I have a few things I'd like to write about this week, but I do want to post a few breastfeeding-related posts since it is World Breastfeeding Week.
Breastfeeding Bubby has been an entirely different journey than I imagined. When I was pregnant I thought, Oh this'll be easy. I've already done it for two+ years. Then I held my little newborn in my arms and, boy oh boy, I had to remember how to nurse a newborn. Way different than nursing a toddler! Of course, the learning curve was not nearly as steep and we both had the hang of it pretty quickly. And I was more confident. One of my strongest beliefs about breastfeeding, and breastfeeding with first-time moms in particular, is that you have to trust your body. I believe that is the biggest hurdle for new moms. It's not that they don't have enough milk, that it isn't coming in, or that their baby isn't getting enough milk -- it's that they don't trust that these things are happening even though they can't readily measure them. For the vast majority of moms breastfeeding can work. I'm not denying that there are instances that breastfeeding doesn't work, but, from my experience, many moms who give up early on because they didn't have enough milk really give up because they didn't trust their body. I'm not saying it's an easy thing to do; the mind game you have to win early on is a big one especially when one encounters multiple societal hurdles to complicate things.
This time I trusted my body. I didn't worry when my milk came in so fast and Bubby couldn't keep up. I knew it would level out eventually. I didn't worry when Bubby wanted to nurse every 45minutes. I knew that was him growing, his demand for milk signaling my body to supply more. I didn't worry when it seemed like I didn't have any milk because I knew my supply would catch up soon. Breastfeeding is all about supply and demand. The increased confidence I had nursing number two was a great help.
Then, when Bubby was about two weeks old the colic started. And boy that was hard. He wouldn't nurse to calm down. He just screamed. He acted like he wanted to nurse. He acted like he was hungry, but he wouldn't latch on. I never once worried that this was because I didn't have any milk. I just kept offering, trying to comfort him. It was very different that I couldn't comfort him in the those evenings by nursing like I did with Beanie. I tried everything to comfort him. What worked one day didn't work the next. Heck, what worked one hour often wouldn't work the next. But we kept tying to figure it out. I was exhausted. It was frustrating. Most of all my heart ached for my poor little baby who was in so much discomfort.
Then I eliminated dairy. That wasn't so hard; I just wanted to see if it helped. It seemed to. A little.
Then we had thrush. And had thrush again. And again.
Then I eliminated all of the top eight allergens from my diet. I won't lie, it was hard. There were times I wanted to cry because it seemed so hard.
Then it got easier. And Bubby started feeling better. Any short-lived sacrifice I had to go through seemed more than worth it.
It's been a journey, that's for sure. I won't lie and say there haven't been days when I wonder why my boobs seem so deflated and wonder what's going on with my supply. Usually, I usually encounter huge full-of-milk boobs a day or two later so I know it's just my body working. Bubby's body growing. I look to the signs of a successful breastfeeding relationship -- a healthy, growing baby and lots of pee & poop -- and we have both. At 4 1/2 months old Bubby weighs the same as Beanie did at 9 months old. For all the trouble we've encountered along this journey he hasn't suffered in the growth department.
Last week when I called my mom in tears she said, "I guess you wouldn't want to give up breastfeeding..." and no, I wouldn't. That thought has never crossed my mind. I definitely have thought, If I was a first time mom I could really see how it might look appealing to throw in the towel on this. But, I persevered. We persevered. I'm glad I've had support, both online and in real-life, to forge through these first few months with Bubby because they definitely weren't what I imagined. I hope someday I can help provide the support for someone else to persevere through similar tough times. Because it's all worth it.
Here's to a long breastfeeding journey with Bubby. Who knows what the future will hold. I, for one, feel like I can handle it.