Breastfeeding addendums:

a) I should note that I'm aware of La Leche league, and if we continue to have trouble breastfeeding, we're planning to get in touch with them, and/or possibly hire a lactation consultant for some one-on-one coaching. Lots of my friends have had trouble breastfeeding, and have strongly recommended getting help as needed.

b) And I should also note that I know lots of people who were fed exclusively on the bottle -- Kevin, for example, who was two months premature. And they turn out just fine. So while we'd like to breastfeed as much as possible, both Kev and I agree that we shouldn't make ourselves crazy trying to do it. Easier said than done, though -- the not going crazy bit.

c) The nurse just told me that last night's bilirubin went down from 11-ish to 10-ish. So that's good. Down is good. Now we just wait on this morning's lab results, and then the pediatrician's decision on what's best to do next.

2 thoughts on “Breastfeeding…”

  1. Breastfeeding is HARD for most women in the US. It’s a skill that usually both mother and baby have to learn. It’s a skill that’s almost impossible to learn by reading a book. It’s a skill you learn by doing it yourself or watching other people do. The folks who have an easy time
    a) grew up seeing women breastfeed. and/or
    b)lucky – they have a baby who knows exactly what to do and don’t have any problems themselves. There are also a few babies that sleep through the night really early too.

    I think my mom would have been mystified by my difficulties with Special K if it wasn’t for my movement disorder. In Burmese culture women just breastfeed their babies in front of other women. There’s none of this hiding behind a blanket like here. No hiding in the bathroom. Just going to a women’s place. So my mom saw lots of breastfeeding. Therefore breastfeeding me was not a big deal like it is here. My mom was a big help in helping me breastfeeding Special K because she knew me and how I move. She was also very reassuring.

    But for most US women they don’t have the support from their mothers. And breastfeeding takes a lot of time in the beginning while you’re both learning. A lot of time. Then it takes less time later. Even for Little T eventually I just lifted up my shirt and he started to eat. It’s an investment.

    I had a very time hard breastfeeding both kids for different reasons. Special K knew exactly what to do but I was clueless and Little T didn’t know what to do and his huge arm got in the way.

    Not being able to breastfeed makes most women cry. It’s a hormonal thing. You are biologically programmed to breastfeed. If you can’t you feel like a failure because in “the wild” it would mean your child would starve. Of course we have formula now. People say formula is just as good. Blah Blah. I don’t think it’s just as good. And Little T has gotten tons and tons of formula. However when faced with my child’s health versus breastfeeding I chose formula.

    I also learned from Little T that despite this early pressure to breastfeed it’s not a “must learn to breastfeed by X time or baby will never breastfeed.” Granted Little T was an exception but he didn’t learn to breastfeed until he was months past the “proper age”. I pumped which was a total PITA But eventually he was a great breastfeeder until more medical issues cropped up. In the long term it really helped him with his eating.

    I think the pressure to breastfeed at birth exists because of this fear that women will just give up “because it’s too hard.” I think this is anti-feminist. I think women give up because they don’t get the right amount of support to get to where things are easier or because for whatever reason they can’t make the initial investment to get over the hump to where breastfeeding is easy for mother and child. If I had had to go back to work I would not have had months to devote to pump and trying to breastfeed Little T.

  2. Mary Anne Mohanraj

    Thida, this was all really interesting. I think I’m too much in the midst of it all to have a clear opinion on it yet, but it’s helpful hearing your perspective…

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