I always knew that I wanted to be a mom. But I never really gave it much thought, from whether I’d be a working mom to whether I’d attempt breastfeeding. Then I lost my mom…and it all changed. I’m so glad to share my story thanks to my partnership with Babywise.Life on this sponsored post.
I wasn’t what you called a mama’s girl. I wasn’t exactly a daddy’s girl either. I was somewhere in the middle, but you wouldn’t know it from how many times I called my mom each day. In fact, after losing her unexpectedly, that was one thing that crushed me – reaching for the phone automatically to share the news, and realizing she wasn’t there for me anymore.
That day I found out I was expecting, almost a year to the date of losing my mom, I so needed to pick up that phone and talk to her. To tell her the news…I was having a baby girl.
The news of a baby on the way made me realize that things weren’t as they “should have been”.
I wouldn’t have my mom there holding my hand in the delivery room.
I wouldn’t have my mom there to guide me during those first few sleepless weeks. (Thankfully the sleepless nights didn’t last long!)
And the baby, well, she wouldn’t grow up with a grandma by her side, spoiling her with time and affection.
My future had changed in so many ways, so it was no surprise when decisions I needed to make reflected that.
You see, I was career-driven, never having given any thought to being a stay-at-home mom.
We had always joked that my mom would “watch” the kids, but not having my mom around, well, I didn’t exactly trust anyone else to care for my baby. So, when the time came, I surprised everyone I knew and became that “stay-at-home” mom.
That wasn’t the only decision that changed over the next few months.
One decision surprised even me…breastfeeding.
To be honest, I never gave it much thought.
In the back of my mind, thinking I’d still be working full-time, I figured I would bottle-feed (like my mom had done all those years before). My sister’s experience led me to believe this as well, as she had so much difficulty in the hospital trying to breastfeed (and not much support).
After much research and thought, I decided to attempt breastfeeding and succeeded in those early days. Looking back now I realize there was so much I didn’t know about breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding…What I Didn’t Know
Breastfeeding Burns Calories – Who knew that this simple task would burn calories? It does and I found it to be a consistent way to lose the baby weight.
Breastfeeding Relaxes You – it actually triggers the release of the hormone oxytocin, which relaxes both you and the baby. I actually miss how physically relaxed I became while nursing, one of the many reasons I nursed for so long – 16 months.
Alternate Breasts – You should alternate the breast you offer first at each feeding. I had no idea this was so important and found that documenting it in a baby journal during each nursing session helped.
Help is Available – For new moms like my sister, who found it challenging for so many different reasons, there are people who can help. I was fortunate that my hospital had a lactation consultant available to guide me those first few days – invaluable. You can also hire one to come to your home. Read more about common problems.
Longevity/Breast Cancer – I didn’t know I would nurse so long when I began. I ended up breastfeeding for 16 months, finding that the benefits for both baby and I surpassed any social pressure I felt to stop. There are health reports out there that it not only reduced my risk of breast cancer to continue, but it reduced the risk of my baby girl getting breast cancer in her future as well. Since I had lost my mom to complications from breast cancer, this was important to me.
You Won’t Know When It’s The Last Time – The weaning process is well, a process. You don’t just stop nursing overnight. There will come a day, when you will realize it’s over. I had heard about it…the not knowing when it’s the last time. It was true. And I cried. I cried hard.
In the end, knowing what I know now, I’m grateful for that special one on one time with my daughter. That physical bonding with my daughter perhaps helped me during a time when I was still grieving the loss of my own mom.
For that, I am grateful.
Did you make the decision to breastfeed or bottle-feed? What was something you didn’t know?
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Sara Phillips says
I breast-fed both boys but not for very long. I couldn’t get it down – even with the help of a lactation consultant. So I pumped for as long as I could (which wasn’t nearly as long as I would have liked!).
They say every little bit helps. It’s definitely not a fit for everyone at every time…I know my sister tried so hard, but ultimately had to bottle-feed. You have to do what works for your family and your health.
Karen L. says
Thank you for sharing your story. I really enjoyed hearing about your experiences. Your mom would be so proud of you and how you’ve raised your daughter.
I, too, went through a long breastfeeding journey with my daughter. I had planned to try breastfeeding for a few months because of all the benefits touted in parenting books but I was surprised how much resistance I received from those around me. From my ob, to my mom, grandmother and even some girlfriends who were new mothers, they all warned me how hard breastfeeding was and how it might not be enough for my baby. Sure enough, I got mastitis shortly after a few weeks of breastfeeding. My ob suggested I stop but I persisted. I found a la leche support group and tried different positions to get my daughter to feed better and more consistently. I blocked out all the distractions and found a rhythm with my baby and we were able to continue breastfeeding together for 18 months.
My daughter, who is now 10 years old, and I have an incredibly close and loving bond. I sincerely believe breastfeeding played a big part in our relationship.
I do believe every mother needs to choose what works best for her and her child, and wish more people felt that way. Supporting a new mom is crucial, no matter her choice…I’m sorry you felt so much resistance, but thanks for sharing your story too!