Guest post: From my Belly to my Chest

While I’m on vacation until Aug. 9 (and quite possibly for the day or two after I get back), I’m featuring several guest bloggers. Today marks the beginning of World Breastfeeding Week and today’s post, about breastfeeding, is from Nell who blogs at Casual Friday Everyday. Please be sure to check out my earlier WBW post and giveaway (two breastfeeding books) and API Speaks is giving away a copy of The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding as well.

From My Belly To My Chest

My breasts are heavy and full. The bright blue veins running through my chest also remind me of the life growing inside my womb. My entire upper body reminds me that one day this baby will be on the outside and will need my breasts to feed her/him and will no longer rely on my womb to sustain its life.

Soon I’ll be exhausted from laboring and delivering this little life and as they place the wee little one on my chest she/he will latch on for the first of many times. The life giving liquid will pour from my body giving her/him life.

It’s a beautiful and natural thing our bodies do. A pure, sweet bond is instantly developed when our young infant is nursing at our breasts. It’s also a powerful feeling, much like when giving birth. Look at what our bodies can do. Look at what they were made for.

Even with it being such a beautiful, natural and bonding thing it doesn’t always come easily for everyone. I’m one of the “unlucky” ones who experienced many of the issues some of us face. From a baby who was tongue tied to a yeast overgrowth that made my breasts ache to sore nipples that cracked and bled (the first time) to nipples that were so irritated from the pads rubbing against them they’d actually begin to invert. I’ve experienced it all…well maybe not all.

Even through the pain and difficulty I knew I was doing the right thing. I knew I was doing what was best, what I wanted to do, what this baby needed. And I fought it tooth and nail. But all the fighting on my own never got me very far into the process. The bond was lost. The nourishment gone. The natural, beautiful experience forever buried in my memory as I let go of breastfeeding.

A lot has changed since my 18 month old was an infant. My parenting style has changed. What I’m willing to do for the betterment of my children has changed. What I understand about living a more natural lifestyle, laboring naturally, vaccines, taking care of our earth and yes, breastfeeding has changed.

Aside from my increasing knowledge on such topics, another large change that I know will help me along is my desire for help. I’ve sought out the help of a doula for this labor and delivery. Doing it alone is no longer an option if I wish to achieve the birth of my dreams. And neither is breastfeeding alone. I now realize if I wish to overcome many of the hurdles I’ve experienced in the past I must get hands on help from a professional.

I must seek out the knowledge of someone who is trained and has successfully breastfed their own children for long periods of time. I’ve read all the books and emailed really amazing women with my previous experiences…now it’s time to step out of my comfort zone and get one on one guidance for as long as it takes so that I’m still nursing this new little one well into her/his second year of life.

Breastfeeding is sweet — and when it doesn’t come easy, we need to seek out help. I know I will…this time around.

Nell is the mother of two young boys with another baby on the way later this year. She’s a blogger at Casual Friday Everyday, a home-based business owner and freelance writer.

14 thoughts on “Guest post: From my Belly to my Chest”

  1. Exactly– it does not always come easy, and preparing pre-birth for that will only help in the long run! I had a friend who watched me nurse, thought it would be a piece of cake, and then has struggled with her own baby. Fortunately, after encouraging her to get help and ask for help, she is well on her way to a breastmilk only baby! 🙂

    Thanks for the reminder. I hope many women read this and realize that you cannot do it alone! 🙂

  2. I too struggled to breastfeed both my children. I had recurrent thrush and problems producing enough milk, and both times, as soon as my cycle returned, that was it. I dried up, my babies stopped gaining weight and it was over.

    I found out after that fact that my Hashimotos thyroiditis was probably uncontrolled, despite what my “normal” test results said!

    This is a lovely post, thanks for reminding me of those warm and fuzzy times nursing my little ones.

  3. Don’t look back…only look forward 🙂 I haemorrhaged when my first baby was 2 weeks old. The doctors laughed at me when I said I needed to return home from the hospital asap to nurse my baby (ok, this was back in the 70’s; I doubt, I hope doctors would not be so insensitive today!) I tried for 3 months but I was just EXHAUSTED. I could barely walk up the stairs and I had a housefull of needy men (husband, father-in-law and nephew – don’t ask) to look after as well. So I stopped nursing and made my own formula (hear the doctors still laughing!) Needless to say, with babies #2 and 3, I was more prepared on many different levels. I breastfed these babies for 2 years and more. A poor first experience does not necessarily mean a repeat. Stay positive, get every bit of help you can and I hope this time around you can enjoy this beautiful experience in all it’s simplicity and glory.

  4. Glad you’ll be getting more help this time. That was one of the wonderful things at the hospital I delivered my first two at – the lactation consultant visited my room daily until I went home, and was available after if I needed it. Made things much easier.

  5. Hi Nell!

    I think the natural labor should help. And you know much more about the yeast issues now. I hope that it goes smoothly from the start for you this go round!

  6. Thanks for all the lovely comments to this post. And the stories and encouragement. I can’t WAIT to nurse this time around. I am looking forward to it…which is a change from the last two times.

    And yes, Erin K, your work is very important! 🙂

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