Everyone Meet Heather!
1. Tell us about your personal breastfeeding experience with your children:
I honestly wasn’t sure if I wanted to would be able to breastfeed. Everything I had read seemed to stress the issues that people had with breastfeeding and I was nervous that it would be too painful or inconvenient. I know, self-centered of me but knowing I had to return to work at 6 weeks post partum, I didn’t know if I’d be able to make the commitment of pumping as well. I told my husband I would try but if it didn’t work, it didn’t work and we would look into formulas.
When baby was born she immediately latched. No issues, no problems. She was latched for over 45 minutes on her first attempt. I was overwhelmed and overjoyed. I was so proud of her for being able to do it; I didn’t realize that I was also proud of myself for actually attempting it, even though I was so nervous. I cried. Knowing that I was giving my daughter my healthy milk and watching her be so content on my chest was my first “Oh my god, I’m a mom and this is my baby” moment.
When I went back to work, I buckled down and forced myself to pump so I could continue feeding her pumped milk while I was at work. It can be another job in itself but 6 and half months later, she is still entirely breastfed and we’ve started introducing solids. She is growing and developing amazingly.
I wake myself up an extra hour early for work so that I can have my morning time with her while she nurses. She falls back to sleep and I head to work. Sometimes I think I would prefer the sleep but that’s our time. Breastfeeding has made that time intimate for me. She will always be my baby.
While it was daunting at first, I look at breastfeeding as a goal. I first told myself I would at least try and breastfeed her at the hospital. Then I said I would attempt to go a whole month. And then 3 months. And then 6 months. My goal right now is 9 months. I never let the constraints of breastfeeding overwhelm me to the point that I neglect how amazing my milk is for her.
The old saying goes “They never said it would be easy, they just said it would be worth it” and honestly, it has been so worth it.
2. What is your view of breastfeeding in public, and why?
I was honestly scared to at first.
“What if I mess something up?”
“ What if I slip out?”
The first time I NIP’d I was at my brother’s baseball game. I walked all the way to the back corner of the field and laid with her on a blanket. A couple weeks later, at lunch with my mom, my daughter refused the bottle of pumped milk because she could smell me. My mom saw my nervousness and just said “Do it”. She held the blanket while I positioned little one and she nursed the whole meal. No one said a thing.
Moms have lives, obviously. And we need to get things done. Sometimes nursing in public is necessary.
I do try and “top her off” before we go out so that it’s less of an inconvenience to stop and feed her if I have a list of things to accomplish but I’m not as concerned anymore. Yesterday, I went to the movies with the hubby and nursed her right there in my seat.It took me a few times to get comfortable with it but now it’s a breeze.
My mom’s advice for nursing in public resounds in my head every time I get nervous about it.
“No restaurant would ever make you eat your meal in a bathroom stall or your car if there was a perfectly good table in their restaurant to sit at; your baby shouldn’t have to either.”
All the more power to the mommas who do it! It can be extremely time consuming. I work 10 hour days and come home to immediately nurse. Little one usually naps for about 45 minutes and I use that time to unpack from work, straighten up and eat my own dinner. Then she’s up again and it’s tubby time and then she nurses until she falls asleep. Would I love to have the 2 extra hours to accomplish things, absolutely, but knowing the benefits of what I’m doing outweigh that feeling. I hope to nurse until she turns one but like I said previously, I’m taking little steps towards that goal.
No, sometimes I feel guilty that I had it too easy. She latched, I produced. But the more I talk to other breastfeeding moms I realize that’s not the case. Many women have no issues with breastfeeding but we don’t often hear from them. We usually highlight the horror stories instead.
Not at all. I am proud of myself for attempting and then sticking with breastfeeding. I was able to reach out to other breastfeeders using TheBump.com and sought support when I needed it.
I don’t frown upon formula or mothers that use them but as a mom who went back and forth between the two options, I am so unbelievably happy that I gave nursing a chance. My daughter is flourishing and the money I’ve saved on formula has helped us out tremendously. When you do it, you’ll know. Breastfeeding can’t be forced. It’s an act of literally giving yourself to your child and honestly, I see nothing more beautiful in my life.
Don’t forget to Check out Heather’s Blog, Keeping Up With the Giffords!
If you would like to be featured in “Clever Cleavage” please contact me: Jamie(at)iamnotthebabysitter(dot)com