When I finally had my little girl and as they handed her to me in the hospital I was asked if I was going to bottle feed or breastfeed. My mind had a mini meltdown as I tried to process this question. It was my first child; I had not been around any other babies pretty much my entire life (at least not newborns) and I guess I just assumed everyone breast fed. Then I started thinking about all the babies I had seen taking the bottle and it struck me that I knew absolutely nothing about the process. I guess the look on my face told the whole story and the nurse began to give me a brief overview on breastfeeding. I had done natural child birth and when I heard that the baby’s immune system is helped with breastfeeding I was all in. I was then told about a class I could attend right there at the hospital to find out more about the particulars which really helped me out. I was so very thankful that there were programs set up to help me with breastfeeding and they even gave me the names and numbers for organizations and support groups that gave additional help and encouragement! I was really shocked when I found out what a major issue breastfeeding is in the world today.
I began to breastfeed right away but soon realized absolutely nothing was coming out and wondered how my baby was going to make it without sustenance. The nurse brought in a few bottles of sugar water and told me to give this to her between times and that my milk just had not come in yet. Evidently it comes in at different times for different women as they begin to nurse. On day two I was getting a little bit concerned because my baby did not seem happy in the least with no milk and the sugar water. They assured me that she was fine but being a new mother I was not sure if I should believe them! It was a bit overwhelming and nerve racking because I was prepared for a baby but no one had even mentioned breastfeeding to me before giving birth and this was an added pressure, but thankfully the nurses were supportive and helpful.
My milk did finally come in after a couple days and I was relieved to say the least. My baby was finally getting the milk she needed, and boy could she eat! I got in touch with my pediatrician and found out how often and how long to feed her because I think that if I let her she would eat non stop! I learned about nipple care (something that had never crossed my mind previously) and I found out rather quickly about leaks and the necessity for breast pads. My baby and I did really well for three months and then I had to start preparing to go back to work so the doctor told me to introduce her to the bottle for the times when I was not available. I did my best to use the pump and get breast milk ready for when I was not at home but for some reason I could not get enough milk from pumping to supply all of her needs. So I spoke with the physician again and found out what the best formula was for my daughter. He gave me his recommendations and also told me that we may have trouble getting her to accept the bottle but to keep offering it. That gave me some concern because I did not know what to expect when I offered her the bottle. We started with the formula and she had absolutely no problem accepting the bottle; she absolutely loved it. But we had to quickly change to soy based milk because she had colic. We finally got the right formula going and things were going well for the first few days.
I started giving her the bottle during the hours I would be at work and breast feeding her the rest of the time which went well for awhile. On about day three when I went to offer her my breast she actually turned her head away! I tried again and she refused to take my breast and actually spit and made a gagging sound! I was devastated and in tears when my grandmother came over and gave her the bottle which she snatched up like she was starved to death and started to guzzle. Now, my grandma is not a mean person, but she got so tickled and began to laugh about the situation. Not at my misery but at the response of my daughter! It was a hard reality to swallow that my sweet little girl would rather have the bottle than my breast milk. And the doctor said it would be hard! It was hard, on me! I talked to the doctor and he said it was fine because I had given her almost four months of breast milk and that she and her immune system would be fine.
The experience was something I would not trade for anything and I did it all over again seven years later with my son. I had almost the identical experience with him that I did with my daughter except that he ate even more and seemed to always be hungry. I spoke with the doctor and he told me to start giving him formula to supplement my breastfeeding after a couple months because he could never seem to get enough and I could not keep up! My son too preferred the bottle but I tried not to let it bother me as much as the first time even though it was still a bit painful. He did not spit and gag the same as my daughter but I knew by the way he guzzled that bottle down he loved it.
I loved breast feeding my babies. It was a wonderful bonding experience and I felt so good about giving them a stronger immune system to combat all the bugs and sicknesses there are in the world today. I would recommend breast feeding to any new mother but I would also recommend finding out everything you can about it before your baby comes into the world. Being knowledgeable about everything beforehand is always beneficial. Even when you are armed with all the knowledge and information it does not mean that the experiences you have with your baby will be without an occasional surprise or that everything will work like clockwork, but it does give you an edge.Being a mom is the best thing that ever happened to me and nursing my babies brought us even closer than I could imagine. There are so many organizations and support groups to help when you decide to breast feed, some even have twenty-four hour hotlines that you can call. It is well worth the time and effort spent to give your baby this personal extension of your love and supply them with a healthy immune system in their first few months of life.
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Stephanie has many years of experience as a nanny. She has always loved children and has continuously been involved in childcare activities. Currently she is one of the writers for houstonnanny.com. If you want to get in touch with her, you can email her at stephanie.houstonnanny @ gmail.com.