By Heather Sobieralski, originally posted on OwningPink.com
When the supermodel Gisele made a statement this summer that it should be a law for all mothers to breastfeed their babies for six months, it got me thinking about my own experience with little ones at my breasts. I had very different feeding journeys with my two children. My second child latched on immediately. He made sweet suckling noises, stared into my eyes and paused his nursing only to smile at me. It was beautiful, natural and exactly how we are brainwashed that it should be. But it is amazing that I had tried a second time at all, as trying to feed my first child was at best, mechanical. I needed eight arms, 17 contraptions, tea bags for my nipples and a big box of tissues for my tears.
I was firm in my decision to at least try to breastfeed. I had read (just like every other anxious and overly informed first-time mother) that breast is best. So if I was going to be the best mom I could possibly be, I was going to try my hardest — despite infections, blood, puss, and completely losing my freedom, body and confidence, damn it!
Breastfeeding is NOT always so natural
I had a hell of a time right off the bat. My baby would suck my breasts like a high powered Hoover Vac for four seconds and pull off (nipple still attached in mouth) flailing, grunting and stretching me before releasing my injured nipple to let out the most unbearable scream as if to say,”YOUR MILK SUCKS, MOMMMMMMYYYY!!!” We tried this ritual every two hours on the dot for the next two days. I had nurses, lactation consultants and friends with “breasts made for feeding” come and try to help the situation. No luck.
My baby was so hungry in the hospital that all she did was cry — literally, that is all she did for two days. But the “good mother” that I was, I refused to give her formula or a bottle because all of my “handy books” said that bottles would result in nipple confusion — and we both seemed confused enough, thank you very much! The nurses talked me into taping a tiny tube to my breast down to my nipple which would run formula into my baby’s mouth, as she was “breast feeding”. Um, no luck there either — the only difference was that I got a belly button full of formula.