Wednesday, August 1, 2012

My Story - Let Love Nourish Blog Hop


August is National Breastfeeding Awareness Month! Let Love Nourish 2012, hosted by Just Another Hat, is a platform for bloggers to share their stories with moms and dads. The goal is to increase awareness for breastfeeding, encourage those on the fence about breastfeeding, support parents who are struggling, and let moms know that they are not alone. Please join us as we share our testimonies and stories.

During this blog hop, I would like to feature moms (family members too!) and let them allow to share their breastfeeding success stories. Notice that I did not use the word "failure", because let's face it, breastfeeding for any period of time is considered a success!


I will start of the story swapping, by letting you know a little about me.


Me and Peanut


Name: Alanna

Children: 2 boys

"Lil Man (aka 'Peanut')" - 44 months

"Leettle" - 27 months

Length of time children were breastfed?

I breastfed "Peanut" until roughly 10 months old and "Leettle" until about 9-10 months.

Why did I choose to breast feed?

I choose to breastfeed because I figured that since I was going to be a SAHM (stay at home mom) that I had no excuse not to. It was completely free and the best choice for my baby.

Favorite part or most memorable experience?

I LOVED the bonding! I truly miss cuddling my babies up to my skin. I will never forget the first feeding with my little "Peanut". Within minutes of the birth of my first son, my doctor had placed my child on my stomach and said "watch this" and my baby struggled like crazy to squirm his way to my chest. My milk really hadn't come in yet, but he nursed for a few minutes anyway.

Peanut's first feeding


Struggles with breastfeeding?


Well, needless to say I was not happy with the first hospital experience. My nurses called my room every two hours on the dot to report how long Peanut had nursed. I tried to get my little guy to nurse no less than 15 min on each side every 2 hours as much as I could...but most of the time that did not happen. Sometimes I could not keep his attention longer than 5 minutes, in which case, the nurse would take him from his room and back to the nursery to feed him a bottle of formula. I was often ridiculed by one nurse, when another would try to comfort me by saying "don't sweat it, your milk hasn't fully come in yet". I felt like I was "failing" as a mom already in two short days. I just did not get it, if breastfeeding was so natural...why couldn't I do it?

With child number 2, the experience was a little different. This time I was in a different hospital in a different state. I was also allowed to have my baby with me in my room the entire time (unless there was a medical reason). I did not have to report to a nurse every couple of hours, so I was more relaxed. Leettle nursed when he was hungry and that was good enough for the hospital staff.

With both children though, they were introduced to the bottle pretty early (within a month), which seemed to put much struggle and stress on what I believed should be an amazing experience. They always wanted the milk quicker than I could give it to them. In fact, most of the time was spent pumping as much milk as I could. My babies nursed a couple to a few times per day (for about 15 minutes or so) and were given a bottle of pumped milk whenever they showed signs of hunger, which was usually 15 - 30 minutes after being taken off of the breast at their will. I felt like my bottom never separated from the couch. Then about 4 months later, the introduction of formula came in, which caused further milk depletion. They were nursing less and I pumped less. This process became tedious for the next 6 months or so, and I felt like a complete failure. I do not a recall a day that I didn't cry about it.

In fact, when both of my boys were under 9 months old, the breastfeeding issue actually was the cause of many arguments between my husband and I. He hated the breast pump and I tried to "pump in secret" while he was not around. In his mind, breast feeding should have come naturally to me, after all, women had been doing it for centuries without any fancy equipment right? Needless to say, feeding and pumping time became irregular and the supply dwindled. I scavenged every health food store for Fenugreek bottles like an addict who needed his next fix, then threw myself on the floor and bawled if I couldn't find it. I had the same reaction almost every time I reached out for a can of formula from the super market shelves.

Me and Leettle



Final thoughts...your advice to breastfeeding or moms who are considering breastfeeding?


Above all, remember that breastfeeding is a learning experience, not only for the baby, but for the mom and family as well. Trust your maternal instincts. If I could do this all over again, I would have tried a little harder to breastfeed exclusively for as long as my babies wanted it, and maybe even invested in a baby-wearing wrap. Also - as I had mentioned above, any length of time breastfeeding should be viewed as a success, no matter how long a mother breastfeeds her child.

Additionally, it does take a village to raise a child. Do not be afraid to ask for help, those first few weeks are definitely a learning process...no matter if it is your 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 10th child. This time is precious, and looking back, I wish that I had never wished it away.

If you choose to breastfeed, be sure to get as much support as you can. There is a huge community of breastfeeding supporters that would love to help you. Be sure to check out the following pages:

LeLeche League International

Loving Support.org

Breastfeeding.com

Best For Babes.org




Do you have a story to share? I would love to hear it! Type it up any way that you want or simply answer the questions above! All that I ask is that you keep it family friendly.

If you would like for me to post it on my blog, please e-mail me at leettlehandsandfeet@gmail.com. Pictures are definitely welcome. In fact, I am putting together a PRIZE package to giveaway to one lucky person (because dads and family members are welcome too! You just have to be 18 to win...more details later...) who submits their story. The name will be drawn from a compiled list on August 31st via Random.org.

Be sure to follow my blog for helpful links, tips, and more all month long!



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