Saturday, December 10, 2011

"So that's what they're for!"

So this post should probably have a little disclaimer if you are anywhere near a super private person and if the subject makes you uncomfortable then I'm sorry you should probably just stop reading now! I've got a little something to say about this and I'm not going to be shy about it! :)

I hate how in this country there is a stigma associated with breastfeeding.  So many people have a issues with getting their babies to breastfeed and are embarrassed to get help.  Sure there are lactation consultants at the hospital but their way of doing things are a lot different then if you saw a doula that was a lactation specialist.  In our country we have to have a giant blanket covering our whole upper body so nobody feels "uncomfortable".  Seriously?! If you are uncomfortable about me breastfeeding than here is a thought, don't watch! Ugh who would have thought of that?  Apparently we are now so ashamed of our bodies that women can't breastfeed without being behind a closed door with a blanket over us, so that nobody else feels "uncomfortable"!  You want to know what's really uncomfortable?  A newborn latching on only to your nipple and pulling! You can talk to me about how breastfeeding makes you feel uncomfortable when you actually know what it's like.  

Stepping off my soap box now.

So your probably wondering where on earth is this coming from she doesn't even have her baby yet?  Well I got the AMAZING opportunity to attend a 3 hour breast feeding intensive class where we learn about the basics of breastfeeding, the benefits, positions and latching (yes, with baby dolls), and common problems and what you can try to fix it.  My childbirth teacher was teaching the class at the Agape Birth Center and I asked her if it would be beneficial to me to wait until the baby was already born to go to one, or before.  She was so sweet when she said if you take the class before you will be so much more prepared for it and you could potentially avoid some of the struggles that other women experience.

I learned so much at this class! There were 5 of us who were expecting and 1 women who had her baby girl just 2 days ago.  It was such a special opportunity to have her there.  She was very open and not shy.  This was her second child.  Her first child she had such a hard time breastfeeding that she said she gave up and used formula.  She was crying while she said that because she knows that if she had just sought out the help and had been more prepared from the start should could have nursed him, she said that she was willing to do anything to nurse her new baby.  It was a very beautiful experience being able to actually see someone nursing and she was so open that she let Katy (the instructor) pretty much walk all of us through it. just sitting right in front of us.  All I've ever seen of breastfeeding was a women covered up with a blanket, I had never really seen a child actually nursing and let me tell you it was the most amazing beautiful thing!

There are so many benefits to breastfeeding

Benefits for Baby!

  • Early breast milk (colostrum) is literally liquid gold- nothing beats it! It provides baby with so many nutrients and antibodies to protect them, help them thrive, and fight diseases.
    • Formula fed babies have a lot higher risk (not a guarantee) of asthma, obesity, diabetes, and gastrointestinal track infections.  
  • Since breast milk is a living organism it's easier for baby to digest 
  • No formula changes with the growth of your baby.  Your breast milk changes from colostrum to mature milk around the 3rd to 5th day after birth.  Mature milk contains just the right amounts of fat, sugar, water, and protein for your little one.  
Benefits for Mommy! 
  • Life can be a little bit easier! Obviously your going to spend the first while feeding every 2-3 hours but eventually the feedings will get a little longer in length and your baby will sleep longer stretches as well.  When that happens it makes going out a lot easier, you don't have to make formula ahead of time.  Think about all the time you can save by not having to make, measure, and sterilize! 
  • It feels good! Yes for a while it can and will hurt because your nipples are not conditioned to it yet.  But when you nurse you are releasing oxytocin in your brain because of the skin to skin contact with your baby.  It can help them feel more secure, warm, and comforted.  It's a great way to bond with your baby! 
  • Breastfeeding saves you $
  • It's good for your own health.  You bounce back to your prebaby weight faster.  Breastfeeding is linked to lower risk of health problems such as, 
    • Diabetes
    • Ovarian cancer
    • Breast cancer
    • Postpartum depression
I don't want it to come across that I think that women who formula feed are bad moms! Cause that is not the case! Sometimes due to medical reasons a baby is unable to nurse and I think at that point the best thing that you can do is try to pump, pray, seek help, and hope for the best.

This class taught me so much valuable information especially about how critical it is to start breastfeeding right after birth and how we choose to labor and give birth can effect breastfeeding as well.  Whatever drugs and fluids (like an IV) you get your baby gets as well.  But think about how small their body is and how much they are getting?  It's very common to see babies whose mothers have gotten epidurals to come out lethargic and unresponsive, this makes them being able to latch properly very difficult which makes it hard for your milk to let down.  In addition pacifiers and bottles should be introduced till after 6 weeks.  This isn't really due to much to nipple confusion but really the flow of the bottle.  When you bottle feed your baby never has to work for it, but when you breastfeed the milk just doesn't poor out, they have to give it a little effort! 

I just want to end with how grateful I am to have a body that God created that has given me the greatest privilege to be able to nurse my baby.  I know that I am more prepared now than I was yesterday, and that this class taught me that if this is really important to me to not give up.  If I have problems with nursing I am completely dedicated to providing my daughter with what I see as the very best source of nutrition.  I just want to share the information that I learned with other mothers and future-mothers because it has already blessed my life and I definitely feel empowered. 

1 comment:

  1. I loved nursing. You definitely have to be the type of person that can just sit for 30 min. at a time and relax to feed but it is worth it. I was always sad to quit at a year. You will like it. It hurts a lot, especially at the beginning and maybe for a while but the pain goes away and then it's just fun.