In lieu of World Breastfeeding Week, I can’t help but think about my own personal journey through breastfeeding my son. I had such nervous anticipation when the nurses handed him to me in the delivery room. Would he latch on? Would I know how to position him? I literally had no idea what I was doing despite countless hours of research, and the variety of negative stories I kept hearing about from other mothers made me panic.
Fortunately, my son latched on and we made it through the rest of our hospital stay with him nursing as often as newborns do. There were many times (or all the times, really) where my desire for sleep battled his desire for food. And yet, we made it through the hospital stay and the rest of maternity leave. As my time at home came to an end, more worry crept in as I tried to figure out how to balance pumping and work. Some days were really hard. I had meetings to attend and students to see – and my professional duty coincided with my parenting one. Which would I put first? Work definitely won out more than once. And after more than a couple of embarrassing leaks, I got serious and started making goals. A year later, I am shocked that I made it so far without giving up – though I came close a couple of times. There was another woman at work who was pumping and breastfeeding during the same time and she became such an incredible source of support and encouragement. I couldn’t have made it the whole year without her. Other things I affectionately remember from the last year of pumping and breastfeeding…
- The room in which we both had to pump had a full sized stand up cardboard cut-out of John Wayne. Poor John, he saw a lot more that year than he probably ever needed to.
- This room was also fondly referred to as the Milking Room, where many jokes were made about making cheese. I didn’t mind as this eased all my feelings of awkwardness in having to disappear every three hours.
- Before heading to work to pump, my son often woke up at 5 am to feed, so I started bringing him in to bed with us. I loved nursing him then, with both of us half asleep so that we could crash out until the alarm went off.
Every woman’s breastfeeding story is different. Wherever you are at – the beginning, the middle, or even the end- walk with hope and focus on your personal goal. Ignore negativity and find support. Don’t take yourself too seriously and instead of crying over spilled milk, laugh instead. Take your journey moment by moment instead of trying to race to the end.
And if you are like me, feeling ignorant about how to start or overwhelmed by countless opinions –take some advice from John Wayne who said, “Courage is being scared to death… and saddling up anyway.” Then, check out the following links for what I think are the best resources and support on breastfeeding for the Colorado Springs Mom.
- Penrose-St.Francis Breastfeeding Classes, Groups, and Consultations
- Memorial Hospital Breastfeeding Class
- La Leche League CS Meet-Ups (North, Old CO City, Downtown, and West)
- Preparing for Birth Breastfeeding Classes
- Westside Birth Connection Breastfeeding Classes