World Breastfeeding Week

My nursling, 4 days old
In celebration of World Breastfeeding Week (Aug. 1 - 7) I thought I share a little bit about my nursing experience. Breastfeeding my baby has been one of the most profoundly satisfying experiences of my life. I felt a strong and intimate connection with Silas when he was in utero and to be able to continue to nourish him with my body as we begin his sixth month in this world makes me so thankful and brings me so much joy. It has been far from an easy road, though. We had problems with latch in the early days. I fought weekly bouts of clogged ducts and mastitis. There were times when I found myself sobbing on the floor, questioning my worth as a human being because I thought I couldn't feed my baby. There was thrush. But there was also a partner who was willing and able to drop everything and come home when I needed his support. There was a midwife who stayed ever positive and was unwavering in her insistence that I could do this. There was a community of friends who were all facing similar challenges and were willing to share their stories. I have been very fortunate, indeed. It is one of my greatest hopes that every woman can experience the support that I have. That of a partner and/or an intimate circle to guide her and give her strength. And the support of a society that truly values mamas by giving them the things that they need most; things like extended paid maternity leave and acceptance rather than judgment.

When I first put my baby to my breast I really thought that I had it all figured out. The reality was that I knew close to nothing, but I learned quickly. The following are things that helped me succeed:

Traditional Medicinals Mother's Milk Tea to help establish my supply in the early days.
Lansinoh Lanolin.
The books The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding and The Breastfeeding Cafe. The most recent edition of the former has a wonderfully encouraging tone that really helped me feel empowered when I was at my lowest and the latter is a collection of stories from mamas in all walks of life and all situations that helped me feel like I wasn't alone.
A Leachco Cuddle-U Nursing Pillow, which is similar to (but I like better than) a Boppy.
For healing and preventing my persistent clogged ducts and mastitis: Poke Root, Lecithin, my pump, and nursing bras from Bravado and Motherwear.
White chocolate macadamia nut Clif Bars - what I lived on in the early days when I really couldn't find the time to feed myself properly.
The Tao of Motherhood by Vimala McClure. I like to read one meditation at the beginning of each nursing session as a gentle reminder to be kind to my son and to myself and to be mindful of the present moment.
For the treatment of thrush: Motherlove's Diaper Rash & Thrush Salve, Grapefruit Seed Extract, apple cider vinegar, and gallons of yogurt and kefir.

And of course, the single thing that I really couldn't live without is Steve, who held the wailing baby so I could calm down and get my bearings...who looks at me with awe and reverence when I nurse our son...who chooses his words carefully so they never inadvertently undermine me...and who works so hard so that I'm able to stay home.

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Linking up with Natural Parents Network for breastfeeding tips, stories, and celebration.

7 comments:

  1. What a sweet post. Finn and I had a bit of trouble getting the nursing thing situated, but luckily, with Phoebe it has been smooth sailing. It is so wonderful to be able to nourish your child with only your body, isn't it?

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  2. My first three babies nursed for a relatively short period of time and I wanted, so badly, for things to be different with my last baby. There were definite trials and errors and mastitis even paid us a visit but we prevailed and she nursed for eight months. When I stopped I felt like it was a decision that my daughter and I had both made mutually. I honestly find the most difficult part of nursing to be giving it up. Thanks for this wonderful post and the beautiful photo. : )

    ~ Wendy
    http://Crickleberrycottage.blogspot.com/

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  3. Wonderful post!! My milk supply was low with both of my babies, and even after countless hours of support and advice from two wonderful midwives, three breastfeeding counselors, our pediatrician, my OBGYN, and numerous breastfeeding mama friends and family members, I eventually had to supplement both of my babies. I'm really hoping that whenever we add to our brood, I will be able to nurse exclusively. It's such a wonderful gift.

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  4. What a wonderful post. I am so glad you had a great support network when Silas was born. I wish I had the support you did when I had my son -- I probably would have succeeded.

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  5. I am such a supporter for breast feeding! I was lucky that Max latched on correctly right away and that I didn't have any problems with it. We lasted a whole year! I'm glad that you stuck with it, Courtney. Silas will reap the health benefits for the rest of his life.

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  6. thanks for sharing! it is hard for me to believe that my nursing days are over.

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  7. Beautiful! I am now nursing my third and yes, a support system, including the hubby is so important. I've been successful in large part to the amazing support of my midwife and hubby.

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