Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Strange Milk or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Boob

I am self admittedly a recent convert to the breastfeeding legion of mommies. My mother formula fed all of her children- and let me go ahead and say there is nothing wrong with any of us (ok maybe my siblings, but not me- just kidding...ha...).

Tim and I had briefly discussed it as an abstract concept before even trying to have kids, much in the same way you talk about all kinds of things you've not yet experienced or situations where you try to think you know how you'll react. He and his sisters were all breastfed and he jokingly insisted his theoretical child would be. Anyone who knows me at all knows I'm a stubborn Southern gal, and I do not take kindly to ever being told what I am going to do.

I was one of those people who thought it was "weird." Probably because I hadn't grown up with it, and the only memory I have of seeing it was at a water park where a very endowed mother was feeding a very not so small child. That probably mortified me and turned me off to the idea of ever breastfeeding. Wait- actually that IS what mortified me.

I've been blessed to teach a speech class at the collegiate level for many years now. Each class I always learn something from the various speeches- and I can remember a few students selecting breastfeeding topics. I've also had friends here and there talk about the benefits (can we say FREE FOOD). So in general I knew that breast probably was, in fact, best.

I've already mentioned the birthing class that Tim and I took, but we also took a follow up breastfeeding class as well. And let me pause to say: the lactation consultant at St Francis is Ah-may-ZING! Like seriously- we couldn't be more blessed to know Carolyn (she taught one half of our birthing class as well). For any of my friends to yet have babies and be down with all the lingo- a lactation consultant is a person who is basically a boobie/milk whisperer. They know everything, or well at least Carolyn does! If you choose to breastfeed, I highly recommend getting in touch with one and making sure it's a service your hospital offers (once again big kudos to the very pro-breastfeeding St Francis). The class was so helpful and really did give me a good base for what to expect when it came time to feed the little one. It definitely sealed the deal for me in terms of wanting to try and exclusively breastfeed our little one.

We were also blessed that so far, knock on wood, we haven't had any issues. Baby girl is almost three months, which means I've almost made it three months breastfeeding exclusively. And I'm kind of obsessed- at least with learning about and talking to others about it. I love the Kellymom website! It has great information. I also loved attending a support group that is offered once a week at St Francis. I have not been able to go because of my return to work, but I plan to attend this week on my late lunch hour.

Because I will be honest again- breastfeeding exclusively is a full time job and it is not easy. These women who make it out to be hearts and rainbows must make a happy hormone that I am lacking because starting out I was miserable (and some days I'm still miserable). Not only are you constantly feeding at first to establish your supply- the poop! Oh the poop monitoring! I have to know about each color and consistency of her poop! I never thought I would become a poop aficionado! It's enough to give me anxiety attacks. Enter the support group- it makes things so much better and it has only fueled my passion for learning more about breastfeeding.

Like I said, I'm a little obsessed and obviously a person who gets easily anxious. I was incredibly worried about returning to work and having to pump. Especially lugging this giant bag of breastmilking supplies around. I keep three sets of pumping parts so I don't have to waste time cleaning at work. I feel guilty already having to pump at work- even though I know it is my legal right and I've got it set up so I can work and pump at the same time. But, all seems to be going well. I chug a ton of Gatorade :) I'm constantly updating stats on my Pump Log app- 250 oz in the freezer yall!!!

All this to say, I'm really glad I tried something outside of my comfort zone. I feel like I'm doing the absolute best I can for this tiny little human. I certainly don't think formula is poison or anything, so if I were to "run dry" tomorrow, I'd be sad, but I know we'll all survive. Some moms can't breast feed and some simply choose not to do it- and that's their right as a mom. Babies still keep on :)

***Update*** So I originally wrote most of this a couple of weeks ago- a little here and there. I thought I should include that I truly feel like I've been inducted into the legion of breastfeeding moms because last week on my work trip I nursed in the car at a rest stop and I just didn't care. And, bless her heart, if you're my Facebook friend then you know I got walked in on at work today by my work study student. Doesn't even phase me (even though she may be mortified). It's so funny to me how we are all almost ashamed of our bodies to the point of hiding what really is a sweet moment between a mother and child. I'm not saying I'm about to throw my boob in your face, no I'm still likely to cover it up, but it's just something to think about why we're so ready to hide.
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