Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Breastfeeding Obstacles: Not All Obstacles are Physical

I never wanted to breastfeed.  My husband expressed his strong support of breastfeeding long before children were even really a thought.  I was a formula fed baby and just assumed I would do the same with any future children, even after hearing my husband’s point of view.  Two miscarriages later and finally a healthy baby on the way, I was a little more open minded and decided that I would attempt to breastfeed.
My breastfeeding journey did not get off to the best start.  A day or two into our hospital stay our daughter lost over a pound and hadn’t had a wet diaper in over 12 hours, so we resorted to supplementing her with formula.  The LC suggested that I start pumping in order to try to get my milk in.  We were discharged with our new baby and a hospital grade pump in hand.  I immediately felt discouraged as I was trying to care for a newborn and did not want to spend my time attached to the pump.  Fortunately, I was given the ok to stop supplementing and pumping at my daughter’s first pediatrician appointment.
After I was set free from the pump I was hoping that I would feel a little more at ease with breastfeeding.  As time went on I started to get the hang of breastfeeding with help and support from friends and of course my husband. However, I did not enjoy breastfeeding, I actually started to resent it.  For me, breastfeeding was not the bonding experience that others had described.  Our daughter was very fussy and I was convinced that my milk was the problem.  However, I continued on, not wanting to disappointment my husband.
Around the time our daughter was 10 weeks old I was ready to quit.  I had a short bout of a clogged duct, which scared me.  I cried while confiding in my sister and another friend, that I just did not enjoy breastfeeding.  I also spoke to my husband tried to make him understand how I felt.  He wanted me to stick it out for at least another month, I reluctantly agreed and committed to “just 4 more weeks”.  I began counting down to the ending point in my head.  Verbalizing my feelings made me feel more at peace and sometime during those four weeks my attitude towards breastfeeding changed.  I still did not “love it” but I no longer resented it.  I began to see it as something I just needed to do for our daughter.  I remember admitting to my husband that I was happy that he encouraged me to stick it out. 
My next challenge was going back to work part time when my daughter was 7.5 months old.  I was not looking forward to pumping at work and was convinced that I would not be able to pump up to the 1 year mark.  The first few weeks at work I resented pumping.  With help and support from friends I began to see the positive side of pumping, the “mandatory break” gave me time to catch up on my reading.  Soon I began looking forward to my two daily work breaks. 
I weaned my daughter of all but her bedtime feeding the week of her first birthday.  I held onto her nighttime feeding until a week after she was 13 months. I can honestly say that I miss that sleepy, satisfied look my daughter would give me after she finished her bedtime feeding and it was time to get her into her pajamas.  My own attitude towards breastfeeding was my obstacle and with support I was able to overcome my obstacle.  I am proud of myself for breastfeeding my daughter.

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