Friday, October 12, 2007

Because what's more fun than talking about boobs for three hours?

There isn't too much I'm sure about as far as parenting is concerned, but the one thing I'm determined to be able to do is breastfeed.

I didn't know too much about the topic before getting pregnant, but now that I've done the research, it's overwhelmingly clear that the catchphrase "breast is best" has a lot of truth to it.

There are so many pros:
  • You can't beat free (vs. $100 a month or more for formula).
  • It's always readily available (vs. measuring, mixing and heating).
  • No cleanup and no need to pack when you travel (vs. bottles, nipples and liners).
  • Breast milk passes immunities to your baby and gives them antibodies, often preventing them from getting sick.
  • It fosters brain development.
  • Colostrum, or premilk, encourages a baby's porous digestive tract to close, guarding against infection.
  • It has the perfect mix of properties your baby needs, leading to more tolerable diapers.
  • It burns up to 2,000 calories a day for mom, helps prevent breast cancer and discourages the return of your menstrual cycle.

But as natural as it is, I know many women have difficulty breastfeeding. First of all, it hurts. And it continues to hurt if you don't do it right, leading to a tired and frustrated mom and a hungry baby. Then formula often isn't far behind.

So in effort to prepare myself a little, I signed up for a one-night breastfeeding class. It came highly recommended from the woman who ran our childbirth class and also from a friend who has breastfed both of her girls.

Unfortunately, Jerry got a paid radio broadcast at the last minute and couldn't attend, and I stand by my opinion that he missed out. In fact, I wrote him a note for when he got up this morning saying that he could've seen the instructor feeling herself up for three hours and pointing to her nipples.

But the freedom in which she grabbed her breasts is what immediately endeared her to me. By the end, everyone in the class -- including the men -- found themselves squeezing their own chest and practicing positions with matching giant fake plastic babies.

And it didn't seem weird at all.

She provided a ton of information and made it easy to understand. Like comparing our breasts to a giant sub sandwich loaded with piles of trimmings. You kind of have to squish down on it and hold it at the right angle to get it in your mouth. Well, the same goes for boobs apparently.

And being a huge fan of gigantic sandwiches, that's an analogy I can understand.

I know holding an immobile plastic doll up to my boob for a few minutes is a lot different than a flailing hungry baby every two to three hours, but I definitely feel a little more prepared and loads more knowledgeable about how to even attempt to do it.

And if all else fails, I'll just think back to the sandwich.


Aaaaaand ... THE NURSERY IS DONE! I finished the last thing today. Had to hang a shelf. Expect a nauseating amount of photos tomorrow.


Janice said...

I actually didn't know almost all of those things about breastfeeding. It pays to do the research!

Tracibobaci said...

That is so great that you are getting to take that class. I know it helps so much to talk about it and I'm guessing you'll be able to get help after the birth through the contacts you're making now, too.

Breastfeeding really is awesome and don't worry--just like all the pregnancy "facts" that you found aren't true for all women, breastfeeding is different for all women, too. It doesn't hurt EVERYONE! It's not even hard for EVERYONE. You and your baby will be unique and will find your own rhythm.

It's always worth sticking with, though. I pumped for my preemie baby for almost 2 months before I got him to nurse exclusively and though it was SO hard dealing with the pumping and crap and then convincing him to nurse it was SO WORTH IT! It's awesome. I had help from a wonderful nurse in the NICU and I can't tell you how thankful I am that she walked in one day, grabbed my boobs and taught me to feed my baby. = )

If I had one piece of advice it'd be to ask for help when you need it. Just don't give up when it gets hard because it really pays off in the end. Good luck! So excited for you and your growing family!

Jennifer said...

The class was a great idea. Learn all you can now and do your best, but please remember to not feel horrible if it doesn't work out.

With my first daughter, she wouldn't properly latch and then when she did she had poor suck. It was so frustrating. I was depressed beyond belief and I got really down on myself. I really felt horrible about the whole thing. I ended up pumping milk for her for 3 months straight. That way she had the breastmilk, even though she never technically breastfed. But I still felt so inadaquet as a mother.

With daughter #2 I was afraid the same thing would happen. Thankfully, daughter #2 was a pro breastfeeder. Latched on with little help and had a strong suck. I fed her exclusivly for 8 months. BEST experience of my life. It was such a major blessing.... I compare it to the special feeling you get when you feel the baby kick inside of you... its that kind of bond. Something only you and baby have together that NO ONE else can feel/experience.

