In honor of World Breastfeeding Week (Aug 1-7) and National Breastfeeding Awareness Month (in the United States), we thought we would use the idea of "Feeding Your Child" for the August Monthly Theme.
I find it interesting that we as a society seem to pick fights over the most common sense things. Whether you breastfeed or bottle feed, whether you feed your child exclusively human milk or manufactured formula--it comes down to feeding your child in whatever way works to get your child happy and healthy.
I was always pretty pragmatic when it came to breastfeeding. If it worked, I was going to do it. If it didn't, I wouldn't.
I know that when I was pregnant with my first child I was totally unaware of the Lactation societies and when I had classes at the hospital I made sure to take a breastfeeding class. I did feel pressured to do breastfeeding exclusively. I spent a LOT of time worrying about the mechanics of it.
Then my son was born. After almost 3 weeks of bed rest and an emergency c-section--I was proud to take him to breast within 1/2 hour of delivery. BUT, I was really still sick. That first night--he was formula fed. He had no problems transitioning from one kind of feeding to another. I tried to feed him mostly from breast, but once I went back to work--there was no where for me to pump. After 6 months, he was mostly formula fed with breastfeeding in the morning and evening. He had no real issues and eventually transitioned to whole milk and solid foods.
For my daughter, I was able to be more exclusive on the breastfeeding, and like my son, I did that for about 6 months and then supplemented. I found that there was no real issues I had with either child when it came to them breastfeeding...but...
There was something that the classes did not really emphasize. Something I wish they would have talked about. Because, to be brutally honest--breastfeeding was boring and annoying and exhausting and hard. I did not always get that "bonding" feeling. Mostly I felt like a cow, especially at the beginning. I knew I was doing a good thing for my children--but I felt limited. I wish the classes would have spent some time on how your child may want to lazily suck and suck and then go to sleep, as you put them down--an hour or two later--they want more! How your breasts will hurt and how you may try very hard to pump and pump and not get enough. Or how to pump while you are working. I just know that the "fun" of breastfeeding was often lost on me.
I just was happy to give my children a good start--but as with everything, Breastfeeding is really just a start. The hard part, I think, is getting past that stage and moving on to finding nutritious and interesting things for your child to eat. (Heck, right now I am just trying to limit the amount of soda that my now 14 yr. old son wants to drink!)