Monday, July 5, 2010

My Lightbulb Moment

My friend Toni over at Our Sentiments  wrote a wonderful post in response to PhD in Parenting's post entitled, "I Won't Ask Why You Didn't Breastfeed."

If you have a minute, I highly suggest reading both pieces. The following is my response (and actually, verbatim comment on) Toni's post. 

The first time I ever even considered that I could possibly breastfeed Kairi, my second child, happened because of a conversation that began, “Well, why didn’t you breastfeed Gracie?”

I was at a baby shower for my best friend and I was pregnant myself. The woman who asked is now someone who I am so happy to be getting to know – the Le Leche League leader for the group I go to.
I explained to her my reasons – none of which were very well founded, and all of which she very gently corrected my information. For instance, I thought that breastfeeding was going to be so natural that I wouldn’t have to do any reading or educate myself on it at all. I just assumed that I’d put my baby to my breast and she’d eat, easy as pie. Tori explained to me that nursing is a learned skill, something that both mother and child have to practice in order to master.

Since the nurses at the hospital where I gave birth to Gracie weren’t much help, I waited until we got home and in a more relaxed, comfortable setting to try nursing her again. By that time, however, I was incredibly engorged – and even after having nursed for 15 months, Kairi and I still have a little bit of a rough time getting latched if I’m engorged. I didn’t know that though, so I thought that there was something wrong with me. I figured that Gracie had gotten by well enough on formula by that time so I shrugged it off and reached for the can of Good Start the hospital so *ahem* generously handed me on my way out. Tori managed to explain to me that there was nothing wrong with me and that my body was completely capable of providing for my children.

Before that conversation, without a doubt in my mind I knew I was going to be formula feeding. But as soon as she started explaining things, it was like a light bulb turned on and my world was turned upside down (in the very best way possible!)

As soon as I got home, I broke out all the pregnancy books I owned and opened them to the breastfeeding chapters. I looked up breastfeeding information online. I educated myself and prepared myself as much as a woman who had never seen a baby nursing in person possibly could. And when I delivered my baby, we nursed like champs and we continue to do so 15 months later.

So do I agree that we should perhaps quit asking why people choose not to breastfeed? No, I don’t. I certainly see the reasons why some might not and I also choose to use my own personal discretion when it comes to who and how I ask, but from my own personal experience I KNOW that if not for that specific question, I would not, under any circumstances, even tried to nurse.