disclosure: this photo was taken after she finished nursing.
i am fully covered and she's just a cuddle bug who is squishing up my shirt.
It's national breastfeeding week. I was sort of hesitant if I wanted to share at all about this or not.
I decided to.
I have been blessed to be able to nurse Sophia since we came home from the hospital. After a long labor and unplanned c-section (I can't even call it an emergency c-section... my doctor knew I would most likely end up a c-section about twelve hours before he actually wheeled me back), plus about three hours in recovery, bonding and nursing her was all we both wanted to do. She latched on quickly that first time and ate for 45 minutes. We struggled a little the next day with her latch, but I wasn't concerned. Before we could figure it out again, she was taken to the NICU for four days, where it was all bottles with what little I could pump + formula. Coming home, there was no nipple confusion. She actually prefers to nurse and gets royally upset with me if I try to give her a bottle. I like to take it as a compliment. In the past five+ months, I've gotten mastitis once and a clogged duct another time. I've had times of low supply and times where I just can't nurse or pump long enough. It has not been easy the whole time, but I have never once doubted the blessing it is to nurse her.
But I have lots of friends who wanted nothing more than to nurse, and for various reasons couldn't. Whether their baby was tongue-tied, or had nipple confusion, or they couldn't produce enough, or they couldn't kick mastitis. It hurts me when I hear how frustrated and pained they are by the decision not to breastfeed.
Why do we make each other feel guilty about choices we have to make as mommas? Why do we feel a natural birth is so much better than a c-section, or that breastfed babies are somehow happier than formula babes? Why is co-sleeping frowned upon while sleeping in their nursery from the first night isn't?
My decisions as a momma are ones Austen & I came to in agreement, through lots of discussion, research, and guidance. Honestly, we're a little blend of everything. I went into labor on my own, had no help of pitocin throughout labor but all the goodness of an epidural, and then a c-section. Sophia had a taste of breastmilk and then was a formula babe, and has always been a boob + bottle combo baby. She was in the bassinet for the first four+ months, and then transitioned to her room, but we've had plenty of co-sleeping moments.
So I hear ya, mommas. None of those are easy decisions to come by. They all tug at your heartstrings a little, even the most raw, basic ones. We question ourselves over and over because these decisions don't just affect us, they directly affect our littles.
Why question each other, then? Unless the baby is in harm's way or something is downright dangerous, why do we question each other just because their decision is different than ours? I don't know about you, but I play devil's advocate enough on my own self, I don't need anyone else's help.
Yes, it's national breastfeeding week. But hey mommas, if you fed your little tonight through whatever nourishing, healthy means - high five.