I'm a little late but I just wanted to acknowledge that this week is Breastfeeding Awareness Week and tell my breastfeeding story. Before Babycakes was born, I was hesitant about breastfeeding. As unnatural as this may sound, I just felt weirded out by the thought of a baby on my boob. When Babycakes was born, we didn't get to have skin-to-skin contact right away because she needed intervention. She wasn't breathing, she had swallowed meconium, and her heart rate had dropped very low. Her initial Apgar test score was a 1. Very scarey. However, Babycakes is a fighter and rebounded very quickly and was able to be placed on my chest for skin-to-skin after 15 minutes with the doctors and nurses.
As soon as she was placed on my chest, she started rooting. My nurse remarked that she could not believe how quickly the baby found my breast after such a difficult delivery. This was a baby girl that knew what she wanted and that was her mother's milk. How could I deny her that? Especially after the trauma she had just endured.
I don't know if it was the delivery itself that changed my mind or the fact that I was finally holding my baby girl in my arms but I no longer felt weirded out about the idea of breastfeeding. After 10 minutes, it also didn't feel weird knowing that half the labor and delivery staff would be seeing or had already seen my boobs.
Breastfeeding Babycakes was not a walk in the park at first, as I'm sure is the case with most moms and their new babies. It is such a learning process and no amount of reading or watching videos is going to prepare you for your first breastfeeding experience because it is such and individual experience. Each new or veteran mom and new baby brings something different to the table and there is such a huge learning curve. My milk came in 3 days after birth but it took much longer for Babycakes to perfect her latch. She is a very impatient baby and wants instant gratification. Her nurses nicknames her 0 to 60 in the hospital because she would give no warning signals. She would go from being perfectly content to screaming without any in between. Since we didn't perfect breastfeeding immediately, we struggled through the first few weeks. We saw a lactation consultant at the hospital after a few days and that was the smartest thing we did. It was such a huge help and really put us on the right path. (Not to mention, we got a ton of free Medela accessories because once they're opened at the hospital, they either have to throw them away or you can keep them.)
We're now starting our 3rd month breastfeeding. I know it's the best thing for her and I want to be able to provide her with the best. Right now, she is exclusively breastfed and my short term breastfeeding goal is to keep her exclusively on breast milk until she is 6 months old.
My second breastfeeding goal is to get more comfortable breastfeeding in public. I have only done it once and I hid in the back of the car. Right now, I plan errands around when Babycakes eats. Since she eats every two hours, it's hard to get several errands done in one shot. I have an Ergo baby carrier and I'm going to practice breastfeeding her in it while we're at home so I won't have to interrupt my errands with either going to the car or going home to feed her. It may take me 6 months to get comfortable doing that but it's something I really want to be able to do.
In addition to my two short term goals, I have one long term goal. My goal is to breastfeed Babycakes for a year. To some, that may seem like a no brainer or a piece of cakes. But this is coming from someone who was apprehensive about breastfeeding to begin with. If I can make it a year breastfeeding my baby girl, I will feel very proud knowing that I truly gave Babycakes the best start I could possibly give her.
Who knows, maybe when Babycakes is 1 I'll have to set a new long term goal of breastfeeding until age 2....