Learning more every day (breastfeeding)

Jack is only 8.5 weeks but I have learned a lot in these past two months. Most of the things I thought I knew about parenting before having a kid have gone out the window (for instance, I never thought I’d choose to cosleep – no reason for that, I just didn’t think I’d do it). The thing I knew the least about before having Jack was breastfeeding. I tried to read about it when I was pregnant but it was a totally abstract concept to me since I wasn’t able to do things hands-on (which is how I learn). My mom breastfed me only briefly (6 weeks – then she switched me to formula), and I can’t think of anyone else in my family who breastfed. Joe’s mom formula-fed all of her kids. Needless to say, I didn’t have a lot of familiarity and support for breastfeeding. I knew I would breastfeed, though, even if just for the fact that it would save me a TON of money.

I knew breastfeeding wouldn’t be easy right off the bat, but I was quite surprised at how difficult it was. Probably if I wasn’t so worn out from labor, and if I could learn by reading without the hands-on experience, it wouldn’t have been so difficult. Also, if I had been surrounded by people with breastfeeding knowledge, things would have been easier.

That first week was bad but things have improved every week since and breastfeeding is pretty easy at this point. I don’t know that I’ll ever be one of those people who LOVES breastfeeding (just as I wasn’t one of those people that loves pregnancy), but I do feel great knowing I’m giving my kid the best stuff there is. And while I don’t look down on those who choose to formula feed (in fact, I totally understand why people do it), I think it’s awesome that I’m not putting inferior food into my child.

These are the coolest things I’ve learned:

* I can eat anything I want. Technically I don’t even have to eat well and Jack will still get the nutrition he needs, but of course I will eat well because I don’t want my body to suffer.
* I can drink (moderate amounts) of wine & beer without having to dump the milk. Surprisingly, I rarely want wine anymore.
* My breasts still look as good as they did before (actually, they didn’t change at all – I know this is an individual thing, though).
* I won’t have to worry about giving Jack anything else for at least 6 months, and we can introduce solids on our own schedule after that. I plan to breastfeed Jack until at least 1 year. I don’t know beyond that – I’ll see how much longer we want to continue when we get there.
* I don’t have to worry about overfeeding, unlike bottle feeding. (Alas, we do use bottles at daycare, but I only leave what he needs plus an extra ounce in case I’m late or something.)
* The amount Jack eats doesn’t change much in the first year, except to decrease when we introduce other foods. My milk will change in concentration to meet his dietary needs.
* My breasts are never completely empty of milk.

We are still dealing with our share of issues. I think the biggest problem right now is actually an OVERsupply of milk. I guess of all the problems we could have this is the one I’d choose, but it’s still not fun. Hopefully we’ll get it under control soon.

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