Wednesday, July 23, 2008

To Breast Or Not To Breast with trust

We all know about breastfeeding. Whether we've been there and done that, or planning to, or watching your partner attach your newborn to their engorged nipples, or if you passed by a mom in the park or on a plane or at a restaurant--okay you get the point. We all know what breastfeeding is.

I for one can tell you that if you don't get a good "teacher" when it comes to breastfeeding your newborn, the odds of you sticking with the process is slim. Because it is a painful beginning. It's challenging if you have a child that doesn't latch on the nipple easy, if you're in pain from your delivery, if you're under stress over how you you think you'll manage being a mommy, if you have post partum depression, if you think or it's determined that you aren't making enough milk, if you have a partner that isn't willing to pick up the slack of other baby duties when you're at home, if you're a single parent, if you just fear having sagging baggy pancake flapjacks, the fact of the matter is, breastfeeding is time consuming, challenging, painful and a huge commitment.

I would never ever judge anyone that decides whether or not to breast or not to breast, that decision has to be between the mother and her newborn. Now if you do consider it and go the nipple route, you'll get lucky to have a good instructor or someone close to you that has had the experience first hand of breast issues with their suckling newborns.

Forget about if you have multiple births, or if you are expected to return to work rather promptly, or if there is a chance that your little one is to premature to take from your breast which is heartbreaking in itself to the mother. No matter, breast feeding is a decision that you shouldn't rush into making. After all we have 9months to research it and decide. Pull and twist your nipples and then put a curling iron near the aerola, to give you an idea of what it's like when the milk comes in. If you can, have a doctor surgically implant some large boulders so you'll understand what it feels like to have rock hard breasts with a burning iron nearby as someone uses tweezers or prongs to pull and twist your nipples. Pleasant, huh? For me, this is the truth.

Back in the days of the 50's, breastfeeding was looked at differently. If you were seen breastfeeding, you were viewed as poor. Sadly there were quite a few mothers back then that feared being labeled something that they either weren't, or didn't want to accept-so they didn't breast feed. Instead they spent their time in their kitchen standing up, preparing the formula in a way that isn't at all like what it is now-8oz means 4 scoops of powder to 8nursery water heated up in a pan with water. (Some microwave it-I have done it both ways).

Todays views are that if you don't breastfeed, Shame shame, GASP!HOWDAREYOU! HOW DARE YOU!

Tragic isn't it? That us women haven't figured out a way-still- how to be accepting of one another regardless of our decisions of the nipple factor. I know that it is easier in many ways to breastfeed; that baby wakes up in the night in their bassinet near you, you roll up out of bed your shirt leaking due to your full engorged owie breasts, you pull out your little pink and/or yellow (yes, that is typical too a few days after birth) newborn, lay them on their back change their diaper and then plop on the breast they go. To me that was so much easier then having to get up out of bed walk out of the room downstairs to the kitchen, stumble through the dark for the bottles, spill the distilled water as you're attempting to pour it into the bottle, forget what count of formula scoop you were on and then wait for it to heat up just enough, sometimes heating too much which would mean more time waiting.

For me, roll, pluck, change and attach was easier--plus I have a husband that would change our little ones so I could get my utters ready for business.--

It isn't always peaceful and it is an inconvenience. Especially if you enjoy cigarettes and wine/beer. Then the game shifts with these new factors. Pump and Dump is learned, and you have a small window of time allowed for yourself until your little one is at least 4months old. The older they grow, the less they need your breast every 2+ hours.

No matter, it's a tough decision.

For me it was worth it, for some it's not worth the tea and gold in China to even attempt it-which is fine too.
And now for the recently discovered medical perspective:

Friday, Jul 18, 2008 (HealthDay News) — How do infants and mothers bond, biologically speaking? Researchers have discovered that babies nursing at their mother's breast set off a cascade of events leading to release of oxytocin, known as the "trust" hormone in their mother's brains. Recent research has found oxytocin to be involved in trust and love in both humans and animals. It is also causes the release of milk from the mammary gland. Researchers from the University of Warwick, in collaboration with other universities and institutes in Edinburgh, France and Italy, now seem to have pinpointed the actual mechanism by which suckling triggers the release of oxytocin.

