I met up with an old friend last week.  Jaclyn and I have known eachother since we were in out mother’s bellies….yep that long!  We learned to swim together, went to elementary school, middle school and high school together, but haven’t seen eachother in over 10 years.  It was great to visit with her and meet her 4 beautiful children, the youngest of whomis 3 months old.

Anyway, our conversation got me to thinking about a few things, and I decided to revisit a post that I had started when Nate was about 4 weeks old, but never got around to finishing and publishing.  I started writing it at a time when I was seriously, seriously frustrated with breastfeeding.  This is what I originally wrote:

“Ok – so I am super frustrated with the breastfeeding. There have been numerous bobby related ups and downs since Nate was born. The first week I had wicked-sore nipples – cracks, blisters, bruises and eventually even scabs (which really sucked – let me tell you!) But we got past that stage with a few tears, perserverance and a lot of lanolin. Then we had a week or so where things seemed not too bad – nipples were healing, my milk came in and my little man seemed more satisfied finally.

Then I the pain came back in one nipple, despite the fact that three different lactation consultants have told me Nate’s latch is good. And still I have perservered through that – and it’s getting better. But the latest issue is driving me crazy (and I’m pretty sure it’s driving Dale crazy too). No matter what I seem to try, Nate constantly falls asleep at the breast.”

I’m not really sure anymore where I was trying to go with the post, but what strikes me now is that I hardly have to think twice about breastfeeding.  Pull out a boob, pop it in his mouth and we’re off to the races.  But as the above paragraphs indicate, it wasn’t always that way.  And there are still ups and downs.  For instance, our problem these days is his attention span.  There are lots of feedings where he eats well at first but once his belly is just full enough to satisfy him, he becomes easily distracted by anything and everything around us. 

 I have quite a few friends who are pregnant at the moment or thinking about babies in the near future.  I have no idea whether they are planning to breastfeed or not, I thought it was still important to share this post about my frustrations even though they are mostly in the past.

I don’t think I fully understood what a challenge it would be to breastfeed.  In fact, I’m pretty sure I thought it would be a piece of cake.  It wasn’t.  No siree!  However, despite my difficulties, the last thing I want to do is discourage new Moms from breastfeeding (or at the very least trying it!); in fact, I would downright encourage it.  Not just because of the health benefits to Mom and babe, but more so because of the emotional rewards.  I am proud of myself for perservering through the difficulties.  I adore watching nate sucking contentedly at my breast (although I could do without the pintching and scratching!).

But I mostly want new Moms, who are breastfeeding to know that they are not alone.  I felt very much alone in my painful struggles at first, despite the support that I had (Dale, my Mom, my mother in-law, my wonderful midwives).  Even though I had access to lots of info, lactation consultants and experienced breastfeeding Moms, there didn’t seem to be any cure for our problems but time and practice.  And let me tell you…we have lots of practice now!

 Before I totally terrify any new or prospective Moms, I should also tell you that I know other Moms who had nary a trouble with breastfeeding.  My pal Rae-Lynn and her baby seemed to “get it” from day one.  I guess, looking back now on those early days, I’m glad I stuck with it.  I certainly wouldn’t  belittle anyone who, having been in the same position as I was, switched to formula, but for me sticking it out was the right choice.

Sorry if this has been a rather rambling post…just some old thoughts that I wanted to share before they totally got away from me!