Category Archives: Breastfeeding Goals

Feeding my Child with Love

breastfeedingcafecarnivalWelcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

This post was written as part of the Breastfeeding Cafe’s Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today’s post is about your breastfeeding mantra. Please read the other blogs in today’s carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th-31st!

IMG_0263-1My breastfeeding journey began over six years ago. I was a very young mother with no idea of how to be “good” at my new role. As I struggled to find my footing I found that breastfeeding was something I was good at. We mastered our art in a couple short weeks, I had a lovely supply, and my son and I made a good team. I nursed him for three and a half years, including through my pregnancy with his sister and six months of tandem nursing. When we welcomed his sister I knew I would nurse her to a similar age, we believe in full term nursing, and found by setting boundaries as the kids aged (night weaning around 18 months and cutting the number of sessions down to morning and night around age 2.5) that everyone’s needs were met. As we began the journey of welcoming a third (and final) child to our family I was eager to tandem nurse again. It had been such a bonding experience for my son and daughter, so I told my daughter every night how the milk would be full when the baby came, and she was excited to share.

In April I found a lump in my neck – one lump that grew to two lumps, and then to three. On June 2nd I was diagnosed with Hodgekins Lymphoma cancer. As we met with doctors it was quickly decided I needed to begin chemo immediately. There is little scientific study on the effects of chemo on a developing fetus, but there are many case studies where babies were born perfectly healthy, and our minds were set at ease. It was hearing the doctor tell us – point blank – no breastfeeding, which devastated me. Cancer doesn’t make me sad, but losing the one tool I felt that made me the best mother I could be made me sad. For the first time I wept, and so did my husband.

Maternity (29 of 81)webSince having my son six years ago breastfeeding has consumed my life. I facilitate a peer-support nursing support group (Live, Love, Latch) at my local family center, I am on the board of directors of our local breastfeeding advocacy group, and I built a business (Snappy Snacks) that sells lactation snack mixes across the country. I have donated my milk to more babies than I can count, I have cross-nursed my friends’ babies, and I regularly give my phone number out to moms who need someone to call at 2am instead of giving up. I don’t know who I am without breastfeeding. I felt like cancer was stealing my identity. I could not begin to wrap my head around how to give birth to a baby and not immediately bring it to my chest.

I quickly had to decide how I was going to reach my breastfeeding goals without using a drop of my own milk. Friends immediately started pumping for me. My best friend who is due a month after me has plans to pump. But what is truly amazing is the people who have found me through social media and offered their milk to me. Even moms I barely know, who know how important breastfeeding is to me and what it meant to have it stolen, began building up freezer stashes for me. Our new breastfeeding goal is 6 months EBMF. We have done research and plan to use breastfeeding friendly bottles and try to mimic the breastfeeding relationship as much as possible. We believe it’s important to develop our son’s digestion system the way nature intended.

I have met so many women who had to fight to develop their nursing relationships – whether because of poor latch, low milk supply, or lack of support – their determination reminds me that I can’t just give up. That feeling defeated is no excuse to stop caring about how my son will be fed. That we can fight for the little things that will make a difference, like ensuring only my husband and I feed the baby, that he’s always held for a bottle, and that he isn’t put on a “schedule”. I have also met many wonderful mothers that decided not to fight to develop a nursing relationship – that the struggle and stress were clouding their ability to be the best moms that they could be – so they stopped trying to make it happen when it wasn’t. And because of their decision to stop they have become wonderful mothers with babies who are full of joy and are confident that they are loved. Their journeys remind me that not all love is poured out of breasts, that my sole worth as a mother isn’t attached to my chest.

I still struggle with who I will be without breastfeeding. I still feel like a failure. I struggle with a lot of guilt around my inability to breastfeed my soon-to-arrive son. That he will some how feel less loved without those tender moments locked to my chest, that he will somehow feel less MINE because I haven’t fed him from my body. I feel like a first time mom all over again, trying to find her footing, searching for the right tools for the job. I spend a lot of time reminding myself that this will make me well rounded and more understanding. That I will be able to draw closer to the moms I meet who are struggling, that will somehow find comradery with those moms who couldn’t do it either. I am trying to focus on the main thing; that I can still feed my child with love.

BridgetAppleBlossomFacebook-7Bridget lives in Ontario, Canada, with her two children (with one more on the way), her husband and two dogs. She has dedicated her life to supporting breastfeeding women through both her volunteer work, and her professional work. She founded Snappy Snacks in 2011, and in 2014 went national, selling Lactation Snack Mixes across Canada. She is currently undergoing chemotherapy to beat cancer.

Here are more posts by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! Check back because more will be added throughout the day.

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My Breastfeeding Goals

breastfeedingcafecarnivalWelcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

This post was written as part of the Breastfeeding Cafe’s Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today’s post is about your personal breastfeeding goals. Please read the other blogs in today’s carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th-31st!