Neurons start releasing oxytocin from their dendrites (the arms that extend outward from the nerve cell that transport messages to and from other nerve cells) and from their nerve endings when a baby suckles. Dendrites had been thought to receive more than transmit information, but now it appears that the release of oxytocin from the dendrites increases intra-neuron communication. That leads to more oxytocin being produced, which facilitates the process of mother-child bonding."We knew that these pulses arise because, during suckling, oxytocin neurons fire together in dramatic synchronized bursts.

But exactly how these bursts arise has been a major problem that has until now eluded explanation. This research has allowed us to incorporate all the latest research in a large computational model of the whole population of oxytocin cells," study co-author Jianfeng Feng, a computational biology researcher at the University of Warwick, said in a university news release.

"In this model, we have shown that the dendritic interactions are enhanced enough to trigger a massive positive-feedback on activity," he continued. "The model gives us a possible explanation of an important event in the brain that could be used to study and explain many other similar brain activities."

*The findings are published in the July 18 issue of PLoS Computational Biology*

Back to the personal side again. So you see there are so many factors in determining whether you trust yourself enough to handle the nipple feeding. It's a tough decision and tough first few days-at the least- when that little one latches on-especially when you wake up on day 3 or 4 or 5 with sweats and feeling flu like with the worst heat radiating from your very rock solid painful to touch breasts that suddenly feel like they're going to burst like "VIOLET YOU'RE TURNING VIOLET, VIOLET!"

It hurts like a rotten tooth ready for the decay party of the century. Only you don't have Oompa Loompas coming into your room to roll you out to deflate your engorged puppies. You will have to do it yourself(although once you get that baby nursing on your breasts, eventually that feeling will subside). When that day comes, give yourself another 2weeks, you might just find that things have improved. If not, seek a friend, seek a specialist, a family member, books, or online tips, but no matter what, if you determine that it's just not meant for you, don't beat yourself up over that decision, and don't let anyone make you feel like you're anything less then any other breastfeeding mother. Yes, that medical discovery may be important, but I got to tell you, just because you don't breastfed does not mean your child won't be close to you, and it does not mean your child will despise you, or that they'll grow up being a picky eater.

Trust me, three boys, all breastfed and they all throw tantrums, they all have been or are still picky eaters and they are such whiners that it makes me yearn for the days of that cooing gulping sound my newborns would make while nursing away as I sat there cringing and massaging the knots out of my nature blessed engorged radiating heat HOT breasts.

But hey, at least I didn't have to get up and spill powder formula all over the floor.

Welcome To Crustybeef~
Make your decision for you..but if you have any doubt or fear that you may regret not breastfeeding your newborn sometime down the road, at least try it, take it day by day and you'll see, it'll ease up-but it is a big sacrifice on top of the one that makes you deliver a child and suddenly become a mom and it is a huge commitment. Besides you'll love that little one to pieces and they will sense that because like us, they too have feelings, although not quite developed, but they do experience sensations, emotions and will love you back with a bond just as close as the woman that sits on a plane while her 6month old sucks away to prevent the pain from the changing cabin pressure.



Charlene said...

i am glad i did't have to make that decision, another reason to thank god for not blessing me with children

Kelly Jene said...

It's amazing that the term co-exist even needs to be used in this situation. There is a hot-bed of debate in this area, with moms being on either side as if it were nuclear war they were discussing.

I didn't have any support and gave up with my youngest after nursing for only 6 weeks. My oldest never nursed, he just refused it and again with no support I had to feed the little guy so formula it was. I am pro-breastfeeding and if I were to ever have another baby, I would fight for every breastfeeding moment. I know the benefits for the baby and I'd rather that then having a less then perfect formula.

Great post, Crusty dear. And yes, even with the little bit of breastfeeding I did, flat pancakes is a pretty accurate description of my mammaries. :)

Martha said...

I nursed my daughter and loved every minute of it--at least after the first 36 hours. The first 36 hours were a nightmare, and it wasn't until a kindly, elderly nurse checked in on me while I was crying in my hospital room and gave me some pointers. I was ready to turn to formula, but after some help from her, it was completely smooth sailing for the next 8 months! Your descriptions of the general process is hilariously accurate!


Charlene: no pancake breakfasts for you, eh? WELCOME!! Nice to have you over! You're quite the sassy broad I must say..looking forward to seeing/reading more of you!



kelly Jene: I know what you mean! With Jackson-since at that point I was classified as a single parent-I was clueless, had zero help from the Catholic Hospital where I birthed Jackson, and felt utterly (no pun) alone with the breastfeeding---plus I got an infection-mastitius (sp) and was so anxious to have my body back because I was a single parent I wasn't as committed as I was with the other ones...and I didn't have a good teacher..something I learned when I had Sullivan--and it didn't hurt as bad that time around because I had the right teacher..

