Hey guys, today I’m talking about something a little different. I got to contribute to an ebook put together by MAM, the popular baby brand. MAM asked bloggers to share real, nitty gritty stories about motherhood and I was excited to get a chance to talk about something that I still think about today.
Breastfeeding. Yes, even though my babies are done with that stage, I still remember. So here’s my story. I would love to hear some of yours as well!
I looked forward to breastfeeding long before I ever had a baby to nurse.
There is just something so special about a mom providing for her child in such a fundamental way. So when my daughter was born, I was sorely disappointed to discover that nursing was hard. I was not prepared for it to be painful, exhausting, and frustrating.
I almost gave up multiple times. After several months I finally found it to be “tolerable.” I nursed her until she was almost a year old.
Nursing surprised me yet again when my son was born two years later. Only this time, it was wonderful. I guess it has everything to do with the latch and what kind of eater you have on your hands…er, breasts.
My little guy could nurse like a champ. He loved eating, and I loved feeding. I reveled in being good at nursing and being the only one who could provide for him.
When he was five months old I began to experience some awful symptoms including hand numbness and weakness in my arms. I had to have two hand surgeries back to back, and was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis only a month later.
Those surgeries changed everything for my baby boy and I.
I was only given a few days to wean him. I would undergo surgery and take medication unsuitable for breastfeeding. In addition, I would not be able to use my hands for several months.
I cannot tell you how painful it was to wean. Oh yes, physically it hurt. My body was used to feeding an enthusiastic little consumer. It took a long time for the milk factory to shut down. When I came out of surgery my first thought was, “How am I still making milk?” The tell-tale stains on my hospital gown revealed a body craving to nurse.
More painful than swollen, leaky boobs, however, was the depression that ensued. I was astounded by the devastation I felt at not being able to provide for my son. I feared that we would no longer share the mother-child bond. That without nursing, I couldn’t be his mom.
As family stepped in to help with the bottle feedings, he and I would both be in tears. Sometimes I had to leave the room because it was so frustrating. I felt as if I was failing him as a mom.
I realize now how wrong those thoughts were. I know now that nursing, though wonderful, does not make or break a bond with a child. I learned that I could soothe him without nursing. That I was still his mom, even if I wasn’t his food source.
My story is Chapter 6 in the MAM Blogger Real Parenting Guide. I encourage you to read other chapters and find out more about all the stuff, like the bottles, pacifiers and teethers that MAM makes to make the job of parenting easier.
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