Wednesday, June 21, 2006

June 21, 2006 - I LOVE BREASTFEEDING!!!

It's been 5 weeks since I gave birth, which means 5 weeks since I started breastfeeding.  What began as an extremely painful and frustrating activity has turned into a pleasurable bonding practice, one that I've found myself looking forward to.  Sure, there's the odd time that because of my physical discomfort I'm in no condition to directly nurse (that's when Rob takes over with a heated bottle of breast milk), but on the whole, it's something I want to do... and love to do.

From a practical standpoint, it takes far less time and effort now to feed from the breast.  The milk is always ready.  All I have to do is lift my shirt, undo the front panel of my nursing bra (if I'm wearing one... I forgo it when I'm home) and we're all set.  No bottles to heat up, no formula to mix.  It's empowering to know that I carry nourishment in my body.

There's also another phenomenon I've observed, one that a staff pediatrician at Asian Hospital made me aware of: at some point, when my baby's ready to nurse, my breasts will feel it.  Another friend said that the sensation can be likened to an army of ants attacking my nipples.  Well, they're both right.  Nic can be home and I can be out, and I'll know that she's waking up and ready to feed.  I once bounded up the stairs feeling this sensation, and got to the bedroom just as Rob was starting to bottle feed her.  How strange!  Alaveet!

Lastly... WEIGHT LOSS!!!  I checked my weight today, and I'm only a couple of pounds above my pre-pregnancy weight.  And that's while I'm eating like a pig.  According to breastfeeding websites I've perused, a breastfeeding woman uses up an extra 300-500 calories producing milk.  Hmmm... knowing this, maybe I should just keep this up for a while!

I find myself blessed to be able to take care of Nicole this way, as I know that there are women who, either by choice or circumstance, can't breastfeed their babies.  My mother was one such woman.  We couldn't digest her breast milk.  I have to commend her though for being the best mother she could be.  Obviously, not breastfeeding us didn't make her any less of a mommy.

Having said all that, if you can breastfeed your child, you absolutely should.  It's one of the best things you can do for your baby.

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