Thursday, May 9, 2013

Feeding With Love- A Breastfeeding Story

My breastfeeding journey so far has been one that I already cherish. While the first few days were extremely challenging (mostly day three when my milk came in and it hurt almost as bad as contractions. Word to the wise future moms: Do not use cabbage as a natural remedy. It's not worth the stink. Also, make sure to have a pump right away, even just a cheap handheld one!), the rest has been pretty enjoyable. I feel like I grow so much as a mom and as a person with each feeding. I joke that I am growing more and more "hippie" since I am more free with where I feed and when I cover up my feedings. In Micah's first few months, I attended the most amazing parent-baby group at Evergreen Hospital in Kirkland and the fabulous teacher, Christine, said that she read somewhere that in some other languages, the word for breastfeeding is literally translated as "making peace for your baby". I feel so fortunate that Micah and I have been able to connect in such an intimate and peaceful way. I love gazing at him lovingly like a mama bird. I love when he first started gazing right back up at me. I am smitten over his first distracted feeds where he raised his little hand up to touch my face. His little pinches, powerful grasps, and slaps at my breast when my milk doesn't come fast enough for him tickle my future memories. Each time he reaches up and grasps for wisps of my hair, parts of my scarfs, or the springy dangling strap of my unhooked bra, I reach back with love for the little willful being so attached to his mama. It's a funny thing, this breastfeeding. It is just about as surreal as the whole act of growing a human inside me was. I don't like to throw around the term magical, but feeding and sustaining Micah with a constant supply of milk is just that; magical. As hard as our often sleepless nights can be, it is not hard when I think that I am meeting his needs and sustaining his little life. Even at seven months, I am not concerned that he is not "sleeping through the night" or that we are establishing "bad habits". Micah is less interested in nursing to sleep now, which makes me a bit sad. It is the first true sign that he is not an infant anymore (ok, so crawling and cutting two teeth were also good signs of that, but they didn't have the same weight for me emotionally). 

As a working mom, I can say that I have a love/hate relationship with this breast milk thing, since I love feeding Micah and connecting with him skin to skin daily (now nightly), but I really do come close to the dreaded H word (h-a-t-e for those of you not in the world of Kindergarteners) for pumping. Pumping was so isolating in the beginning, until I wised up and brought the pump out of my closet and onto my desk. It was isolating when I locked my door and put up a warning sign. It was taking away my free time, my planning time, my lunch time, my prep time, my sanity when I tried to pump three times a day (before school, at lunch/planning, and after school). I finally decided to be at peace with the idea of Micah having mostly formula while I work and thus I am down to pumping just once a day at lunch time. Today was the first day that I did not pump a single time at work and while I thought I would be feeling elated at the idea of not "wasting time" and not lugging the heavy thing back and forth (not to mention cleaning the thing each night), I'm feeling a bit sad. I am hoping that this doesn't signal a decrease in my supply. I'm also wondering if perhaps my supply has just shifted to produce at night instead (which would make sense as to why Micah is back to sleeping and feeding all night).

I love this journey and I hope that we remain on it, at least part time, for the rest of his first year. I hope that feeding my future children will be just as easy and peaceful. I understand the benefits that bottle feeding provides and I have been happy to have Phil or Susan make bottles for Micah, but as long as my milk is still in supply, I will continue to connect with my little baby at the breast. I am also likely to continue to grow more "hippie" and flash my breast more often while in public as it is natures way. 

I have read a few blogs on breastfeeding that I have found extremely helpful, so if you are interested, you can find them here and here and here. Oh yeah, and you know that breastfeeding mama who was so controversial on the cover of Time magazine a while back? I subscribe to her blog and love so much of what she writes!

Just in case my self admitted "hippie"status gave you any indication that I am looking for tips and advice on how to get Micah to eat solid food and sleep through the night, I'm not...but, thanks anyways!

Here's a few photos from our journey so far. If you are anyone but my brother, you may enjoy them.

Our first days learning how to feed

The horrible third day. This has to be the most embarrassing photo of my life, but it so tells part of the story of our breastfeeding journey! 
Ignore the beverage and check out the cute "Hooter Hider" 

Busting out the Boob. Cover free on the ferry.

Connecting with gazes, grabs, and kisses. And so began the "distracted feeds".


  1. love this! i hear ya with the dreaded 3rd day engorgement! I was prepared to avoid that this time around but no such luck ;)

  2. So sweet! Treasure it, because one day Micah might just up and decide he's done with breastfeeding and you'll be left in tears realizing that the night before was your last feed and you didn't have time to savor it. Love that you whip it out now! It's not "hippie" it's just adapting! I do it all the time. :-) Hate to know how many people have seen these boobs. Ha!

  3. Ok so I'm reading this almost 2 years after you posted it :) but I love it! I'm hooked on your blog now! My baby just started refusing (very violently!) to nurse anymore. I miss it. So reliving it through your story has been fun!


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