Natural Instincts
My Breastfeeding Experience
and Parenting Resources Page 
 
The purpose of this page is to share a little about my experiences breastfeeding my children and to provide useful links for those looking for information concerning this very important aspect of mothering.  This page is also meant to provide general parenting information with an emphasis on attachment parenting.
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     When I had my son 2 yrs. ago(8/25/95), I felt pretty ambivalent about nursing.  I felt I would "try it" and if it worked great, I would continue a few weeks to months, and if it didn't, well, atleast I tried.  

    I had a c-section with him after a failed induction due to failure to progress and macrosomia.  My first attempt at breastfeeding him was over 6 hours after his birth.  The nurse who tried to help me was obviously not properly trained - she just put him there and held his head to my breast without explaining or guiding me at all.  It was not a good experience and he had trouble latching on.  I felt as if I was failing as a mother and was being treated like a bad mother as well (for example, they hospital staff scrutinized me every chance they got by asking me how many poopy diapers, how many wet diapers, how long did he nurse, how many minutes on each breast, how often, etc. They also made me feel terrible about wanting to hold him constantly and sleep with him - telling me it was against the rules and he could fall out of bed because it had happened before...  thank God for my natural instincts)  I was so paranoid, I went home and started making charts to keep track of everything!  My milk came in after 5 days, and by then he was getting very frustrated and had lost over 15-20% of his weight.  I took him in to the pediatrician and she observed me nursing him and listened for his swallows and reassured me that he was indeed eating, my milk was in, and not to worry he was doing fine.  Thank goodness for that doctor.  In the meantime, I was in horrible pain everytime he nursed and cried at the thought of nursing.  The more pain I was in, the more determined I was to make it succeed.  After all I had been through to get him to latch on, etc.  I was not going to give up!   The best position for me to nurse him was the football hold and he preferred this position for months!!  

     After a few weeks, the pain started subsiding and my nipples were healing from the cracking and bleeding.  I introduced bottles to him early and am so lucky he didn't get confused.  I had planned on going back to work after only 6 wks., but when I tried I found it too hard to leave my baby so I quit.  I then decided to breastfeed fulltime since I would be home and he quickly got my supply up to what he needed.  Our breastfeeding relationship continued until he was 7 1/2 months old, when he decided to wean suddenly.  I was already about 4 months pregnant with my second baby.  He would scream when I put him to my breast after only a couple sucks.  It was so much harder for me to handle than it was for him!  

     I had my daughter a few months later(10/10/96) - again by c-section for same reasons as the earlier birth.  This time was so much better.  We were allowed to recover together as a family in a LDR.  It was wonderful  (as far as hospital births go involving C-sections!) and she nursed immediately when we got in there.  She latched on perfectly and has been going strong since!  She is now 11 months old and is almost exclusively breastfed still.  She only has breastmilk from me (she hates bottles!) and occasionally has finger foods that she shows interest in from our own meals.  She drinks some water from sippy cups and regular glasses too.  (I think we both are very attached to this nursing relationship for many reasons including my problems with post-partum depression. )  I had severe depression after her birth and had to do a lot of research on taking medicines while breastfeeding and find doctors who were willing to work with me even though I refused to wean!  At times, I felt the only connection I had to her was through nursing and I was not about to end that.  She is very healthy and growing wonderfully.  We only had one difficult time in regards to nursing when we suffered from a bout of thrush!  OUCH!  It was very painful and once again my nipples were bleeding and cracking and it took about 2 weeks to get things back to normal.  I now find that as she is getting older society's opinions of me nursing her are starting to change.  It is my hope that these attitudes against extended breastfeeding in America would end and people would realize the many benefits of this wonderful nursing relationship!  

     My daughter still enjoys sleeping with us - I only wish we could get a bigger bed - I'm hoping to add another mattress to the floor soon to expand as she seems to be sleeping with us every night and she is getting a bit more squirmy, etc!  My son sleeps in his own room in his own bed and thinks it is play time if he even sees our bed now!!    I think he would still be able to share sleep with us on a regular basis if we hadn't been so easily swayed by mainstream ideas that he should be in a crib after a certain amount of time...  Isn't it funny how as you have more children, you evolve more into the parent you should have been all along if you had only known?  If only more people would learn to follow their own natural parenting instincts instead of following mainstream ideas, I think we would have happier, more well-adjusted children!!  (For an interesting article on how we can change perceptions by changing our language, read "Watch Your Language" by  Diane Wiessinger, MS, IBCLC) 

     I'd be happy to help anyone if I can with any questions they may have in regards to breastfeeding, etc. as they may relate to my problems or experience.  As I'm not a lactation consultant, I would suggest contacting one if you are having serious problems.  And as always if you have a local LLL group in your area, they can be of enormous help!  

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