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Thoughts on Nursing

May 15, 2010

Ever since I got pregnant, Orley and I decided that we were going to be a breastfeeding family. I did everything to prepare myself as well as I could. I took classes, I spoke to other breastfeeding moms, I put my lactation consultant and breastfeeding counselor on speed dial, and really searched for a pediatrician who would be on my back about nursing. Now, after almost 3 weeks of the ups and downs of purely breastfeeding, I’ve got thoughts, both nice and not-so-nice, to share to other moms out there.

1. Educate yourself.

Breastfeeding really isn’t a “oh the baby has natural sucking instincts” thing. You have got to immerse yourself in all the information about latching, feeding times, feeding patterns and the benefits of breastfeeding. Knowing what to expect helped me get through the most difficult transitional period. Really, really take in the benefits of breastfeeding and think of how much a can of formula would cost. Those thoughts alone got me through the pain, which brings me to…

2. It will really hurt.

Any breastfeeding advocacy and education counselor/website/article will always have the line: “Breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt.” Yes, it shouldn’t, once your baby learns the proper latch. If you’re lucky enough to have an infant born with a perfect latch then do believe what they tell you. For most of us, it’s a painful learning process that could take days, even weeks, and with that comes the bleeding, the soreness, the peeling and the pain that comes from poor latching. Lanolin kept me sane. For those nights that Sebastian was feeding every 30 minutes, I had Orley’s hand to squeeze while he rubbed my legs that were clenching from the pain. Be prepared for pain because it will be there. Be assured it will go away.

3. Don’t give yourself a way out.

When you’re under so much pain and haven’t slept a wink, it’s easy to give in and say, “That’s it. I’m giving you formula now.” Night after night, Orley would wake to find my head drooping from exhaustion while Sebastian was precariously balanced on pillows, nursing away. Other nights, he would wake up to a my yelp of pain as Basti latched, or sobbing because I haven’t had time to heal and Basti was asking to nurse again. We made it a policy not to keep a can of formula on standby and the bottles that Badette gave me for the baby shower remain unwashed and unsterilized.

4. Don’t hesitate to call friends who’ve been there or going through breastfeeding blues.

What you will go through is not unique. It helps to hear it from those who’ve done it and survived. I constantly called Leah (who breastfed Skye till she was three) and went on texting marathons with Audrey, my classmate from birthing class. Friends who were also mommies gave words of encouragement and kept the baby blues at bay.

5. Arm yourself with nursing gear.

Ok, so they say that you don’t need anything to successfully breastfeed but I beg to disagree. I love my nursing clothes and I love my nursing cover. There’s nothing more awkward than balancing a squirming baby and trying to roll up your shirt at the same time. I’m lucky to have chanced upon Mommy Matters and their bundle sale, where I was able to buy 12 nursing dresses/tops for only Php2,500.00. Gel got me a nursing cover from her sister Bessie’s site, Nursing Mom and I bought nursing bras from Mama.Baby.Love. I need more actually as it looks like nursing wear is all I’m going to be in for a couple of years.

6. Learn the side-lying position.

I abandoned the side-lying position after being traumatized with it from nursing while recovering from a C-section in the hospital. I adopted the cradle hold position from that point on because I felt it brought me and my baby closer. Now, after backpains and sore forearms from holding Sebastian for sometimes up to an hour while he nurses, I’ve gone back to side-lying for night nursing. It took a while for Basti to like it, but it helps us get more sleep now.

My next challenge will be moving Sebastian to his crib in a couple of weeks. Now that I’m all healed from the C-section, it’s time to get him into the crib so Orley can go back to the bed after weeks of sleeping on a mattress on the floor. I hope we transition without too much drama.

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