Monday, November 25, 2013

Nursing

I do a lot of it these days. Nursing has become my life.

I nurse my baby around the clock and I can honestly say that it is wonderful. The first three days of breastfeeding were painful. I am not going to sugar-coat it.  And the next several weeks were tough because I had to pump and bottle feed after marathon nursing sessions to make sure that she was gaining weight.  Apparently early babies are not quite ready to nurse vigorously, but we stuck with it and now, six months in, it is so EASY.  Going back to work and pumping to provide milk for when we are apart is NOT easy, but I am very proud our accomplishment in making it this far. The achievement is shared with my Mom and husband. I could not have managed without them.  I wish new Moms starting out could get a glimpse of nursing half a year later, because so many struggle and stop.  Breastfeeding rates in this country are astounding low and there are many barriers to success.  I know, because I have been rallying against them from day one.  For example, why on Earth am I getting emails from formula companies?  I sent back a very STRONGLY worded reply when I saw that I was enrolled in some bogus program designed by the company. That is sabotage and not even my own inbox is safe from it.  On a separate note, whenever I see breast cancer awareness campaigns these days I feel like shouting, "Encourage breastfeeding!" out the car window.

Am I becoming a nut?

Maybe, but the truth is that breastfeeding is normal and should be the norm. I see this now and it frustrates me.  I like to think it is passion rather than craziness, and I believe that is also what is keeping me going with Harley.

I am nursing him a lot these days, too.  Daily medication is never easy with an animal.  I know this from having cared for my beloved Rascal cat years ago.  The commitment is even more taxing when your animal is not on your property and more difficult still when you have a baby in tow.

His weight looks ever better than here.  This picture is over a month old.

Rascal.  My smudge cat.


Harley is a very good patient.  I keep worrying that he is going start recenting me for jabbing him with needles and squirting syrup down his throat, but he is ever kind and willing.  I am determined, but utterly exhausted.  We just need to get past this coughing spell.

After years of lamenting about Harley's weight, I almost failed to mention how good he looks this fall. The haystretcher pellets are doing great things for him and his grain was successfully reduced. Score!  At least something is going well for him.

18 comments:

  1. I've heard similar things from other moms doing breastfeeding - it's very hard to stick with it, and everyone encourages formula feeding. Good for you for making it work!

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    1. Thank you and your friends are right. I have had to close my ears to comments from others, even if they were made with good intentions, because my goal was to exclusively breastfeed for the first six months.

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  2. You are not crazy and I also wish that the news of a decreased risk of breast cancer if a woman nurses for (6 -8 months - I forget the time frame) was shouted out and made known. I remember wondering why something so natural as breastfeeding was so hard the first 10 days or so. But it does become so easy.

    So sorry to hear Harley is not better with his cough. I will be following along - you are correct. It's nice to be on the side of "my horse is health" but I also know, my time will come. Happy Thanksgiving.

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    1. Yes! The benefits of breastfeeding are numerous, as I am sure you know. I keep reading about them to stay motivated. Children who are breastfed also have reduced incidence of breast cancer and childhood cancers and illnesses. Why wasn't I taught this in school in health class?

      Thanks for the thinking of Harley.

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  3. I bf too and it's awesome but def not for everyone :) wow I can't believe your daughter is 6 months already!!!

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    1. Six months! I can't believe it either except everything is kind of a blur for the past half year because we have been so busy.

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  4. I nursed my children as well and I echo your sentiments. I had my sister to keep me from giving up in the beginning. Once you get past that first week it is so easy, like you said. And convenient. No hauling bottles all over the place when you are out and about.

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    1. Having supportive people to keep you going is a must! I love just being able to feed her whenever she is hungry with no fuss or delay. She now shows her excitement with smiles and giggles for nursing time.

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  5. My boy will be eight months old this week and he's still breastfeeding, so I'm with you. The first week was hard, especially days 4-6 but after that we had no problems. His new teeth have presented a bit of an issue but he's learning not to bite me ;)

    Hopefully the change in weather will help Harley feel better soon.

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    1. That's great! I am sure he will learn quickly.

      Thanks about Harley.

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  6. wow, 6 months already?! My son and I never could get bf to work for us, we could only try so much, but he still got breastmilk (and formula) for 7 months and then the fountain dried up ;) He has made it 1.5yrs with no major illness, and I credit a lot of that to breastmilk. And I am a hey go play in the dirt kinda parent.

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    1. It is definitely worth the effort!

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  7. I nursed my two, but not for as long as you. My older girl was not a hungry baby and did not gain weight at the normal rate, so the "support" I got from the medics was to bottle feed her. It made no difference, she just wasn't a big eater. I agree with you though, it's just so easy. Less stuff to haul with you whenever you go out somewhere.
    I'm glad Harley is keeping condition on. Keep at it with the cough treatments and hopefully you'll win the battle.

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    1. The super special neonatalogists (sarcasm because one of them was super incompetent IMO) at the hospital told me to feed her every three to four hours. My baby was hungry every two hours or less until she turned five months and now we still only go three hours between nursing sessions. If I had taken that advice I can imagine several things that would most likely have gone wrong. I think that good advice is hard to find.

      Thanks about Harley.

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  8. I think you're doing a great job juggling all you do. Hope Harley feels better soon so you will have less stress in that department. Have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

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    1. Thank you for your thoughtful comment!

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  9. I'm glad to hear the Haystretcher pellets are working! I definitely believe in breastfeeding though I am not yet a mother myself. My mom breastfed all three of us and we have hardly been sick a day in our lives, while my bottle-fed cousins have had allergies, constant minor illnesses and other ailments. I believe in proven science and technology, but in some cases nature really does still know best.

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  10. That is great! Family support and influence are very important factors in nursing a baby. There is tons of research which backs the benefits of breastfeeding. Nature and science!

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