Sunday, August 5, 2012

World Breastfeeding Week 2012

I knew from the bottom of my heart, from the moment my daughter was born, that I wanted to breastfeed. I was heartbroken when a combination of ignorance and lack of support system caused me to fail. I slipped into a deep depression for many months after. There were times when I remember looking at her crying and just not caring, but going through the motions because she was dependent upon me. I felt no love. No bond. I truly thought she hated me. Looking back I know that was ugly PPD rearing its head, and there were so many things I could have done. If only I knew then what I know now. I no longer look back with regret because I understand it wasn’t my fault. I was young and without support. That daughter has grown into a beautiful young woman and my bond with her is stronger than I ever imagined. She is my hero. She is so wise beyond her years, and has endured so much that I feel in some ways her soul is wiser than mine. She carries on everything that I have taught her, and she carries it with pride. I feel peace when I think of her being an adult and mother someday. At 10 she made a slide show about the benefits of breastfeeding for her school. It was well researched and I gleamed with pride when she chose that topic to do her powerpoint in. She attends cloth diapering classes with me, is intrigued with the process of homebirth and is so particular about what she puts into her body. I have no fears with this child. I have done my job as a mother and she will do great things in life. I have no doubts. With my second child I once again tried to breastfeed. I made it a little longer this time. I got the latch right. He was doing great for the first few weeks. Then they convinced me he needed formula to get rid of his jaundice. I was na├»ve and trusted that the dr knew what he was doing so I supplemented, when that was compounded with my fear to nurse then public my supply started to dwindle. By the time my son was hospitalized for failure to thrive and pneumonia, my supply had all but vanished. I wept for days.
I remember when he was about 5 months old and I was holding him, looking down into his beautiful blue eyes and I just wanted to nurse him. To have that bond back. I lifted him to my chest to nurse and he latched on for a minute then popped off. I assumed that he no longer desired to nurse because I didn’t know better. I do look back on this with regret because I could have relactated so easily. He WANTED to bf. He was a very high needs baby, and as much as my gut screamed at me to give him what he needed, society was in my other ear screaming how I needed to cut him off, cry it out, sleep alone, be independent. I trusted these people, the only support system I had, to guide me. He suffered so much because I listened to other people. He took so long to reach milestones. He struggled with his health. In and out of hospitals. I was exhausted and when he needed me most, I let him down. As he got older I couldn’t understand why he was regressing, why he was hurting himself and acting out. The drs kept saying Autism, ADHD, Psychotic condition…. Not one could agree. They said he had Systemic Rheumatoid Arthritis and auto immune deficiency. If only I would have taken a step back and listened to my gut I could have saved him sooner. He is 6 and since our lifestyle change is slowly starting to flourish. Taking out processed foods and giving fresh produce. Focusing on gluten free and cutting out dairy. Working one on one with him and when he needs me to lie in bed at night until he falls asleep, that is what I do. The more I GAVE him, the less he NEEDED. Slowly undoing the damage of years’ worth of destruction.
By the time I got pregnant with my 3rd child I was terrified. What would come next? My drs had me so scared, so petrified that I was going to lose him, that I would die…. I literally didn’t want to move some days for fear that I would somehow crumble. Just take these pills, they said.. just put on this monitor, they said.. just have an ultrasound every week, they said. Amnio is essential, they said. All these tests are needed, they said. We have to induce, they said. It’s for his health and yours, they said. I listened. I listened with the fear of God in me. Even with their barking I stuck to my guns about birthing naturally. When my labor started they moved me over to the birthing center and I was able to birth without being hooked up to devices and IVs. Move about freely, go into myself and become stoic. I embraced the contractions and let them empower me. I let my body speak and he came earthside into quiet, dim, peace………..
As soon as he was born everyone left the room. He was still bloody and wrapped in a blanket; skin to skin on my chest. Suckling my nipple as my husband sat beside us in bed and kissed both our foreheads. It was beautiful. Something in me changed. I no longer wanted to just “take someone’s word for it”
When we got home at the advice of a dear friend I joined a cafemom group and those women are truly what changed my life. They made me believe in myself.
Slowly, my lifestyle started to change. I began to research and never take the first opinion. I learned it was okay to question, this was also when I learned how to help my older son, who felt like the world had given up on him. With every ounce of wisdom I gained, I also gained power; the power to help other women. I knew it was my calling in life to help them. I began to help women who struggled with latching, relactating, strikes and growth spurts. It’s such an amazing feeling to watch a mother’s face light up when she nurses her baby for the first time and knowing that you helped her with that.
This week is world breastfeeding week. Just 2 weeks ago I celebrated two years of nursing my youngest son. I have seen first hand the benefits of extended breastfeeding.. of breastfeeding all together. He is never sick. He is advanced. He is independent and full of personality. I can soothe him so easily so we don’t experience tantrums like normal toddlers. He knows mommy is there and always will be, so he is SAFE to venture off. Friday I went to my very first latch on. The feeling that best describes the atmosphere is united.
Most of the time when a bunch of moms are gathered together, there are differences. There is just this “fake” feel to the air, to the conversations. Everyone is so reserved. At the latch on, it was different. I could literally look at another mother and our eyes spoke a thousand words without our lips moving an inch. There was this sense of peace, of beauty, of…. Love. The bond was prevalent. I knew at that moment I really was the part of something greater.
If you know a young mama who is pregnant and on the fence about breastfeeding, I encourage you to encourage her! Guide her to research. Invite her to our group where lactation consultants stand by 24/7. Guide her to that cafemom group that changed my life forever. Give her and her baby the gift that keeps on giving.
For more information on breastfeeding please check out these links I compiled and please feel free to join our group for 24/7 guidance, support and love.  You are not alone.  Kellymom  Dr. Sears BF med hotline
Photo Courtesy of 502Photos. All rights reserved. 

1 comment:

  1. You are great! Thanks for reminding me that with all the challenges I'm having with bf (some due to crap they had us do at the hospital) it is all worth it!