Tuesday, August 6

World Breastfeeding Week- I Support You

Thursday started World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) & the entire month of August is National Breastfeeding Month. Wohoo! B/c I am in the breastfeeding phase right now, I thought I should do at least 1 post on the subject!
I read this post from Mama by the Bay, did some research and now feel strongly about the message that this year's theme is portraying"I Support You". One mom to another, know that "I Support You" and will not judge you whatever your feeding choice/situation is: bottle feed, breastfeed, extended breastfeeding etc. To support this movement "Mama by the Bay" was asking for bloggers to interview another mom who fed differently than themselves. I loved the idea!

That being said I would like to introduce you to Ruth Nelson. She is a wife,  a SAHM to 5 children (with a set of twins), she has a successful Etsy shop where she does adorable work  & she blogs over at Addy Lou Creates.
I am inspired by Ruth & I knew she would have much to say about her experience feeding her babes. I was thankful she abolished to be my interviewee. Read about her experiences below:

1) Please share a brief summary of your feeding experience.
Each of my babies has brought a different experience. I am going to try and keep this short, but with five kids, I have had five completely different experiences with breastfeeding. I have breastfed at home, weddings, in the car, at restaurants, at church, tailgates, family events and even in Ross Aid Stadium at a Purdue football game. I am a person who keeps to themselves, but if my baby needed to be fed I was going to do it.
With my first child, Lucas, everything was new. First time mom, first time breastfeeding, first time EVERYTHING! He was difficult. He didn't latch on right, he wanted to eat all the time, he didn't sleep at night. I cried the first day my husband went back to work. Lucas had been up every hour on the hour wanting to eat all night long. After a couple weeks though, everything worked itself out and it was a fairly enjoyable experience until his teeth started coming in. I even managed to read all seven 'Harry Potter" books along with many others while nursing. He self weaned himself at 8 months. Lucas was the only child I exclusively breastfed. Although hindsight, I don't think I produced enough at night and that may have been the reason that kid never slept.
When my second baby, Emma, was born there were things I swore I was going to do differently. First being I was not going to use the nipple shield as I had with Lucas. It was a pain to deal with. Well that lasted all of a week, when I ended up with sores so bad that wearing a bra or showering was painful. I finally got that figured out just in time for us to move to Alabama when Emma was six weeks old. That adventure threw a whole new challenge in my way. Because of all the stress, I realized I was not producing enough. I could make it nursing all day, but would have nothing come the dinner and night time feedings. So I had to supplement. It worked, and it gave dad a little bonding time at night while I made dinner. She completely self weaned herself at six months.
When Dylan, our third baby came along sixteen months later, I again was all gung-ho on nursing. Unlike the other kids this pregnancy/birth had a little more stress involved with it. We had moved back to Indiana after a whirlwind year in Alabama, moved into a new house and my brother had just got married the week before Dylan made his grand entrance at 35 weeks. He was taken by an emergency c-section after 20 hours of labor, but had breathing issues and was taken to the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) before I could even hold him. I tried pumping while in the hospital, and they gave him what I had pumped. His stay in the NICU lasted eight days. That was enough to screw up my nursing plans right there. I pumped at home and would bring it in, but it was not the same. When he did come home, he would nurse but still be crying for more right after. So again had to supplement. I made it to three months before I dried up on my own, while still nursing. Going completely to formula was hard decision to make but it saved me from worrying that he wasn't getting enough.
Now my fourth pregnancy brought a completely different experience. At 7 weeks we found out we were expecting TWINS. I was excited, scared and everything else in between. Not to mention I could not wrap my head around the idea of even attempting to breastfeed two babies. Once again these babies were born early, 34 weeks 5 days, but we had two healthy baby girls, Anna & Audrey. I tried nursing right after the c-section and both of them did pretty well. Anna developed some breathing and eating issues from being slightly early, and was sent to the NICU while Audrey stayed with me at the hospital. They both were tiny and the pediatrician was concerned about their weights. He wanted to know exactly how much they both were eating and when. So I set out to make breastfeeding work. I would switch every other feeding - giving one baby a bottle and nursing the other. But for Anna, since she wasn't gaining, the doctor wanted me to pump and add formula to make it a higher caloric value so she would gain a little faster, And then he wanted me to do it for Audrey after a while too. Pumping, breastfeeding and bottle feeding got old really quick. I felt like I wasn't leaving the chair. After about 2 months of desperately trying to make nursing work, things dried up on their own again. There just wasn't enough milk for two babies. So to the formula we went.

2) What was your original plan for feeding your child, and how did that compare to what you ultimately ended up doing?
See question 1

3) What was the best part about how you fed your child? What was the worst?
I liked nursing my kids. I loved the cuddles and the close bond that was formed. Now saying that, I did cuddle with my bottle fed babies too, it was a different type of cuddle though. I found that breastfeeding was very relaxing and slow. Where bottle feeding seemed fast sometimes. As our family grew, it was nice to be able to give a bottle and move around if I needed to. And with the twins, the older kids were able to feel like they had an important job helping Mommy feed the girls. Either way has had it hardships - issues nursing and not producing enough, problems with finding the right formula.

 4) What would help you (or would have helped you) to feel supported/understood in your choices?
My family played a big part in my decisions. I was very lucky to have a wonderful support system between my mom, sisters and aunts when it came to breastfeeding. I don't recall having any negative feelings from people about how I fed my babies. They needed to eat. And if my body was not doing what it needed, then really the only other choice was to supplement. And all my family has enjoyed be able to partake in the feedings.

5) Think ten, twenty years into the future. If you could give your grown child one message about how you chose to feed him/her, what would it be?
If I could successfully breastfeed I was going to do it. If I tried and couldn't then I wasn't going to beat myself up about it. I needed to feed my babies and help them grow. I love them and would do anything to help them grow and flourish!

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