Since Ezzo and breastfeeding have been discussed in several blogs lately. I’ll try to give my two cents (it’s not really worth that much) on the subject of breastfeeding. I nursed all four children for their first year. When I was pregnant with the first one I researched heavily and decided that one full year was needed to give children the protection from allergies, asthma and the minimum psychosocial interaction needed. With that goal in mind I never questioned that was what I would be doing. I was shook when my first child had a pneumothorax and spent the first week and a half of his life in the NICU of the hospital. It made breastfeeding feel like a schedule and a chore. I sat on the couch outside the NICU unit day and night waiting for the small time I was allowed to take him from the incubator and nurse him every few hours. The scheduled nursing caused me to become engorged and physically ill. The nurses all begged me to go home and get some sleep and let them give bottles for just one night. I remembered deciding from my research to avoid all bottles for the first month and I remained stubbornly on that hospital couch. When my son was finally released from the hospital I was the happiest person on Earth. I encouraged him to nurse more, especially since it made me feel like I wasn’t going to explode like a volcano. My first child was a very difficult child who rarely slept (never more than an hour of sleep at a time his entire first year) and he thrashed even while nursing, but I was stubborn.
I nursed everywhere. At first I sat down and nursed him in stores, businesses, doctor offices, friends’ homes and even church. Then I got brave and started nursing while doing things. I learned to nurse while walking, reading and yes, while sleeping. I used a sling constantly, even when I wasn’t nursing. Yes, I sometimes felt like I really needed some time alone to just be one person again. I just accepted that this was a very brief period of my life and took 30 minute to an hour breaks. Looking back at how quickly the time has gone by I am thankful that I was able to look past the exhaustion and see how short the time is with an infant. In the blink of an eye they are toddlers. Nothing I needed to do was so important that it couldn’t wait until that first year had passed. I could never have traveled without my child that first amazing year. I guess I thought of myself like a kangaroo for that first year. My babies were still developing and not ready to leave my pouch yet.
I stopped wearing a watch after my first child was born. Time means nothing. With the other three children, nursing was much more relaxed and easy. I never had to buy, prepare or clean bottles. I could never bring myself to feed my baby a mixture of powder and water. Yuck. Breasts were made for feeding. I was always ready to feed and it was a miracle comfort to a baby who had just had immunizations or who was too over-tired to sleep. While running older children to school, sports and other activities, I just nursed wherever, whenever. I am aware that some people were appalled by this public display but I just didn’t care. Nursing made sure that my baby never felt short-changed for time because I was too busy with older children to do anything but put the infant in a swing or bouncy chair. Yes, sex became a carefully orchestrated comedy routine, but once you learn to laugh during sex instead of taking yourself so seriously, you reach an entirely new level of intimacy with your spouse that you’ll need to grow old together. So, that’s my long, rambling pro-breastfeeding speech. That said, no need to flame me. I accept that everyone is different and does what works best for themselves.