Before Jamayia was born, we chose to breastfeed. We’d always heard that nursing was really the best option for baby, but it was moreso heresay. After we attended our pre-natal course, it helped to confirm our decision.
In a nutshell, we learned how breastfeeding benefits both mom & baby. The release of hormones while nursing helps your uterus to shrink back down during your post-partum period. There’s reduced risk of certain cancers for mom as well. Baby gets certain vitamins and nutrients from breastmilk that aren’t so easy to replicate. The most amazing thing for us to learn was that breastmilk is so complex that science is not able to break it down and identify all the various components of the milk. There are some other plusses as well–nursing is affordable (free–yeah!); it’s very portable; the milk is always at the perfect temperature. To be fair, there are also some minuses too–it can be painful if the latch is wrong; can be extremely painful if your baby has thrush (ugggg!!!); nursing in public ain’t always easy.
We’re happy with our choice. We’ve encountered our naysayers, like on day 2 of feeding. The day we left the hospital, an unfriendly & strange nurse (she wasn’t assigned to me during my stay) had the gall to suggest that I was doing a poor job at feeding Jamayia because she had lost so much of her birth weight. (FYI–the grand majority of babies lose some of their birth weight, but they will regain it and then some within the first couple weeks of life). She went so far as to even suggesting supplementing with formula. I politely declined. Lucky for her, baby was hungry as we were waiting for the green light to leave, so I got to feed with this hawk over my shoulder. I left the nurse speechless because both baby & myself did everything correctly. The nurse then chose to have the public health nurse come see us the following day. Lo and behold, Jamayia gained weight and the public health nurse had no concerns either. She eats like a champ!
We also had our run-in with thrush, which is a yeast infection. When Jamayia would latch on, it would feel as though she were pulling shards of glass through my nipples. It was pain that made you literally yell. Thanks to antibiotics for both myself and her and a heap of prayers, the thrush cleared up.
We’re now working at becoming more comfy with breastfeeding in public. I’m not one of those ‘flashy-boob-mom’ types (that’s soooo not my personality), so, in the pre-natal phase, I often wondered to myself how feeding my baby would work for me. Since I wanted to breastfeed, and do it politely and discreetly, I wondered if I’d have to completely sacrifice forever and be housebound for a few months or what. It’s amazing how comfortable and how quickly I warmed up to the idea of nursing in public after the baby was born. I invested in a couple of decent nursing shirts and a couple of huge blankets, and eventually a nursing canopy. I also tried to time my outings so that we’d be out in the super public (aka: the mall or any place that houses a huge amount of people) when she wasn’t hungry. I’m finding that when you don’t make nursing in public a big, dramatical episode, people respect you and treat you kindly. It also helps that many places now either have nursing rooms or are nursing-mom friendly or are slowly evolving into nursing-friendly environments.
All that being said, this is only month 3 of Jamayia’s life, so I’m sure we’ll encounter more feeding fun & follies as she grows…