We’re happy to share a guest post by our friend Eliana and her breastfeeding experience. The story of the breastfeeding journey she and her son went on will be shared her in parts. Today we bring you part one.
I am not your typical home-birthing, baby-wearing, cloth-diapering, co-sleeping, all organic, nursing-until-baby-weans momma. I applaud and admire the mommies out there that are. But it honestly isn’t me. I wore my son in a Snugli under duress: he actually stopped crying if I did, and started crying if I put him down. Same thing with co-sleeping: after 4 months of killing my back on our couch, I told my dear, sweet husband that I didn’t care if he didn’t want to co-sleep; I NEEDED SLEEP! I didn’t cloth-diaper because, by the time I finally figured out how much money it would save me, it wouldn’t save me any money any longer and my sanity would also have suffered (I just can’t do that much laundry). Eating or feeding my son organic would probably have cost me my sanity, my finances, and finally my marriage, the third due to the loss of the first two. And I honestly don’t think I could have delivered a breech baby at home, although I have heard of several women that have.
Don’t get me wrong. I really do applaud and admire the women who choose to do all these things. But in keeping with the “it just isn’t me,” I was totally fine with breastfeeding and supplementing with formula. In fact, my boobs to me were more fun and show than functional. I totally loved the mantra “successful breastfeeding isn’t EXCLUSIVE breastfeeding.” Especially since Dad could do a few of those middle-of-the-night feedings and I could sleep.
Before my son was born, I had no idea HOW I would supplement with formula. I just had grandiose ideas that at about 4 months, my son would happily go from boob to bottle without any issue. Well, maybe by 2 months; my imagination had him sleeping through the night at 4 months (which he didn’t do until 18 months, btw).
All that being said, before my son was born, I had determined I would give breastfeeding a shot, a chance. Women in my family just hadn’t nursed much, if at all, and so I had very little family support (my great-grandmother apparently said that “women in our family don’t make good cows”). Formula was the way that many kids survived. My husband and I were part of that; neither of our mothers were able to nurse (my mother had a little experience with it being able to nurse my older brother, but that, too, was short-lived). So I wanted to give nursing a try. Just a try.
When I heard my son’s first cry, or held him for the first time, however, I determined that we would succeed at breastfeeding. The health benefits for him and me just couldn’t be beat, and I was hoping that all those warm, fuzzy nursing feelings would help me bond with my little one. Also, I was scared into not supplementing with formula from the nurses, until at least 4 months. So much for the sleeping through the night fantasy!
What I didn’t know, when I held my son and made this pact, was what was going on in my body. Even though I had a C-section and they (forcibly) removed the placenta, somehow they missed a piece. I had no idea that I had retained about a 2 inch piece of placenta in my uterus. So even though my body understood that I had delivered my son, it didn’t stop sending blood and nutrients to my uterus, totally bypassing my boobs.