Parenting

Mami Exposed: A Personal Look at Breastfeeding

breastfeeding logoPlease don’t be misled by the title of this post.  I have no plans of showing off “the girls” but you might be thinking some of this is still T.M.I. – Too Much Information.  Sorry folks but you’ll have to deal.  It’s time to expose the underbelly of breastfeeding.  So, in honor of National Breastfeeding Awareness Month, I wanted to share my breastfeeding experience with you.  Even though this is a controversial topic to discuss I feel that it deserves attention.  And attention I’ll give it – like it or not I am a breastfeeding mami and this is my story!


I have to admit I didn’t start out as a staunch supporter of breastfeeding.  To be honest, I never gave it any thought until I began working for a company that supported it.  I had no choice but to research all that I could, participate in events promoting it, and overall being surrounded day in, day out by it.  I wasn’t married or pregnant yet and all the talk about breastfeeding was overwhelming.  But eventually I gave in to the facts and benefits. I mean who could argue with:

  • Decreased possibility of baby getting a variety of infectious diseases, ear infections, diarrhea, etc.
  • Return to pre-pregnancy weight faster
  • Reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancer
  • Less postpartum bleeding
  • Facilitated bonding between mother and baby

With all those good reasons to nurse, my decision still didn’t become clear for me until the day my son was born.  They rested Shaunsito on my chest and I let him nurse.  I was so afraid of this tiny baby but the minute he latched on all my fears subsided.  We were immediately in sync with each other and the strong bond I felt with my child was indescribable.  This was the defining moment.  I was hooked on being a breastfeeding mamí.  But it did come with many challenges as I would soon find out.

My mother was visiting from New York to help with our first days as new parents.  When I was released from the hospital she was giving non-stop advice.  All I wanted to do was put Shaunsito down and rest.  But she wouldn’t let up.  Then he started to cry. I tried to nurse him but with all the stress I couldn’t relax.  He kept crying and very little milk came out.  With all the research I had done I knew that the milk would not come in right away but my mother kept saying “The baby isn’t getting any milk.  Go buy formula.  He’s going to starve!”  I did not have the energy to deal with her or my screaming infant so I hopped in my car and drove to the supermarket to buy formula.

Needless to say I fed Shaunsito formula that day and cried the whole time.  I was a failure.  I couldn’t produce milk for my son.  But that next day my mother left to go back to New York and guess what?  My milk came in.  Crisis averted.

We went through our ups and downs throughout the next six weeks yet managed to continue breastfeeding. Eventually I had to return to work and the next step was pumping my milk.  I was fortunate to work for a wonderful company and boss that provided me with a private office to pump in and a flexible schedule to do so.  Everyone at work was supportive about it, as well.  People would offer me fruit, granola bars, anything to help keep me and the baby healthy while I breastfed.

Then the questions started coming.

How long do you think you’ll breastfeed?  Will you stop once his teeth come in?  You do know that he’s going to bite you once he gets teeth, right?  You’re not going to be one of “those” moms who breastfeed forever, are you?  Did you know…blah, blah, blah?  All of a sudden my strongest supporters – family and friends – became my harshest critics!  I stopped discussing it and simply answered honestly with “I don’t know.  I’m taking things one day at a time.  When the time comes that will be a decision that I’ll make privately.”

Pumping at work proved difficult. My days would be crammed with work and meetings.  Sometimes I wouldn’t have time to pump and “the girls” would be hard as rocks, engorged with milk.  It was extremely painful and I had to start dressing in blouses that would not stain easily and had designs on them to distract from any possible leaks.  Yes, it was very hard but I kept on pumping and nursing.  Then one day I was introduced, no, hit over the head by a known adversary to breastfeeding mamís…MASTITIS.  If you decide to breastfeed I recommend you go to this link at BabyCenter and read up on the signs of mastitis so you know what to look out for.

Well, one minute I was in a meeting and the next I was sweating profusely thinking I was going to die.  I won’t lie, it was rough, but after a visit to the doctor and some antibiotics the infection and inflammation went away and I was off to pump/nurse another day.

Right about the time of the mastitis drama I began to give my son formula. My mother-in-law was caring for him throughout the day, I was running out of time at work, and honestly I was just exhausted so I made the decision to supplement some of his feedings with formula. This was definitely a decision I struggled with. But eventually I came to peace with it because I knew I was making the right choice for me and my son.

My son is now 9-months-old and I’m still a breastfeeding/formula feeding mamí!

