When I was pregnant with my daughter I did tons of research on well, just about everything, but one thing that stuck out to me was the benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and baby. I wanted the best for her and I knew that was breastmilk. Worldwide breastfeeding is completely normal and natural, but here in the US breasts have been sexualized to the extreme and the idea of using them for what nature intended is just bizarre! In a place like Nebraska you’re really strange if you make that choice, so no one really understood my decision. The people around me thought I was totally weird. Even my own mother tried to discourage me saying things like…
“OMG! Your boobs are going to be ruined” but I was determined and my husband, understanding the benefits of breastmilk, supported me. Being a first time mom and feeling the pressure, I set my first goal for 6 months, unsure if I’d even make it that long. I was scared to nurse beyond that because I would have to face society’s judgement.
I was set to be induced a week before my due date; measuring at 42 weeks and very uncomfortable we woke up bright and early and spent the day in the hospital. Unfortunately the induction failed and my doctor wanting to avoid an ‘unnecessary c-section’ sent me home saying ‘Give it five days and we will try again.’ I went home heartbroken. I spent the whole day expecting that I was finally going to meet my little girl and was crushed when it didn’t happen. I cried all the way home, I felt like a failure.
Five days later I woke up to try again and low and behold my water broke before I even got to the hospital. Today was really going to be the day! I spent nine hours in labor with a Pitocin drip, but something was wrong, I wasn’t dilating…I had been told for weeks she was head down, in position and ready to go; what could possibly be wrong? Well the doctor was what was wrong; our baby was breach. After hours of labor I was low on fluid and needing an emergency c-section. Yet again I was heartbroken and now terrified, this wasn’t part of my plan! I cried and shook uncontrollably from the drugs as they wheeled me into the surgery room.
I had spent countless hours researching, planning, building a birth plan and I never, not once even considered a c-section. I wanted immediate skin to skin and to latch her moments after birth but none of that was possible now. I was crushed. In what felt like only minutes the c-section was over, and the baby was birthed. She was healthy, 10 fingers, 10 toes; 8lbs 9oz; and BEAUTIFUL. I wanted so badly to hold her but I was shaking and nauseous so they took her away, sewed me up and wheeled me to my room. This is where I would wait almost 2 hours to hold my daughter for the first time. All I could do was cry as I waited, I was so disappointed, angry and scared. Everything I had read said c-section mothers struggled to breastfeed. Between all the drugs and time apart I thought for sure breastfeeding would never happen. Yet, the very moment I finally got to hold my beautiful baby girl, I pulled down my gown and to my surprise she latched right away! It was painful but she was doing it!
Even with a c-section, jaundice and a lip tie we’ve been a success! My milk came in within 48 hours and before I knew it that 6 month goal flew by, then 9 months, then a year! I can honestly say I rely on breastfeeding for everything and so does my daughter. Not only for nourishment but comfort, if she’s scared, or not feeling well, hurt or upset, boobies are always the answer. I cannot imagine being a mother without breastfeeding because it is such a huge part of our lives. The bond we have developed over the last 13 months is incredible! Breastfeeding isn’t just another way to feed a baby. It takes commitment, dedication, time and love. Its a constant challenge. Even more so with the looks and whispers we experience when feeding in public make it embarrassing at best. Even my supportive husband is a little uncomfortable when I pull out my boob in the store but I’m only doing what comes naturally. So I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t get discouraged. Breastfeeding is an amazing way to nourish your baby. Don’t let society change your plans. Despite whatever challenges you may face trust in your body and trust your baby to know what to do as best you can!