It is a unique feeling to know that you have nourished your baby from a cell, and you are able to continue to do so with your body while you hold your baby. I just wish it was as easy as continuing to take your vitamins and eating well. I decided to breastfeed early. Turns out producing milk, finding a latch, comfort, reminding myself to eat and learning my baby is hard. It was not till my baby was several weeks old that I could push the “That was Easy” button after a feeding.
At the hospital I was told to hold my son like a football. I had several nurses help me. And when I say help, what I really mean is grab my breast and mush my baby’s face in it. I couldn’t understand how that would work, and it didn’t. The staff assured me that he only needs a drop, but I had no idea if he even got a drop. I feared I was starving my baby. I started to top his feedings with formula just to ensure my son was full. When we got home, I continued to work on latching and comfort. I had blisters, I had swelling and I was struggling. I started to pump, and I found my confidence. I could see the milk. I started to trust my body; I started to find a latch with ease and comfort. I was finally breastfeeding. It was several weeks of struggle, tears and research. I was finally able to do this.
After all the stress to build a supply, figuring out how to feed my son. I was presented with a whole new level of problems. My chest touched my chin, it ached in pain, and it did not look familiar. My shirts were soaked if I ran just a few minutes late for a feeding. My hard earned liquid gold would escape me all because of a strangers crying baby. Everyone says that breastfeeding is difficult; no one told me that it would turn me into an unpredictable human milk machine. Or that feeding in public is a challenge of its own. Its hard because it goes beyond act of feeding. I never knew how complicated it could be. Regardless what you decide, breastfeeding or formula. Both are hard, demanding, and wonderful in their own way. I figured out breastfeeding with the support of my fiancé, but it was my baby who taught me.
I wonder what our next challenging adventure will be.
-Jessica Lanois “Once a globe-trotter now an entrepreneur and full time Mom”