The other day I was watching Strahan and Sara, where the host Sara talked about the privilege of breastfeeding and that breastfeeding is more than just a nutritional food source debate for infants. As the mother of four, breastfeeding was something that was talked about when I was pregnant. I’m going to be completely honest with you, the first two kids I breastfed for maybe three months and then switched over the formula. When it came to our third child, I again attempted breastfeeding. She was a tiny baby with Uterine Growth Restriction and weighed 4 lbs. 8oz and this meant it was very difficult to get her latch on. Our sweet baby had a tiny, tiny mouth but I struggled through it because I wanted to give her what I believed to be the best start to her tiny life. I ended up breastfeeding her for a whole year, so when it came to “surprise your having baby number four”, I knew that I was going to attempt to breastfeed again. I had such determination from the last pregnancy that I was going to breastfeed her no matter what it took, whether that was breastfeeding directly skin to skin, mixed with pumping or just pumping, I wanted her to have breast milk. I struggled through the depression portion of breastfeeding, a sadness that you can feel, and successfully breastfeed another baby for a year.
During the time of my last two children, I was going for my master’s degree in professional counseling. Breastfeeding, taking care of four kids, their school, my school and everything else that goes along with being a parent kept me busy. When it came to taking my last intensive, which meant that I had to fly to Virginia for a week, I ended up having to postpone. I was still breastfeeding and couldn’t leave her, nor would I have the time to step out of class to pump.
I mention this because it ties back into Sara’s comment on breast feeding being a privilege, being able to stay home with your kids or having a job that can help fit in the feeding of your child is a privilege. Everything becomes about your child, you begin to fix your schedule around when they need to eat or when you need to pump. You wonder what you're going to wear, where you can go and for how long or if you have enough milk for them if you go away for the day.
I absolutely have had the privilege of being a parent to four children and I have had the privilege of breastfeeding all of my children. I love the idea of breastfeeding because it does connect you to your child in a special way that nobody else can. I am definitely not knocking using formula because like I said, I used formula mostly for the older two children. Furthermore, a feed child is definitely the best. There is a significant amount of pressure and guilt placed on mothers who don't have that privilege of being able to breastfeed. Everyone has to remember that circumstances are different for everyone because of job because, family circumstances, physical circumstances or mental health, a woman may not be able to breastfeed. You must do what is best for your family and for your child.
Please, be careful with pressing breastfeeding upon mothers especially in a time when her hormones are all whacked out, and please keep in mind that hormones do not regulate themselves right after birth. It is not as simple as flipping a switch and we’re “all good”.
I encourage you to breastfeed because it is a wonderful experience, it can be painful and frustrating, but a great way to connect with your baby. Doing what you believe is the absolute best for your children because in the end, that is exactly what matters. When they look up at you and say, “I love you” or come to you when they're crying with a hurt only you take care, you’ll know whatever choice you made was the right one. Above all, remember as a parent, whether that be natural or adoptive, you were chosen to connect with this child and that is the greatest privilege of all
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