Thursday, August 11, 2011

For the Momma's : Nursing your Children




By Heather Birdwell

This is a post that was written during World Breastfeeding Week which was August 1-7.

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This week celebrated one of the most natural and beautiful things God graced MOST of us women with ... the ability to feed our child with breast milk. This week was World Breastfeeding Week. This whole week has been about bringing it national attention on how important it is to breast feed your child. The World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated in 120 countries and marks when the WHO and UNICEF signed a document showing all the benefits of nursing your baby. Breastfeeding doesn't only benefit the baby, but also the mother. WHO, World Health Organization, now says that the best way to get as many benefits as possible is to breastfeed no less than 6 months and at least up to 2 years. After 2 years is up to the mother and child.


I have always hoped to breast feed to at least 18 months and with the trials I had, I decided to make small goals and complete them. The trials in my breastfeeding started after the first 24 hours of my daughter's life. We had a GREAT first day, no troubles at all. But then she began to battle jaundice and by the time it was release day, I was a mess. A LC came in and visited with me when no one else was in the room so that I could cry and we could talk. We decided to take away the bottle unless she was sitting up right (supported obviously) and the bottle was at a 90 degree angle with her neck. I was given syringes to hook to a feeding tube and a ton of formula to put in them. That way she would get a treat every time she would latch on. It was a VERY long process to feed her but she stayed on the breast AND got past the jaundice. Hurdle one, complete. I went back to nursing her and went for her check-up.

This is when we ran into the BIGGEST hurdle I have dealt with, a TERRIBLE pediatrician who has firmly believes that the only way to have a healthy baby is to have one with rolls. :( My babies just aren't that way. In fact, all of my babies have been small, healthy ... but small. My first daughter was formula fed and was only in the 25% and dropped to the 10% in 3 years. My son who was both formula fed and nursed was in the 50% and is now in the 25%. Now, my youngest baby girl is in the 5% and staying there. So, since I have used this pediatrician for 8 years, I assumed he knew what he was talking about ... for a week or two. I had to give Chloe supplements, which supplements decrease your supply. So I decided I would do the supplements in a SNS. My supply had taken a hit but I was determined NOT to switch to formula. I fought for weeks and finally found a donor through a program called Human Milk 4 Human Babies. She has become one of my best friends. I am not 100% sure I would still be nursing if it wasn't for her. I have gotten hundreds of ounces from her and ideas for how to build my supply.

Chloe is no longer using the SNS and at age 4 months ... is ALMOST completely off supplements in bottle form. I am also able to pump anywhere from 4-6oz a day besides the nursing. So far, Chloe is the longest nursed child and so I am ready to go for my next goal ... make it to 6 months. I would love to say I have no doubts that I will make it but, I do. We are switching pediatricians so that should help. I have a lot of support, WHICH is something I STRONGLY suggest you find when you chose to breastfeed. It is NOT easy. For some reason, it just isn't natural for all babies. I don't care what you read and hear, breastfeeding is work. It does occasionally take sacrifice. Chloe is sensitive to chocolate, garlic, carbonation and high doses of dairy (no milk or ice cream). There are some babies that you have to go completely dairy free, some babies require certain foods to be eliminated. These are all things to think about

. Breastfeeding IS the best thing for your child and EVERY mother should at least attempt to feed as long as possible. For some moms, that is 3 months until they go back to work, while other moms ... it is 2 1/2 years or 3 years. There is nothing wrong with that. Breast milk is breast milk.

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With all that said, today was a BIG day for World Breastfeeding Week ... and for me! Last year was the first year for the Big Latch-On to start in the United States and this year, it is national. The LLL set up spots in several cities in all the states for women to gather to nurse for 1 consecutive minute at 10:30am. Our group had just over 20 people in attendance. We had children from only a few weeks to just under 2 1/2 years old. I had a great time and more importantly, felt VERY comfortable nursing in public. One of the big reasons the Big Latch-On is held. Bring normalcy to breastfeeding in public. I relaxed for the first time feeding outside my car in public and Chloe crashed within a couple seconds so I sat and nursed her while gabbing with girls. It gave me the guts to breastfeeding at the roller rink at a party my daughter attended. There were no stares, no comments, no person to kick me out and Chloe crashed again.

I can testify to you that God gave women the BEST gift ever by allowing us to be the provider for our children. I know that no matter how fussy my child gets or how much she grows tired of seeing my face all day ... she ALWAYS wants me before nap and bedtime. She views me as an angel. She gets excited when my nursing bra unclasps and gives me the biggest grins while nursing. Like I said, it is not with out trials ... but thanks to ALL the support I have received from friends and family, I feel in my gut that I will be able to nurse baby Chloe to at least 18 months if not longer!

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~My name is Heather and I am a mom of 3 children. I am a full time stay at home mom, but I like to call myself a chef, an accountant, a secretary, a maid, a chauffer, and a teacher. I am the world to my children and they are the world to me. I am far from perfect but striving to be what the Lord wants from me.