Mama in the City

A blog about raising my family in downtown Vancouver

If you have been following this blog you will know that I am all thumbs up when it comes to breastfeeding babies! This week it is World Breastfeeding Week and I am here to give a Woot Woot in celebration of this week! Here is a true story about my not so graceful introduction into breastfeeding. It turns out that breastfeeding can be difficult and challenging but it usually gets easier and better. My personal and professional opinion is that ANY breastfeeding is good. If you did it for a week or a year or you just did it the first two days after birth: any is better than none! So, way to go!

When we brought Benjamin home from the hospital engorgement was already my middle name. It was so bad that my sister saw me trying to latch my newborn on and she thought my boob was the baby's head. The engorgement was the worst I had ever seen and it made things really difficult. However, it turns out that my husband is really awesome in supporting me when I was figuring everything out about nursing. We took the approach that breastfeeding was the best option for our family and that we would just go with it and try our best. Conquering hurdles along the way!

A few days into being at home things are still not going smoothly. There are milk drops all over the hardwood floor and my chest literally looks like there are rocks shoved under my skin. One particular evening I am perching on a chair in the living room and trying to latch Ben on. This baby wanted nothing to do with my slow precise movements and was getting frantic. I was exhausted and hormonal and was also starting to feel frantic. Bring on the tears!

The engorgement really was tremendous and lasted a long time. It really it felt like this whole business sucked ass and I wondered if I would ever learn how to do this. My computer savvy husband goes on line and finds out how to latch a baby on when you are engorged and how to basically stop being engorged. So, we are sitting in the living room of our apartment and my husband starts explaining, in a step by step fashion, how to decompress my breast so that I can create more soft tissue for the baby to latch on to by decongesting some of the venous fluid and also express a bit of the fore milk. I can vividly recall him telling me to, 'use your fingers like a flower petal around your areola and press inwards to your chest wall.' The dude knew his stuff and he helped me out in a crazy way! He saw a problem and figured out how to fix it.

Even though I have taken courses on this topic and I teach breastfeeding it was different when it was my tired experience with my frantic newborn. That is just the way and I was not afraid to get help from coworkers/friends. I am so grateful that my husband was able to support me and help me figure things out. They were my boobs but really they were his son's too and he wanted to help us both out. So, here we go with World Breastfeeding Week! Woot!


Kristen said...

Hey Andrea, glad to see you are featuring world breastfeeding week too!

August 3, 2009 at 5:20 AM  
mama duck said...
Allison said...

Oh you look weary and tired in that photo. Good on you for posting that for all us readers. Very brave! Some women are too uptight to be so honest. What would you have done if breastfeeding hadn't of gotten easier?

August 3, 2009 at 11:24 AM  
Mama in the City said...

haha I was tired in that photo! I think that was day 1 at home things were still quite of a shock :) I also didn't really give myself any options if nursing hadn't worked out becase I just felt like it would work out and plodded onwards. I just kept the hope it would get easier. When Ben was 10 days old and things were still tricky I had a coworker come over. She is a lactation educator and she gave me so much confidence. I think it was 3 weeks in that I felt like it was so much easier! Ben also did have some formula as I figured things out.

August 3, 2009 at 11:51 AM  
Shelley said...

LOL @ your husband. That is quite wonderfully funny and so supportive. Happy World Breastfeeding Week to all mothers who have used human milk at some point with their bubs.

August 3, 2009 at 1:52 PM  
Janet said...

i didn't realize that there was a whole week. cool! nice post. love reading your blog.

August 3, 2009 at 10:01 PM  
Sister Sarah said...

Before I had Sophie I remember reading that your boobs might engorge to the size of footballs...hard to believe that mine were more like the size of submarines (not the sandwich variety either!). The second time around the breastfeeding was easier but the engorgement was just as bad. And you know it's bad when the doctor looks shocked at the sight of your bosom! Cabbage leaves were my friend. I remember trying to help you those first few days and feeling your pain and frustration. But you were strong sister and stuck through it! And I know, like me, how much you'll miss it when Ben stops...although throwing away the nursing bras is always a bit of a celebration!

August 5, 2009 at 9:37 AM  
Melanie said...

Good post. Sister Sarah that was funny re. size of submarines.

August 5, 2009 at 7:55 PM  
Husband in the City said...

I thought the happy, but tired look on this dog's face said it all (she is nursing two red panda cubs and her own litter of pups).

August 6, 2009 at 9:19 PM  
Mama in the City said...

Hmm...well husband, I guess the dog is breastfeeding. I am not sure that is the correct term but it seems like it could work. The mama dog looks very tired. Sort of like me in the picture I posted in this entry haha.

August 7, 2009 at 9:34 AM  

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