After a very tough, induced, and medicated birth, there she was my beautiful baby girl. Now what? I was very disoriented and emotionally drained and she was sleepy from the drugs. I put her to my breast and she just looked up at me. So we tried the old shove it in her mouth method, but that didn't work. After many attempts and just as many helping hands, a lovely lactation consultant floated into my hospital room and gave me a nipple shield to try. The shield seemed to work because my baby girl latched right away. We were off and running; me, my sweet baby and our artificial nipple!
Let me just say I think lactation consultants and breastfeeding educators are angels right here on earth. Many mama's get to continue successful feeding relationships with their loving guidance.
For me and my body all I needed was time to learn and I couldn't buy that in a store.
We continued our journey for a very, very (in my mind VERY) long time. These 10 months were filled with trials both emotional and physical. Turns out all the things I had purchased only added a lot of work, mainly dishes. It would be comical to have video tape of one of our night time feedings. Stumbling down stairs with a screaming hungry baby to get my artificial nipple that was probably still dirty from our last feeding. Washing, tripping over the dog, searching for some form of hydration! Only to sit down drop the nipple shield on the floor and start over... So that was our nightly routine. By day we did a lot of hiding in bedrooms, bathroom stalls and under blankets. Knowing deep down inside that this was the best thing for her, we continued. There were a lot of sweet times as well. In general, I felt I was missing the world as I sat in a bathroom stall.
With my second baby everything was different. First off, he was a boy! What do I do with a boy? During my pregnancy I took a Bradley childbirth class and my eyes were opened to an entirely different way to birth, feed and raise my babies. Who knew all I needed to nurse my baby were my very average, very amazing breasts. Also we added co-sleeping to our feeding arsenal and that was a game changer, no dishes, no tripping over my huge hairy dog and I didn’t have to wake my husband nearly as often. Just me, my baby and sleep! We continued until he was 1 year old. I made it to my goal and my confidence grew every day.
Fast forward to my third angel, another girl. A very unexpected surprise. I had breastfeeding and co-sleeping down. My biggest struggle with her was feeding on the go! I needed to grow a third arm or learn how to feed her in public. Chasing three kiddos around is not for the faint of heart. So I turned to La Leche League, this amazing group of women helped normalize nursing in public. This mother to mother support gave me the confidence and knowledge that I could be that mama at the park nursing her baby... not in the bathroom. Once at the state fair I sat down on a patch of grass to nurse my babe and my husband looks at me and says "Right here, you know everyone can see you?" My response" Well they eat in public and she is hungry." He just looked at me, smiled and sat down next to me. Did I mention he is now a natural childbirth educator with me and I often find him chatting with dudes about natural parenting! He is amazing. My youngest, little Rosie, is 2 now and still happily nursing. I cherish every single moment.
My experiences have taught me to trust my body, know where to find good help, and that all I need to feed my beautiful babies is me and my very average, very amazing breasts.