Okay, I know what you’re thinking – choose a side!  Breast or Bottle.  But it’s not that simple.  I’m not “pro” one or the other.  However, I do firmly believe that breastfeeding is the ultimate experience for both baby and mamí.  Unfortunately, not everyone will agree with me on that.  But that’s okay.  Do what’s right for your family.  And if you can relate, if you disagree, or if you have your own “war stories” to share please leave a comment.  I would love to hear all about it!  We may not all agree but leaving ourselves “exposed” may just help out another mamí so go ahead and let it all hang out!

With all my mami love,

Jennifer

Jennifer Hutcheson is the Owner and Editor of Mami 2 Mommy - a community where all moms can have a voice. She is a Latina mami of a 5-year-old boy, Shaun (aka Shaunsito) and wife to another incredible male in her life, Daddy Shaun. Currently a Digital Strategist/Social Media Consultant and a Freelance Writer her days are often filled with the joys of her crazy mami world and the passion for her work.

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7 COMMENTS

  • Thank you for sharing and I didn’t know about breastfeeding awareness month. I too nursed my little man and I loved it. I heard so many different stories once I got pregnant, but I told myself I’m going to at least try it. I didn’t know what to think and when I nursed things were good. I was one of those moms who milk came in right away. However, because my son was born with Jaundice I had to still feed him formula. We stayed with nursing all day and formula at night (so hubby can feed him and I can get some sleep). This worked out very well. When I went back to work pumping was a bit discouraging I didn’t get a lot of milk out and although my job was very nice when it came to me pumping I think the enviornment just wasn’t good for me. My little man came down with a slight cold and he had a stuffy nose which made it extremely hard for him to nurse. So we bottle fed and during that time my milk dried up. At that point I realized how much I loved and enjoyed nursing my little man.

    I’m not pro one or the other. I say give it a fair try, if it doesn’t work, then it doesn’t work at least you can say you tried it.

  • Mami Jennifer
    AUTHOR

    Felicia,
    Thanks so much for sharing! It really is a beautiful thing to be able to bond with your child by nursing. But as we all know if its not possible to nurse or just not your cup of tea there are still many other ways to bond with your little one. I just think that its worth trying at least. However, to each his own!

    Mami Jennifer

  • Sandra

    That was great Jennifer. I have breast fed both of my children and I loved it. I could not go past 7-8 months with my children because I did not have the patience for the Peek-a-boo games and biting at that age.lol! But I really , really enjoyed the experience of bonding with them. Not to mention not having the stress of washing out bottles and buying formula!

  • Yakini

    Jennifer, this was a really wonderful post and I thank you for sharing your story with us (and in such a candid, honest way). I can relate to this experience as I too struggled initially with breastfeeding but was able to overcome the challenges (finally) and felt soo grateful that I had stuck it out. It wasn’t easy, however. Unlike yourself, I had NOT done any research about breastfeeding prior to giving birth. My mom had nursed me and my three sisters, my older sister had nursed her son, and so to me it was just a given that I would nurse with no problem. HA!!! My mistake for thinking that. Me and DS’s breastfeeding relationship did not click in the beginning. He had problems latching… my milk was slow to come in (so I was paranoid that he wasn’t getting enough to eat, esp. since on his first two pediatrician appt. he had lost weight) and in general those first few weeks were very stressful and frustrating. My mom was the exact opposite of yours–making me feel guilty and like a terrible mother for wanting to occasionally supplement with formula (as though it were poison) so I just felt so awful and conflicted. In the end me and DS were able to develop a good breastfeeding relationship, and I was glad I had stuck it out, as there were many times when it would have been easy to just quit.

    Again, awesome post, I loved it!

    @SweetWifey on Twitter

  • Future Mama

    Wow, what a great post girl! I love how honest you are about this topic but what I love the most is how you describe your immediate bond with your son! I can’t wait to experience that! 🙂 Great post! And check out my blog! you were an honorable mention! Thanks for submitting it! :

  • Mom of Three

    My daughter also takes formula along with breastfeeding, but she’s definitely primarily breastfed. Because my daughter’s in day care during the day, I send her with formula. That started when I was under extreme stress at work, and was just pumping and getting very little milk. She will take some formula at day care, but she absolutely does not take formula at home. She won’t have it! Lol. Even at the daycare, she’d rather have water or some apple juice to supplement her fruits and vegetables, but she has one set formula feeding.

    I am so totally surprised that a child can be both, or even prefer breastmilk! I had always been told that the formula will make them fuller and they will reject the breastmilk because it won’t be as satisfying. And truth be told, that’s what happened with my older boys, but I am so happy to find that I can supplement a little formula when needed, but stick with the breastfeeding!

    Thanks for sharing this post!

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