The Art of Breastfeeding
If you are a momma that is struggling to perfect the art of breastfeeding, unfortunately, you are in the wrong place. This blog is not about how to perfect the art, but rather to describe how it is an art.
The picture that you see featured above is a portrait of the last time that I put my baby on my breast. It was time for us to stop, but that doesn't mean it was easy. I was trying so hard to hang on. My supply had dropped, and nursing just wasn't enjoyable anymore for either one of us. I grabbed my camera and asked my husband to snap some shots of us for our last feed.
Before I had a baby, I thought that breastfeeding was natural and would be easy. I thought I would just put my nipple in his mouth and he would nurse. Oh, I was no naive. After he was born, the nurses told me to try to feed him. I held him as I thought I was supposed to, but he was having trouble latching.
"Try holding him like a football," one of the nurses said. "Here, put this pillow here, and that pillow there. Hold the back of his head with this hand, and hold your breast with that hand. He may be mad because you don't have milk yet. Here, squeeze as much colostrum on the spoon as you can get. You have to wait until he opens his mouth and from a certain angle, put his mouth on your nipple".....
My head was about to explode. I was given packets to read and had a lactation specialist come to the room everyday. I was in so much pain and had to squeeze whatever colostrum I could get out onto a spoon. Finally on the day we were about to leave the hospital, milk started to come in.
I will never forget getting home and having no nurses or lactation specialist. I had him on one breast and a Haaka on the other. There were times we were both frustrated. So many tears were shed. Did I mention that was just getting him to latch? I still had to keep my supply up. I had to wake up all hours of the night, whether he was up or not to pump. I turned to the pump for a while and mostly bottle fed him using what I pumped.
When I returned to work, my supply dropped, and I was no longer able to exclusively breastfeed him. We made it four months without using any formula. I felt like I lost, but I know now that there is nothing wrong with feeding my baby formula. Specialist love to give you a hard time, but I know so many children, including myself, who were not breastfed and are perfectly fine!
So, yes, breastfeeding is an art. It is a skill. Sometimes our bodies are not built for breastfeeding at all, or for only a short while. Some women enjoy every second of it, and some struggle and dislike it.
I end this by saying, the struggle bonded us. He was patient with me as I learned how to place him on my breast, and I was patient with him as he learned how to latch. I would do this a million times over. I will never forget the first time I placed him on my breast, and now I will never forget the last time I did.