Wednesday, August 27, 2014

You'll Be a Pioneer, Yourself

I was suddenly pulled back by a memory this week, of when I went to see the lactation consultant, back when Maeve was just a few months old.

We were not doing well with nursing, to say the least, for many reasons. Maeve was constantly fussy, constantly feeding, not sleeping well or napping well, and I was exhausted, emotional, and feeling like a failure. So I went back to the place where I'd gotten my nursing bras and signed up for a consultation with their LC.

The woman very kindly showed me some techniques for getting better production, weighed Maeve before and after a feeding to see how many ounces she was getting, and gave me some advice. But the best thing she did was listen to me.

I was telling her how my mother was really a pioneer for breastfeeding in her day, because the 80's was really the height of the formula companies trying to dissuade women from breastfeeding. My mother, however, kept both my brother and I on the breast for a year each, because she had grown up with terrible food allergies and wanted to try and prevent the same thing from happening to us - which she did.

The lactation consultant looked at me with gentleness, and said, "Honey, you're going to be a pioneer in your own way."

I almost cried the other night, thinking of her kind words to me. What a difference that made in my early months of parenting! I was so grateful for those words, I clung to them like a life preserver on my worst days. And not a month after that, we discovered Maeve's milk allergy, and everything changed.

I never became a super successful breastfeeding mom, but I did stick it out for 5 months despite having to pump for three of those, and being in pain every darned minute of it. And you know what? The consultant was totally right, she's totally right about all of us parents. We all have to do it ourselves, nobody can do it for us, and we all pioneer our own way of doing things, the best we can.

The early days

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