I was inspired by Amalah's post about breastfeeding to discuss my experience of nursing. To me, I did not even need to choose whether or not I was going to breastfeed or not. It is what I had planned on my entire life and, I felt, the best option for me and my daughter. I completely understand if other people choose not to breastfeed and sympathize with those who simply are unable to do so for various reasons. I have no right to judge if people do not breastfeed and vice versa.
Prior to giving birth I was nervous that I would have a hard time with it. You hear so many things about women whose milk never came in, low supply or latching problems, so it was always in the back of my mind. I did cut myself some slack, knowing that if I did have a problem, formula was not a bad thing. It is just my belief that the nutritional benefits is better with breastfeeding.
Sonya was in the NICU for a couple of days since she had fluid in her lungs right after she was born. She was hooked up to IV's and I could barely hold her, let alone breastfeed. The hospital lactation consultant was having me pump 8 times per day to get my supply going since I could not nurse. It was frustrating and depressing to say the least. I did not get the chance for Sonya to be in my room as we tried to breastfeed. I did not get my first chance until she was 2 days old. The doctors would not release her until they saw that she would be fine off of IV's. The NICU nurses stood by me every step of the way as I sat in the NICU on a chair, Sonya hooked up to all kinds of cords while I fumbled around trying to get her to latch on. Since I still did not have my milk, the nurses gave her formula through either a bottle, finger feeding or attaching a small tube to my boob while she attempted to nurse.
Once the doctors saw that she knew how to latch on we were free to go and also given some formula to use until my milk came in. It finally did about 4 or 5 days after she was born and I have been loving breastfeeding since. Despite the nipple blisters in the beginning (ouch!), it has been so rewarding. To me when I breastfeed Sonya, it is the time where we are the closest, both physically and emotionally. I feel it has been a great bonding experience and I know I am so lucky to be able to experience it. I always know that no matter how pissed off she is, giving her the boob will always calm her down. And the nutritional value is an obvious added bonus.
Right around when she was 3 weeks old we started giving her bottles of pumped milk. It usually at night when she is hungriest. I use low flow nipples on the bottles to not confuse her and so she still has to work for it. Now I give her bottles whenever we go out anywhere in public. I have yet to breastfeed in public. I just don't think I am good at it since whenever I use the Hooter Hider at home when company is around, she gets mad from being too hot or having something over her.
I don't know how long I will breastfeed for. I will kind of just play it by ear. I already can tell my supply has gone down a bit so I have supplemented with formula every once and awhile. Once I go back to work I will continue pumping throughout the day but I am sure we will continue to supplement when needed.
I love breastfeeding Sonya. It has been such an awesome experience. It took some determination to get past the first few weeks of learning the technique and for her to learn to latch properly. I am grateful for the lactation consultant who always took my phone calls.
Off the boob track... the other day I was boiling a bunch of her pacifiers to sterilize them (I do have a sterilizer you stick in the microwave but it is too annoying for me) and I contemplated tossing in some eggs to hard boil at the same time. What's wrong with multi-tasking? I made the wise decision and opted to just use another pan for the eggs, who knows where those eggs have been...like maybe a chicken or something.