how awful I was. I feel bad enough already, and it’s in the past. That’s why I am vowing to never do that again, but for the remainder of our time at the hospital, I used a private waiting room to nurse Lawson. We were lucky that it was available for each of the feeding times we need it to be.
Rule #2 – I will not leave a place where I am allowed to be to go and nurse my baby.
I can just remember those first few days home with Lawson. People would come to see us. We’d visit for a while and have good conversation, but then it was time to feed the baby so I would take the baby to the nursery and feed him. All the while, I’m trying to see if I can still hear the conversation going on without me in the living room. I just didn’t like this feeling of isolation, in my own home.
I’m not sure what my reasons for leaving the room were exactly. It could be that I was trying to be respectful of our guests, or it could be that I just found it easier since we were still learning how to nurse together. I probably can’t promise this one as easily either… if my baby and I are still learning to nurse and he needs to eat, I’m going to feed him. I’ll try to use a cover and be as modest as I possibly can be (when guests are in my home or I’m in the presence of the general public), but I can’t promise that I be able to successfully nurse modestly under a cover with Linkin. I remember doing a lot of maneuvering under that cover with Lawson – it was not easy.
Gosh, I remember trying to feed him in a corner booth at Applebee’s. There was hardly anyone in the restaurant, and I was pretty hidden in the corner so maneuvering under the cover wasn’t as difficult. But since we were still learning to nurse, Lawson wasn’t latching on well. It led to screaming which drew attention our way. Something no one would have probably noticed me doing suddenly became “what is going on with that baby she’s got under that cover?!”. Since we were finished eating, I put up the boob and decided to finish feeding Lawson in the car… away from everyone looking at me. And yes, by this time he was pretty hungry and still screaming, all the while my milk is leaking everywhere as you can imagine. Lawson finally calmed down when he realized he could just lick the milk from my belly, and then we were able to finish nursing normally for the rest of the feeding. So you see, sometimes I guess I left because it was just easier for me. Maybe I didn’t like people looking in my direction while I struggled to get this task done. That wasn’t a special bonding moment for me, but a really funny story I can laugh about now.
All I can really promise is that I will do my best to nurse Linkin. I will try not to be embarrassed or shamed or feel like I am disrespecting the people around me by feeding my baby the natural way. I’m just gonna need some encouragement, and lots of it.