Thursday, August 22, 2013

Kirstan's Nursing Journey

          Today, we have a guest post by Kirstan, who was unable to breastfeed her first baby but is happily still going strong with her second, who is almost one.

Kirstan's Nursing Journey

         I always knew I wanted to be a breastfeeding mother, the mother with no shame to feed her baby anytime, anywhere. Maybe it was the rebel in me, but I knew it would happen. What I didn't know was I'd be a mother so soon in my life and be pregnant by 16. Being a young mom, as many know, is hard. The world is hard enough without having a baby to take care of while still being a baby yourself. I failed, I didn't try hard enough to nurse and there were too many people in my ear who 'knew better'. Formula won.

          Fast forward 5 years and I found out I was pregnant again. I had another opportunity to breastfeed, I WAS GOING TO BREASTFEED! My 2nd son was born and it was my chance to make it all right, to be the mother I wanted to be! I never really had breastfeeding support, in fact, my in laws think it's gross. None of that mattered. He was a champ from the second he was put to my breast, perfect latch and all. IT WAS REAL. I was nervous and a million questions ran through my head,  "Can I do this?", "Am I capable?", "Is he getting enough?" Once my milk came in, I was  MISERABLE! My breasts were so engorged that my poor baby couldn't even latch. IT HURT! It got to the point where he couldn't eat and I was losing my sanity. My mom, who was there with me on a particularly bad day, rushed to the store and bought a nipple shield and I FINALLY HAD SOME RELIEF! He could get his belly full and I could get a break from the pain! We used the shield for about 3 weeks total because he seemed to have an easier time with it then with having to 'work to latch'. It was a pain, I hated that damn thing. What I tried to do was only use it every other feeding but, at times, he just was too lazy. Finally, one day, we just didn't need it. SWEET FREEDOM! We had reached our 1st month and it was all smooth sailing from there.

          I never really had a goal when thinking I was going to exclusively breastfeed. It was always "I'm going to follow his cues". If a month, or 3 months, or 6 months, I was not the leader in this journey. My body knows more than any textbook and it's just what has always felt right. We are coming up on a year now and, honestly, there is no way I could wean him at this point in our lives. I never knew how truly amazing this experience could be. It's been a very challenging and trying road, full of ups and downs. I think formula feeding  babies has its advantages, (with my first, I was able to have more freedom because he wasn't solely dependent on me for food) but I think that having a little less freedom is worth it for the bond we've created. I'm lucky enough to say that Phoenix has never had formula and never will. I am fortunate enough that I've been able to be with my babe for his entire first year and have never had to pump. I PRAISE THOSE WHO HAVE TO PUMP because it's hard and I honestly don't know if I could do it  full time. When I'm old and gray and my babies have grown into fathers themselves, I will look back on these days as some of the best of my life, I am truly blessed.

About the Author:

Kirstan is a 23 year old Stay-at-home mama of 2 boys, ages 6 and almost 1.

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