But with all that said, I know what its like to have both sides. To be able to breastfeed and NOT to be able to. I just hope IF it doesn't work out that you don't get down on yourself. Do your best, its all you can do. It doesn't make you less of a mother if you can't.

Stay determined, stay focused and you can get through it. And always always always ask for help if you need it. Don't hesitate!! The nurses have some really cool tricks. With daughter #2 they showed me a trick where you take sugar water and put a teeny tiny stream onto your boob, it flows down towards the nipple and unlached/crying/frustrated baby... baby gets a taste of the liquid, calms down, latches, sucks and then the actual breastmilk part kicks in. That one was a lifesaver for us.

Also, after breastfeeding for months on end, you lose ALL modesty over your boobs. You can grab them, talk about them, whip them out in public settings... etc and it won't even phase you in the least. You'll be an expert at whipping it out, getting the baby latched and everything covered so quick that no one will even know what's going on.

Rachel said...

Breastfeeding is definitely a challenge. I hope your experience is better than mine. Our little one has had a hard time gaining weight, and I'd like to throw in the towel and just give her formula, but the benefits of breastfeeding outweigh the cons, so I'm toughing it out.

Also, on your previous post, about swelling... I didn't get it until about 36 weeks, and it hit hard! I hope you sail through without it. The last day I was pregnant, all I could wear was slippers. Finally a week after delivery I could get my wedding bands on again. And now my feet look so long and slim! instead of like footballs...

Leslie said...

And don't forget! What you eat, baby eats. If you eat garlic, your milk will be garlicky. Not that I've ever done it by my sister-in-law did and she said that sometimes her daughter, Taylor, wouldn't want to breastfeed because the milk didn't taste very good due to something she had eaten.

Good luck! I'm sure you'll do fine. I can't wait to have children and experience these things... in about 6 years. :D

leslie said...

*but my sister-in-law did

Emily said...

I didn't take the class, but I read La Leche League's breastfeeding book cover to cover. I was really determined to breastfeed as well, and thankfully my baby girl came out not only ready and willing, but seemed to know almost exactly what to do from the start! (Interestingly enough, my nurse told me that baby girls seem to get the hang of it easier than baby boys.)

If I may give you some unsolicited advice, (as a near stranger gave me as well) I'd really recommend getting a pair of Medela Softshells before you head off to the hospital. Breastfeeding never really hurt me, but my nipples got sore and cracked in the hospital with the frequent feedings, and the newness of it all. Those softshells were a LIFESAVER!! I'm so glad someone told me about them, so I thought I'd pass it along to you. :)

Marina said...

Mmmmm. Gigantic sandwich.

The Plainsman said...

I had a sub sandwich for lunch today and then came back and read this post! :-)

Wendy said...

I can't wait to see the photos! I so look forward to breastfeeding someday.

Ray said...

HA! I think that lady would have weirded me out! Hehe. If Jerry was there he probably would have mumbled, "Hey lady stop touching yourself." I know nothing about breastfeeding. BUT, my mother did tell me something along the lines that, your baby can have more beautiful features or something if you breastfeed. If so (I don't know how true that is) that's pretty awesome. A baby that much more gorgeous who wouldn't want that!

And YAY for the nursery being done! I can't wait to see it.

Take care, Kelly.

chelsea said...

I didn't know half of those facts, but its interesting!

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to see the pictures of the nursery!

Sounds like a great class. I plan on trying to breast feed but having heard a lot of women not be able to I am prepared not to. Neither my siblings nor myself were breastfed so I know that it will be okay. I think it is just one of those things you want to be able to share with your child.

mercurial scribe said...

I hope I get to attend a class like that... being on Medi-Cal, I'm not sure how all that works. But I know I'll remember that sub sandwich analogy!

Looking forward to the pix tomorrow!

Anonymous said...

Here comes more unsolicited advice from a sranger...When I breast fed I had to cut all dairy out of my diet. More so with my daughter than my son. I couldn't even have a pad of butter on a roll. The pediatrician said it was because it is hard for babies to breakdown the protein from dairy that I ate and it would give the babies horrible gas pains. So I cut out my milk and the babies were fine. Plus the weight MELTED off. Just a little FYI.

Anonymous said...

I nursed my kids 15, 19 and 22 months. Only had a little nipple pain after the first one. It was nothing compared to the benefit of nursing.

Anji said...

I love your posts as they brighten my days. I cannot wait until I have kids. You will be an awesome mom.