Monday, March 18, 2013

My New Outlook On Breastfeeding

I attempted breastfeeding with Janie and Walt with limited success.  I think I lasted 8 weeks with Jane and 5 weeks with Walt.  I wrote about the experience in a previous post.  

Passed out with Walt in the nursery our first day home from the hospital
I was able to start feeling Baby kick a few weeks ago, and he or she gives me regular reminders throughout the day (and night!) that they are there.  18 weeks into this pregnancy, I'm allowing myself to daydream about life with Baby.  A lot of that daydreaming centers around trying to breastfeed again.  I had such a difficult experience with it the last two times, but plenty has happened since my last attempt.  

Losing baby Thérèse in November changed me in a lot of ways, and I think one of those ways is my outlook on breastfeeding.  While I still think that breastfeeding is sacrificial and a lot of hard work (breastfeeding mamas are my heroes!), I find myself thinking about it more as a gift than a burden that I'm dreading.  

I view my body in a completely different way than I did during previous pregnancies.  I was never terribly preoccupied with the weight gain during previous pregnancies, but I did dread the post-pregnancy body.  This time, it's not even on my radar.  I just ache to have this precious baby in my arms!  I want to see this precious little miracle face to face and tell him or her that everything we went through since November was well worth the gift of their life.  

As I get further along, I am viewing the physical discomforts from my burgeoning belly differently.  I developed some sciatica in the last few weeks.  The first time I felt the lower pain in my back, I actually smiled because it was a reminder that Baby is growing big and strong and that my belly is getting big enough to cause that pain like it did with Walt.  I never had that pain with Thérèse.  By no means am I prayerfully saying "thank you, God!" for every moment of discomfort, but I am trying to offer it up whenever possible in exchange for the supreme gift of this baby.

Realizing what a gift each baby is is helping me to rethink breastfeeding.  I will place it higher as a priority--especially those first few weeks.  I will be a better advocate for myself this time around.  
  • I'll kick out visitors if necessary.  
  • I won't put the pressure on myself to get my supply up to where I think it should be right away.  Instead, I'll supplement with formula if necessary to take that pressure off.  
  • I'll be less afraid to pull out my nursing covers when I'm out and about or have people over.  This will mean making those around me that aren't familiar with nursing uncomfortable.  The old me would have worried about that, but I'm not going to be a recluse every time Baby needs to eat.  I have no interest in flashing my breasts to strangers, but I do have an interest in being comfortable feeding Baby regardless of the time or place.  
  • At the suggestion of a friend, I will take the time to go to a specialty boutique at the hospital where I am delivering to get professionally sized once my milk comes in so that I have the right nursing bras.  Ladies, we all know what a difference the right bra makes for us--especially if we are larger in that department!  
  • I won't be afraid to admit when it isn't going well and ask my dear friends that have nursed where I'm going wrong rather than giving up on the endeavor altogether.  
Unlike previous pregnancies, I am actually taking this to prayer.  I am asking God to bless me with (1) the ability to breastfeed this baby successfully and (2) the wisdom to know what my limits as a wife and mother are.  If I hit a major roadblock with breastfeeding (like low supply or exhaustion), I pray that God will help me to discern what I can do to fix the problem, and discern if I need to let something go.  For example, perhaps low supply will allow me to continue nursing only if I supplement with formula, and I will ask God to help me to accept that.   

In anticipating and daydreaming about the day that Baby arrives, the planner in me thinks about what day-to-day life will be like.  Baby is due on August 17th.  Jane will be starting preschool a week or two later, and by then, Walt will seem more like a little boy than an oversized baby.  

I know adjusting to having a newborn again will have its fair share of challenges.  I haven't forgotten about the lack of sleep, the frequent diaper (and wardrobe!) changes for Baby (and sometimes me!), or how limiting a newborn's schedule can be.  Fortunately, I'm realizing that being a stay-at-home mom allows me to take on these challenges on my own timeline and one day at a time.  Nonetheless, I daydream about the nighttime feedings in the nursery, the lotion massages after bathtime, and cuddling on the couch as a family...  

Baby, we can't wait to meet you!             


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I love this post... because I can totally relate to the struggles! I understand you got to nurse your babies and have that bonding, and I hope for you and your little one you can continue next time for longer :) James took about 6-7 weeks to get "ok" at another 2-3 weeks to get pretty good at it. I love it and I hope you can go longer with your next baby!