Monday, August 23, 2010

Feeding that kid

Speaking of changes in personality and stuff breastfeeding has been an interesting experience. I’m not going to go into too much detail but I want to shed some light on the subject of perceptions vs. reality of breastfeeding.

First from what I hear, my breastfeeding experience has been pretty easy. I haven’t had any infections or milk production problems. Overall we have had a good breastfeeding experience so far. It was hard to get used to, and was pretty exhausting at first, both emotionally and physically, but we have fallen into a good rhythm and Lu is just not as needy as when she was first born.

I grew up learning that breastfeeding, total breastfeeding was the only way to go. So it didn’t take much convincing to breastfeed. However, it is one of those things that nothing can really prepare you for, and is just one aspect of the all encompassingness of those early baby days.

There are many variations/intensities of breastfeeding. Some women partially breastfeed, supplementing with formula. Some women breastfeed exclusively for a while, then add in solids. Some mamas pump to stash some milk, or who want to breastfeed despite working (pumping really sucks by the way). along the way I came upon something called ecological breastfeeding which is a more extreme form of exclusive breastfeeding. Ecological breastfeeding does not allow any supplements, bottles or passifiers for the first six months. After six months there are still no bottles, or pacifiers but most start introducing solids.

Now I am all for breastfeeding, I think it is a great way to feed your baby and I have enjoyed it. but like our sleeping habits we’ve taken something of a combination path when it comes to breastfeeding. We knew that we would be taking a trip for our honeymoon when Lu was four months old. So when she was three weeks old I started pumping once a day and Andy started giving Lu a few bottles a week. At first, I felt weird about giving her a bottle even with breastmilk in it, but then Andy took me on a date for my 23rd birthday when she was six weeks old, and it was the best date of my life. After that I was a complete convert. If she wasn’t ever using a bottle there would be no dates until she was on mostly solid food, and who wants to go months and months without a date?

Before Lu was born I assumed that giving her bottles was somehow a bad choice. Breastfeeding is great and I am so grateful that it has worked out so well for us, since I know it doesn’t for some people, but if the baby never learns how to use a bottle then the mom cannot be away from baby for long until the baby is weaned. If I had done this it would make me really want to wean. I love spending time with Lu, but any parent needs a break sometimes especially from the demands of a baby. I highly recommend teaching baby how to use a bottle even if you never plan on using it.

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