Got Milk?

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I have been so fortunate to have had the opportunity to breastfeed my daughter for the last 8 months.  When I initially found out I was pregnant, breastfeeding was one of the top goals I set for myself.

I always knew I wanted to breastfeed my baby.  My mom breastfed both me and my brother, so it was familiar to me.  As a Family Studies and Human Development Major in College I learned about all the incredible benefits of breastfeeding and was further inspired.  But as natural as breastfeeding is, it doesn’t come easy to everyone.  In fact, most of my friends who have had children before me struggled with breastfeeding and ended up reverting to formula.  In order to prepare myself for this journey, I attended La Leche League Meetings throughout my pregnancy.  This experience helped me to learn about potential road blocks as well as listen to the various solutions offered by other breastfeeding moms and lactation consultants.

One of the most incredible moments in my life, after giving birth to my daughter, was when the nurse handed her to me and she immediately latched on.  It’s moments like this where you truly appreciate the perfect design of human nature.  I couldn’t have been more grateful.  I was also lucky to have my midwives there to support me and talk me through it, answering an any questions I may have had.  Since then, we have been enjoying a pretty smooth journey as far as breastfeeding is concerned.

In addition to breastfeeding my daughter, it was my desire to feed her on demand.  On demand feeding simply means feeding Harper whenever she signals that she is hungry, rather than on a schedule.  In the early days, she would communicate to us that she was hungry by sucking her hand or fussing.  Now, Harper is able to use the sign for milk to indicate when she is hungry.  We started introducing her to simple signs when she was very young.  Whenever I would offer her the breast for a feeding I would use the sign for milk as she was approaching the breast.  That way she would begin to associate the sign with the action.  At around 4 months, she was able to use the sign to tell me when she wanted to eat.

But as natural as breastfeeding your baby on demand may be, our society seems to be extremely disconnected from this concept.  Nowadays, it’s more common to see a baby sucking on a bottle than breastfeeding in public.  And in the chance that you do see a baby breastfeeding in public, most likely they are under a nursing cover.  As much as I respect a woman’s desire to be modest, I happen to be missing the modesty gene and therefore will pretty much feed my daughter anytime, anywhere.  What I find so interesting about our culture, is that when I feed my daughter in public, I get people staring at me like I have 3 heads!  And yet, this is why God invented the breast, to feed my baby.  Of course, I never allow these people to bother me.  Instead, I am happy to be an example and offer them a chance for education and enlightenment.

Breastfeeding has been an amazing experience.  It is definitely one of the highlights of being a mom.  I am grateful to be able to give my child the gift of momma’s milk.

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2 thoughts on “Got Milk?

  1. I agree; breastfeeding is one of the greatest blessings and bonding tools to have with your baby. It truly is amazing how perfectly God made us, when I started breastfeeding I immediately starting having contractions and could feel my uterus going back to size, wihin a week I was back to my prepregnancy future, and through breastfeeding I lost ten pounds from before ever even getting pregnant….that is my vain reason for breastfeeding….aside from that, words can’t even express how sweet it is to watch your baby nurse, especially when she looks into your eyes while feeding. There is nothing more satisfying than knowing that you alone are able to feed your child and that you can give your child what no one else can give them and that you can give them what is BEST and what no one else can replicate.

    I also agree with you about public feedings. Our society teaches that it’s inappropriate to nurse in public or to nurse without using a nursing cover; there is NOTHING inappropriate about feeding your baby, and when baby is hungry nothing else matters. I’m sure if a woman who was bottle feeding their baby did not give their child the bottle when the baby was obviosuly hungry people would deem her a neglegent mother, well, if i have the boob and my baby is hungry, why would I delay feeding her just to satisfy other people’s comfort?? I’m much more concerned with my baby’s comfort.

    I have a friend who is living in New Zealand, and in her society they incourage scheduled feedings, I understand the potential thought benifits of scheduled feedings but don’t agree with it. Babies are constantly growing, and never at the same rate, sometimes they are going to be more hungry than other times and they will need to eat more often. When I was pregnant with my first daughter I would wake up at 3 in the morning because i was so hungry, clearly my body and my baby needed food, otherwise I would have been able to sleep through itl I couldn’t imagine having not fed myself at such a time, btoh my baby and I probably would have been sick (mind you I only gained a total of 25 pounds my first prengnancy….so I was NOT overeating). I would not do the same to my baby, I believe their bodies are able to tell them when they are sleepy, hungry or uncomfotable, and I believe it is my job to meet those needs. It is not until they are older that they can gain the cognitive capacity to disregard their needs and fight those needs (my 2 year old fights sleep ALL the time, at this stage, i would not wait for her to fall asleep before putting her to bed, but when she was younger, an infant, I would not keep her up when she was clearly tired to get her on a schedule). It’s my experience with my children that as they got older they naturally developed a healthy pattern of eating and sleeping, it was not one I had to force on them but one that developed naturally over time in a healthy manner.

    To sum it all up, I encourage ALL mothers to breastfeed WHENever baby needs it, WHEREver baby needs it, the benifits and blessings are limitless for both you and baby!

    • inherchucks says:

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience with breastfeeding. I echo your sentiments about the moments when your little one looks up at you with a sweet smile. It is truly magical.

      I appreciate your example about feeding in public and the difference between moms who choose to breastfeed versus bottle fed babies. It is so true. My hope is that we can get to a place where there isn’t a judgement either way. The important thing is that the babies get fed.

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