Saturday, August 1, 2009

World Breastfeeding Week

Happy World Breastfeeding Week!

I'm visiting my in-law's this weekend and was talking with my mother in law and my husband about what a special gift I'm giving my son by breastfeeding him. I've been thinking a lot about the argument that most people (myself included) use to 'justify' (not in the bad way) their behavior. The '...and they're okay' argument. Like 'I let my baby cry-it-out and they're okay', or 'we never used carseats in my day and we're okay' - that type of thing. A lot of people I know were formula fed as infants, my mom was one of those babies raised on condensed milk and karo syrup and yes, she's okay. But how freaking cool is it that my husband and I were both breastfed through our toddler years. Especially since we were both preemies. I nursed until 3 and my husband until 4. That's much longer than most kids then and more than most kids now as well.I am eternally grateful to both my mother and mother in law for that and for what a strong immune system that gave us and with all those antibodies and good bonding that we're now able to pass on to our son. I feel lucky to be able to stay home with him, bond with him and feed him from my body. Of all the legacies to pass on to him, I'm very proud of this one. 

Breastfeeding has not been easy for me. A number of people marvel at how good I'm doing - being a mom, breastfeeding, handling all this change that has taken place, etc. It's a little flattering but it's also completely false. Really not true. I wouldn't say I'm doing bad or anything but I'm somewhere in the gray area. Aren't we all really? Breastfeeding has been hard. Pain, cracked nipples, a bad latch, engorgement, leaking, leaking, leaking, plugged ducts, plugged ducts, and yet another plugged duct, nursing strike, low supply, over supply - everyday is a new challenge. I'm feeling my way through it one day at a time and I won't even pretend to have an answer for how to fix any of those things. For me, parenting (breastfeeding included) is a lot of trial and error. A list of good telephone numbers helps a lot too. I couldn't have gotten this far with breastfeeding without La Leche League and the wonderful leaders of my group, my mom, my mother in law, my sister in laws, and Ellen and Nancy (lactation consultants). I can't even keep track of the phone calls I made through my tears for help. Oh yea, the other thing I've learned about parenting so far is how to ask for help. I do that a lot.

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