Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Best Feeding

If there is one thing I ever did right, it would be breastfeeding. It truly is the "Best-Feeding" for a baby.

Not only did I nurse both my kids but I did it for an extended period of time. I nursed Ethan until he was 4 years and 3 months old and Shaylee until she was 4 years and 6 months old. I can vividly remember the last time they each nursed.

For Ethan, it was at an outdoor summer party. He swallowed one of those big ice cubes and it got stuck in his throat and he couldn't breath. When we finally cleared it, I instinctively started nursing him, even though he hadn't nursed at all for a couple of weeks. In that short of time, he had a bit of trouble remembering what to do with his mouth and I knew it would be the last time I would take him to my breast.

For Shaylee, she was going through a period where she wanted to nurse CONSTANTLY!! I mean she was getting up through the night and she was like a newborn again. I was going crazy. So one day, I laid down with her in the family bed, let her nurse and told her that although I love her like crazy, it would be the last time she would have "Boo" (our word for nursing). Instead, we would do more things together. I guess that's all she wanted because after a couple of days, she never asked again. We started doing tons of things together and still do. She is my wonderful little helper. I love both of my kids so much!

We probably won't have any more kids and that is the thing I miss most (and cloth diapers ;) ). I have an ache when I see my sister in law nurse her tiny little babe. I get sad when I see people who don't even try because there is still a stigma on it. I can't tell you how many people have said it is gross.

Nursing is not "gross". Is the nectar of early life. God made us perfect, including giving us the ability to feed our babes until they are able to feed themselves (like all mammals), then feed them as long as we can to build and strengthen their immune systems.

Another misconception is that it was easy for me. It was NOT easy. Ethan had a terrible latch that took forever to fix. Cracked, bleeding nipples are no fun. He also wanted to nurse constantly. I didn't know it at the time but he probably had food sensitivities as he was always fussy. Shaylee couldn't handle milk, which was easy to figure out (she got over it though starting with yogurt around a year old). I had thrush that would not go away until I stopped nursing (The kids didn't though, which was odd but I have yeast problems anyway). It hurt right up until the very last day I stopped after more than 6 years straight of nursing. I had little help, little support, I spent hours bawling because it hurt but no one could help me (doctors, useless, no LLL or lactation consultant at time), sleep deprivation, I was laughed at, pointed at, talked about, made to feel like I was abusing my kids but I would not trade it for anything.

In short, my real interest in food began when I started nursing. It is the best start for babies and highly recommend it to everyone :)

Note: The above picture is a series of posters my province released as part of their breastfeeding promotional campaign that wasn't around when I was starting out. There is also one of a lady tandem nursing at our hospital that I love but can't find it. Some parts of Nova Scotia are more accepting of nursing than others (it isn't as common in my town as I wish it would be).