Damn flapjacks! ::)



Martha: I'll never forget that first time..with Jackson naturally-after the csection and the grueling labor prior to that I had to wait a good few hours before I could even seen Jackson and when they finally brought him to me and I put him on my breast it didn't hurt--DUH that's just the colestrastuff :) The day I was due to go home I felt like crap, my body hurt, my body ached, my breasts were swollen and awfully sore and rock solid and inverted nipples from being engorged..and I had the worst sweats...but I was so scared to ask because I didn't have "the greatest of nurses." to this day I think it was because of my status at that point in time--I was judged by them and even Bdd will say that they weren't the kindest of nurses..but I prayed at that cross let me tell you and embraced the moments when I had visitors like my good friends and family. If only I'd have had "help" the first time around...but you learn..hopefully someone will learn from this prior to their first one..


Laura said...

Interesting post! I wanted to breastfeed my twins, but I just didn't have it in me. I know lots of twin mamas do so successfully, but I wasn't meant to be among their club, I guess! I have no regrets!

Hey, thanks for entering the stroller contest on my blog!


Laura: I would never have even considered breastfeeding if I had had twins..for get it! You're a saint for even being able to talk and communicate--I'd have been admitted by now knowing how hard it was just having one newborn three different times.
Hope to see you back sometime.
I enjoyed the contest---I'll be back!! :)


Susan said...

Hey, CB - I breast fed both my son first for 11 months (he loved it!) and my daughter for 2 1/2 months (she hated it!)...for me it was fabulous - I lost the baby weight and for the first time in life - my body was thin and my boobies were big!!

not a bad gig

Cheryl said...

I loved every moment of breastfeeding. I knew I'd only get one go round with it, cause there'd only be one child. I hope in the long run it gives her some health benefits. It certainly didn't help with her personality. Don't read this Em, OK?

JLee said...

I wish I had gotten more help and support so I would have breast fed my daughter longer (I only made it about 2 weeks) I can relate to the stress/postpartum stuff. I was so tired I couldn't handle getting up over and over without any help. I also quit cold about some pain! lol
I could hardly walk they were so engorged/sore.

Portia said...

I won't go through the whole saga, but I had two TOTALLY different experiences with my boys. So far so good on both counts!
Happy weekend:):)

Anonymous said...

joe was a great nurser looking back, and it is still a day to day struggle with matthew. i just take it feeding to feeding with him. we are four months in and hopefully i can bring him to our 6 month goal. good post - i know it always helped me to talk to you about it when i started nursing. love you!

SOUL: said...

hey there crusty --

one question---
are you pregnant ! ?

what brought this on???

hope you have a great day-- any fun plans in the works with the crusty fam for today


Susan! My body determined that with Ben (whom I nursed the longest as for me it took three times to get it right) I had a much harder time losing the baby weight-but it is good for your body you are right, I remember nursing all of them in the hospital beds and actually feeling the uterus contract back to normal-which was a funky sensation but calming for some strange reason.



Cheryl, Believe me, I understand! I think I gave Sullivan some bad milk back in the nursing days because he's been such a little snot lately----he's strong but lately he's just been down right annoying--at 4! :)
Sully, be like Em, don't read this, okay? But if for some reason you do, please let me know so I'll assume that you're some idiot savant that has taught himself inbetween tantrums, to read!



Jlee; Ow, yes that's painful, oh so painful!! I'm sure the stress and mood shifts due to the hormones and everything else with new baby didn't make it any easier huh?



Portia: I totally understand! each one was different each time..But if you want to go into the saga you can...I don't mind long comments being a longwinded self. :)

Monday already?



anonDerna: awwwwwww, I learned alot from you too!! I wonder if Matthew is just testing out what could be someday, the middle child syndrome. I betcha he'll like to eat peas though! :) xoxoxo!


Soul: SHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! don't say that! lol--omg if I was pregnant you would read about my sudden disappearance from society and self--but luckily for me, no I'm not pregnant, if I was it wouldn't be good having had my tubes tied last year there'd be a big ounce of problems within my fallopian tubes--I've been told that if for some reason I were to get pregant that it most likely would be an ectopic pregnancy...yeah, no thank you.
hmm, something must have triggered it, but I'm not sure what it was..
wierd if you think about it.

Tweets, k?