July 27, 2015

{Breastfeeding & My Great Grandmother}

I had some struggles nursing Owen. He refused to open his mouth wide enough, once he got on there he was golden but getting him on was a bit of a bitch.

This was taken the day he came home from the hospital (look how tiny he was!) and after about 10 minutes of serious struggle. While my mom held his arms so they would stay out of the way and I had to just wait for him to open his mouth wide enough (during the loudest scream ever) to stick my nipple in there. He didn't make pregnancy easy on me, I don't see why he would make breastfeeding.

Not to mention my boobs were huge. Like..they were DDD's. It was hideously uncomfortable. What you don't see in this picture is me holding him while the other side of my boob is resting on that same arm.

My grandmother wasn't much help. Neither was my mom (aside from holding his arms). They hadn't breastfed their kids. Even if they had, it was decades before this and neither of them could recall what to do. I was on my own to figure this shit out.

I tell you what really didn't help the situation, was that my sister had given birth just three months prior and so there was formula in the house. My grandmother kept asking if I wanted to try that. She was practically begging me to give up. To bottle feed. To not stray from what I already knew (I didn't nurse Gaige...even though I wanted to). But I refused to give up. I would make this work. Not only did I want that bond and to know I was doing what was best for my baby, it was Free.

Owen and my Monkey

About a month in I was still struggling. Slightly less than before but there were still kinks to work out. One being that my grandma didn't want me nursing in public. I personally would whip that boob out no matter where I was or what was happening around me. I don't hide when I eat, why should I hide when I feed my kid? I was always on the verge of giving in though. It would be so much easier to bottle feed, I kept telling myself. I could just pump was another thought rolling around up there. Then maybe I could have gotten some sleep.

Why didn't I just give up you ask? Why didn't take the easy way out and stop the struggle? Because of this lady..

(L-R) My mom, Great Gram, Grandma, Me, Owen

My great grandma. Everyone called her Gram. 

I remember it like it just happened yesterday. We; my grandma, Gram, me, Owen, and my aunt were going to Chicago to see my cousins new apartment. My grandma had parked her SUV outside my aunt and uncles home and went in to see if they were ready. I stayed in the car. I needed to feed Owen and it was just easier to not have a bunch of people around, especially when I knew I'd get him latched and they would be ready to leave. It's all about knowing your kid..and how much crap you can handle before you freak out.

As I sat there nursing him (finally over the struggle of getting him latched) I saw Gram heading toward us. I had my window rolled down, I thought she was just going to get in the car. She didn't. She said, I sure am proud of you for nursing that baby. I nursed your grandma and all the rest of my kids too. You're doing a great job. 

I was kind of surprised. Not that she said something but that she praised me. My grandma had been telling me I should just go ahead and bottle feed. But my great grandma was encouraging me to stick it out and to do what was best for baby. I was pretty happy to the say the least. So happy that it's stuck with me for this long.

That same trip nursing in public came up (such a hot button issue for some people). My grandma said she didn't agree with it. My aunt (who nursed both of her girls) said she covered up while nursing if I remember right. But Gram said, I nursed your grandma on the train all the time. You feed your babies when they're hungry.

For this woman, who had her kids in a time when women just did not show skin and did not advertise their sexuality, before people thought boobs were simply something for men to oogle at, to tell me she supports my decision to nurse in public, just solidified in my mind that I was doing the right thing. I was going about this the right way. I was being as modest as I could be (covering up and always making sure I had on two shirts so that my belly was covered if I was nursing while walking through a store), but I was not ashamed to be feeding my baby boy. 

And this my friends, is why I stuck with nursing. This is why I stuck it out even though sometimes it sucked. Even though sometimes I knew he was just using me as a pacifier. Because this woman, gave me the praise I needed to do it. And I'm grateful for that. So thank you Gram. 

It's been about six-seven years since we lost her now. But I'm so glad I had that day with her. 

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