When I was pregnant with my first son, Buddy, I was determined to give breastfeeding a try. I wasn’t sure if it was going to work out for us, but I thought it was well worth trying.
I had a very difficult labor so we had a rough start with breastfeeding. After 2 weeks and plenty of crying on both our parts, I went to a lactation consultant for some help. It turned out we were doing EVERYTHING wrong, and Buddy refused to do anything right. The lactation consultant was very honest with me and told me that we had some very hard work ahead of us and even with all that hard work, breastfeeding isn’t always the best choice for everyone. She also made me feel better by telling me that no one would think badly of me if we decided that breastfeeding wasn’t for us. That’s all I needed to hear. Buddy began formula that evening, and everyone was happier.
Since Buddy ended up being allergic to almost every single food out there, I vowed to try harder the next time around and nurse my child for at least six months (research says that breastfeeding helps with food allergies). When I got pregnant almost three years later, I immediately began doing research on how to make breastfeeding successful. It paid off.
When Buster was born, I felt much more prepared to actually breastfeed, and thus, things went much smoother. I still had pain and I ended up seeing the lactation consultant again, however, this time instead of telling me we were doing everything wrong, she praised me on how well things were going and gave me some helpful hints. Her praise and confirmation that we were doing things right was the motivation I needed to continue to nurse Buster.
As a full-time working mother, not only did I have to figure out the breastfeeding thing, I had to figure out how to pump and store milk as well. I believe that choosing to breastfeed Buster was probably the most selfless decision I have ever made. Nursing and pumping took hours upon hours of my life that I will never get back. My child relied entirely upon me for his nutrition, which meant that I harbored some major animosity towards my husband when he was able to sleep in bed while I got up to nurse…yet again. I couldn’t go anywhere without either a child or a pump tethered to me. And honestly, I didn’t enjoy it very much. I can hear the gasps from all the mothers out there that tout that breastfeeding is so wonderful, such a great bonding experience, etc., but it’s really not for everyone. For me, it was a chore. To further explain just one of the reasons I felt nursing was such a chore, I’d like to share a humorous story with you.
When Buster was three months old, I had my annual OB/GYN visit. I took the day off work, because honestly, trying to figure out pumping, working, leaving for a doctor’s appointment, pumping, going back to work, pumping, etc. was just too much. My husband also had the day off of work, so we decided to do a little shopping and have lunch before my appointment. This also meant that we needed to bring the pump along so I could pump in the car before my appointment.
After lunch, the hubs and I were sitting in the car in the hospital parking lot. It was March which meant it was FREEZING outside. I was trying to finagle the “horns” under my shirt while still being discreet. It wasn’t happening. I decided to take my jacket off and lift up my shirt (obviously, this was not very discreet!), properly place the horns, and then cover back up with the jacket. Even though it was freezing out, I was then sweating from the aerobics I just performed.
After a few minutes (who am I kidding, I was a slow pumper…it was more like 15 to 20 minutes), I was done. Now, again, trying to be discreet, I moved my jacket out of the way and quickly grabbed one of the bottles and placed it between my legs so that I could detach all the thingamabobs from the other bottle. Everything was going well until I reached down to grab the other bottle. All of a sudden, in extreme slow motion, the bottle slipped out of my hand and spilled in my lap.
So there I sat, with breast milk in my lap, soaking into my jeans. Did I mention that I had a doctor’s appointment? A gynecological exam, no less.
Once we got into the hospital, I made a beeline for the restroom. Thankfully no one was in there. I tried to sop up as much of the breast milk as I could, which was next to nothing at this point. Then I saw it: The hand dryer on the wall. I marched, well, kind of waddled, right over there and stood on my tip toes right in front of the dryer (and then said a million prayers that no one would come in and see me).
After semi-drying myself, I finally made it into the exam room in the office, and the nurse checked my blood pressure. Ironically (HAH!), it was quite high. She made some sort of a comment about it and I then had to explain what I just went through.
When my doctor came in a few minutes later, he looked at my chart and also commented on the high blood pressure and the nurse burst out laughing. I then explained the situation to him and listened to him laugh hysterically.
And now, I think the question is: Would I do it again? Maybe. Now that I know what to expect, I think it both makes it easier to say yes, and to say no. I have to believe that I would at least give it a shot. It can’t hurt…oh, well, yes it can, but you know what I mean.