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Thursday, April 19, 2007Welcome to the sixth Carnival of Breastfeeding! This month the theme is "What I didn't expect when I was expecting." Below my entry, you'll find links to other bloggers' posts on that theme.
I've told the story before about talking with a friend about breastfeeding while we were both about halfway through our first pregnancies. She'd planned to nurse for "a couple of months" before switching to formula because anything beyond that was "weird." I, being the ever so enlightened one (lol) said that I planned to nurse for SIX months, but that I'd probably switch to formula after that because nursing after six months is "weird."
Oh how things change.
So how does nursing compare to what I expected?
Well, I expected it to be easy and I expected to not like doing it. (But was going to do it anyway because I knew it was important.)
Turns out that it's difficult and I LOVE doing it.
Oh how things change.
I never took a breastfeeding class before Elnora was born. After all, women had been nursing since time began. Why would I have to LEARN how to nurse? (Quite a strange line of thinking for someone who devoted tons of time to learning the Bradley method with the aim of a natural childbirth...you know, the ones that had been happening since time began?)
When Elnora was born, I had her nursing within about 20 minutes. She latched on and went to town, it was great.
Then the second night hit and everything went to Montana.
I did finally take a breastfeeding class...in the hospital, three days after she was born, just before we left and after things had already gone crazy.
As most of you know, that tale ended up with me exclusively pumping for about 14 months.
The second time, I STILL didn't take a breastfeeding class. After all, I was a lot smarter now. I was the Lactivist for goodness sake, why would I need breastfeeding classes. (yes, you can all roll your eyes now...)
Thankfully, Emmitt was the polar opposite of his sister. While we did hit a rough patch when I ended up with a cracked nipple, it only took one trip to an LC to get things in order. At almost seven months, we're still going strong with no plans to give up any time soon.
The things that surprised me most beyond just the difficulty of it all?
The time it took... With Elnora, I remember calculating the amount of time I spend pumping, washing parts, making bottles and feeding her each day. It added up to about 7 hours. That didn't count diaper changes or playing. It also didn't factor in that I was working 50 hours a week from home. I have no idea how I didn't end up institutionalized. With Emmitt...he ate 10-12 times a day until he was four months old. I learned to type one handed while nursing. I only work about 20 hours a week now. ;)
The knowledge I'd gain... Not just on the mechanics of breastfeeding, but on the values of it. I'm now known as the crazy "breast milk will fix that" person in my family. Got pink eye? Let me get you some breast milk. One of the kids sick? Let me pump milk for them. My great aunt is losing too much weight? Let's sneak breast milk into her milk shakes! (No one takes me up on it...lol.)
The fact that I'd become an activist... I remember talking to Greg when I got ready to launch this site. "It'll just be a fun hobby site," I explained. He laughed at me. "As if you could EVER do anything that was JUST a hobby." He's right...I now get as much mail each day about the Lactivist as I do about my real job (and believe me, that's no small amount.)
The fact that I'd become a crusader... This is different from being an activist... My Lactivist fun has me fighting and educating, while my crusader days mostly has me educating and informing and sometimes fundraising. I'd never heard of milk banks until after Elnora was born and now I'm trying to make sure that everyone else has heard of them as well.
What do I wish someone had told me?
I really wish someone had pushed me to get to a breastfeeding class early on in my pregnancy.
I wish someone had told me that I could pump for awhile while working on Elnora's latch...that it didn't have to be one or the other.
I wish someone had told me to read Misconceptions while I was still pregnant.
I wish someone had told me that just because sometimes you want to run away and hide from your kids, it doesn't mean that you don't love them.
I wish someone had told me that snuggling up to a happily nursing baby that will sometimes laugh when he's fallen into a milk induced slumber was one of the most amazing feelings in the world.
Well...maybe that last one...I'm glad I got to find out all on my own.
So what things surprised you the most about nursing? Was it the time? The difficulty? The enjoyment? The hating it? I don't think it ever goes quite how we expect it to and I know that my experience has been that each child is very different.
After you've shared your thoughts, check out the other entries in this month's carnival.
Motherwear Blog - What I Didn't Expect When I Was Expecting
Breastfeeding Mums - What I Wish I'd Known About Breastfeeding
Mama Knows Breast - Top Ten Things I Didn't Expect About Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding 1-2-3 - What I Didn't Expect When I Was Expecting
Spit Up On My Shoulder - Education is Key
Adventures of a Breastfeeding Mother - What I Didn't Expect About Breastfeeding
New Mama's Next - The Surprises of Breastfeeding an "Early Bird"
The True Face of Birth - What I Didn't Expect While Pregnant
Down With the Kids - Goodbye Booby
The Spice Choir - How Breastfeeding Changed My Social Life
Labels: Breastfeeding Advice