As I sit down to write this I am pregnant with my second child. On top of the day to day things that filter through my head of things that need to get done filter through the thoughts about the changes that need to happen before this little one joins our family. I need to clean my house, set up the crib and figure out how exactly are we going to side car it, I need to wash that load of newborn clothes, pull out my cloth diapers and determine what shape they are in, and did I mention clean my house?! Because I still have about 10 weeks left I am both convinced I have ample time to accomplish all these tasks while simultaneously freaking out because this pregnancy has flown by and I am still left wondering what on earth happened to the month of April. (It is now mid- July.)

This being my second child I have a vague idea, through trial and error with my first, of what life will look like once our little one joins us. Breastfeeding was one trial in particular that has especially formed my idea of life with this new baby. Breastfeeding became very important to me when I quit breastfeeding my daughter. I didn’t realize how important it was to my mental and physical wellbeing as a mother until I had already finished. From the moment I had my first regret about quitting, which by the way was not immediately after I quit, I knew with my second child I would do better. Since then I have thought about what it would be like to breastfeed another baby. My thought process on feeding my next child has developed through the last five years from “I will exclusively breastfeed this next baby for 6 months” to “I will let them wean when they feel like it whether they are 18 months or 5 years old.” In reality, I will breastfeed as long as the relationship is both mutually beneficial for my child and me, no matter how long that is.

Because I have no set time in mind in which I will nurse my next child, although in the recesses of my mind I am thinking in terms of years rather than months, it might be hard to think that I have goals for breastfeeding, but I do, not in the length of time but in my actions.

The goals for my breastfeeding relationship are:

To be determined. With my first daughter I was going to “try to breastfeed.” Our breastfeeding relationship lasted exactly a month from birth to finish. I found the whole process hard and frustrating. I decided in the middle of the night one night that I had tried, and I was just not cut out for this whole breastfeeding thing. This time around I am taking lessons from a wise Jedi master “Try not. Do or do not. There is no try.” This time around I WILL breastfeed my baby for the duration of her babyhood. “A Jedi must have the deepest commitment.” I am committed.

To be educated. With my daughter I did not educate myself on how breastfeeding worked, or different ways to manage problems. I am pretty sure the literature I read on breastfeeding was pretty much the Enfamil packet on breastfeeding that was sent home with me in the hospital. Since then I have learned a lot about breastfeeding simply through the groups I belong on. I learned about latches, how supply and demand works, and about nipple confusion. This time around I bought the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding and am working through it. If nothing else I will have this little guide to help me in the middle of the night.

To have support. The first time around with breastfeeding I did not really have support. My mom fed me formula starting at 6 weeks and her idea of help was feeding the baby a bottle so I could get some sleep and have a fresh perspective after some sleep. My husband had no clue what I was doing or how to help when the baby and I were both crying at 3 am because 3 weeks later this just still wasn’t working. Now that I am approaching month 8 of pregnancy I will attend my first LLL meeting and hopefully continue attending them for quite some time. I also need to find a lactation consultant, just in case. I am hoping the LLL leader will have a name or two for me. Breastfeeding was so painful for me and having a professional to call that I can ask for help that is full of knowledge would help tremendously. If I had someone there last time I might have been able to figure out if something was causing that pain that could be fixed.

To be flexible. I think one of the reasons that breastfeeding was so hard for me last time was because I only ever nursed sitting on the couch in cradle hold. My nipples were hurting and bleeding and nursing in multiple ways and positions, assuming there were no latch problems causing the pain, might have helped with that. Being flexible with life as well, just going with the flow. If the baby has their nights and days mixed up I hope I can just be flexible and roll with it, instead of agonizing over sleep lost on both our parts. If I thought X was going to work but it doesn’t, I need to be flexible to throw it out and try something new.

To be patient. This is something I struggle with in all aspects of life, and is something I can only imagine will become something I need to focus on when I become a mother of two. It is something that I especially want to apply to my nursing relationship. I think having the perspective this go around that everything is a phase and this too shall pass, will help tremendously. If in the beginning breastfeeding is difficult again I know it will get easier and that I have to tools and resources to weather that storm, and any other that come during the different stages of feeding my child. I will also need to be patient with myself during this time. I tend to be hard on myself when I can’t do everything, or when life isn’t running as smoothly as I would like. I need to be patient with this time in my life and know that what I have to do will still be waiting for me when I am done nourishing my child. I may not be getting the laundry done, or the house cleaned, but what I am doing during these cumulating hours of nursing is far more important than any chore awaiting me.

To live in the moment and find joy in it. The last one seems simple, but for me is sometimes oh so hard. I know I will be tempted, and will on many occasions I have no doubt, pick up my kindle while nursing and peruse the internet or read. There needs to be times though where I am doing nothing but connecting to my child. I need to put down my kindle, get off the computer, and just enjoy it. It won’t last very long. Before I know it the baby in my belly will, like her sister is now, losing her front teeth, and this time in my life will also pass. I can never capture it again.

Carol lives in rural southern Colorado. She is a mother to five year old Maribelle with one on the way. She is a history student at the local college and is a soon going to start the adventure of being a stay at home mom. She loves to read just about anything and dance around like a fool to music in her living room.

Here are more post by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! Check back because more will be added throughout the day.

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Filed under Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival, Breastfeeding Goals