Monday, August 15, 2011

Mythbusters: Breastfeeding 101

With under 5 weeks to go, I thought I was on auto-pilot, smooth sailing if you would. The birthing class was a smashing success, the CPR class lovely, Baby Weeks' room is pretty much set up, clothes are washed, we are ready to go. I've even been looking forward to breastfeeding - selfishly, it will help me lose weight faster and maybe even prevent certain cancers, and it couldn't be a better choice for baby. Breast is best for a reason, breast fed babies really get a head start on life and I've been determined to do a good job feeding my little one. Now, I'm scared shitless. This is going to be a challenge.

Personal Myth #1: Breastfeeding is quick and easy. I've seen babies drink out of bottles, it takes like 5 minutes, breastfeeding will be the same.
Busted: Breastfeeding takes between 10-20 min per breast, with a grand total of up to 40 minutes every time you do it. Babies eat at least every 3 hours, that means I could be at this almost 6 hours a day. HOW DO YOU DO ANYTHING ELSE? HOW DO PEOPLE WORK? On average, he'll need to eat twice during the night and I'll have to be up for 40 minutes doing it, when do you sleep??
I also have crazy obligations in the month of October - the first weekend I have my SIL's baby shower, then the next my soon to be SIL bridal shower, the next a wedding we wanted to go to, the one after my soon to be SIL's bachelorette, and finally my mom's bridal shower for my soon to be SIL. In my head I though I'd be cool going to all of these events, now I can't wrap my head around any of them. Am I going to have to trek my little guy around at 2, 3, 4 weeks old so I can feed him on the hour? And with it taking so long to do, how do you "excuse" yourself from a shower for 40 minutes? All of these things are so important to me and I already feel like I'm letting people down.

Personal Myth #2:
I'll start pumping ASAP so Jesse can do night feedings and I can sleep.
Busted: First, you have to wait 3-4 weeks (at least) to introduce a bottle. Fine. But, the way the whole science of this works is that your breasts produce milk when baby takes milk. So if Jesse does the night feedings and I sleep, that means my production will slow way down because I'm going 8 hours between feedings. I'll have to either pump during the night when he bottle feeds or suck it up and keep it up all night.

Personal Myth #3
: I'll feel attractive again once I lose the weight after baby arrives.
Busted: It's been hard being surrounded by my very pretty and very skinny friends all summer. I've gained over 30 pounds and feel like a huge blob every day. My maternity clothes are starting not to fit and I'm starting to worry what I'll do about work - I certainly don't want to spend money on something I'll wear for 3-5 weeks, but what else can I do? Thus, I've been looking forward to my post baby body with vigor. I've kept up my exercise routine (2 mile walk/runs 3-4 days a week and yoga weekly) and don't have any stretch marks to date so have been hopeful. However, after watching the videos at the breastfeeding class, my hope sank. How can anyone feel sexy leaking milk out of their boobs all the time? How can my husband and I reinvigorate a sexual relationship when if he touches my breasts they will most likely start spurting milk?

Personal Myth #4:
Once baby comes, the responsibility will be more even for his care.
Busted: How could it be more even with the responsibility, time, and care it takes to breastfeed? Again, I feel like this entire process is on the mother's shoulders. I don't want to fail, I don't want to do bad job, I want to be a good mom. Despite all of this, I am still determined to make breastfeeding work. It's worked for thousands of years for women who's circumstances far exceeded my own, I can make it work for me. But like everything that comes with the joy of motherhood, it is that - work. At least I am better informed now so none of this will come as a shock once my little guy gets here. I've got 5 weeks left to let it all sink in, prepare, and think of all of the joy being so close with him will bring!

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