Saturday, August 20, 2011

How breastfeeding changed my life

I was chatting with my friend Kim the other day, another young mom in our ward who shares a lot of the same thoughts and philosophies I do. Truth be told, Kim is kind of one of my heroes. Natural-eating, co-sleeping, home birth mama with a beautiful bond and attachment to her baby girl. She shared with me some of her struggles with breastfeeding in the early months of her baby's life. As she told me some of the things that she had to do to continue breastfeeding I thought, "Goodness, I wonder if I would have gone through all of the trouble."

I absolutely love breastfeeding. I love how Hyrum will snuggle in. I love how it calms him when he's upset. I love how he gets so excited for our nursing sessions. I even love how rambunctious he's getting when he nurses. It just reminds me of how the breastfeeding relationship is constantly developing, constantly changing. In the early days you wonder if you'll ever move from the chair and then suddenly one day your nursing sessions are down to 5-10 minutes. They go from being cuddly to kicky, from lying to sitting. I just think it's amazing to watch the relationship mirror the baby's learning and growing.

And yet I think back to my early days of Hyrum's life. I'm pretty sure if it had been much of a struggle I would have thrown in the towel. I just wasn't committed enough. Truth be told, I was terrified of breastfeeding. Not on a philosophical level, just terrified that I wouldn't be able to figure it out. Thankfully, breastfeeding was not one of those things that came with difficulty for Hyrum and me. I thank Heavenly Father for that blessing because honestly, breastfeeding has changed my life.

Because I loved breastfeeding so much and it felt so natural, I began questioning some of the things I had read/learned/heard/thought about infant care. Because breastfeeding came easily, I transitioned from wanting to schedule feed to demand feed. Because I started feeding on demand, I found breastfeeding to be more than just food but also a time of comfort and cuddles for both my baby and mommy. Because breastfeeding was established, I desired to learn about other natural ways of living, including birthing. Because I breastfed and wanted to make my life a little easier, I moved our baby from the crib to our bed. Because I moved him to our bed, my husband and I have had some wonderful bonding moments as a whole family. Because I wanted my breastfed baby to grow up healthy and strong, I started taking better care of my own body. Because I wanted to take better care of my body I started eating healthy foods and exercising. Because I eat healthy foods and exercise, I have more energy and find greater enjoyment in my life. Because I love breastfeeding so much, I joined a La Leche League and met many wonderful mothers who live in my city. Because I met other moms, Calgary is starting to feel more and more like home. Because it feels more and more like home, I feel happy. '

And so now I realize that Heavenly Father provided me with a beautiful gift. If, for me, breastfeeding had been quite difficult in the beginning, I probably would have given up. But, if I had given up, I wonder how different my life would be today. I really like my life just as it is now. A number of things have changed, a lot have stayed the same, but I like the changes. I like how breastfeeding has changed my life.

How has breastfeeding affected your life?


  1. I'm glad I did it, but the difficult times outweighed the marvelous ones. And there were marvelous ones. Right up until the time we discovered my babies were starving to death. Literally. And everything I'd read/learned/heard/thought about breastfeeding made me feel guilty that it never worked out for me and mine. Weaning changed my life. For the better. Both times.

  2. I know that breastfeeding isn't always a fantastic experience. I've known a lot of moms who struggled and struggled with nursing to the point that they had to switch to formula. I think it's only natural that a mom would do what she needed for her babies to grow and thrive, even if that means moving to formula. I'm just really glad that for me in particular, it was so easy. I don't think that it will necessarily be this way with every baby. My mom breastfed her last 4 babies (babies 1-3 were formula fed from the start) and while it came very easily for two of her babies, the other two were incredibly difficult. Luckily things worked out for her in the end but I don't blame a mom for making the switch. Heck, I probably would have. I'm just grateful that didn't have to be a consideration because I think it changed a lot of other things that, at least for me, needed to be changed but I didn't really have the motivation to do it. I think all of those great things I learned from breastfeeding definitely could have been accomplished another way..

  3. Wow I feel so privileged to have made your blog. That is so nice what you said about me but I am definitely not all that. I am so happy that you have had such a good experience with nursing. It is seriously the greatest, if you can do it. I too love the time I get to sit and bond with jane as I nurse.

  4. I miss the bond with breastfeeding with my little guy. Going back to work has killed my little ones desire to breastfeed, besides the late night feedings. It has brought me to tears when he is upset and hungry, I try to breastfeed him, and he gets SUPER mad that I would EVER offer him "that thing that milk doesn't come out of automatically" I know going back to work is for the best, but it has killed me that the bond has been broken out of necessity.

  5. Amy, it sounds like you have a great bond with your little guy, even if it's not always via breastfeeding. Going back to work is tough but I think there are lots of things that kiddos learn through their mommies working--including how much they love them that they would help to provide for them! I think I'm really lucky that I didn't have to go back to work and that I happened to only have enough schooling left that I was able to take Hyrum with me most of the time. But, I have TONS of respect for working mamas. I hardly seem to be able to keep my home in a semi-organized fashion and I'm home ALL.DAY.LONG. I know that your little guy is getting everything he needs from you, no matter what is going into his tummy.

  6. I'm glad that breastfeeding has become easier, because it started out incredibly painful! I had to bite my tongue just to keep from screaming for the first 2 weeks. They were painfully sensitive to touch or to take a shower til about 3 months, and if I went longer than 4 hours without nursing, I felt like they were going to explode. So for 3-4 months, I was looking at the year-mark and thinking, is there any way I could possibly make that? How do mothers do this? Well, at 5 months all the nerves have finally been killed down there and I'm good to go for a full year and beyond.
    ps-I promise she was latching on right, I talked to several specialists!