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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Let's Talk About Ta-ta's: No Pain, No Gain...

When I became pregnant with my son, I knew I wanted to breastfeed him. It was never an option for me to go the formula route. Why would I when breastmilk was more healthy, and free? (I was 17, so free was a nice picture in my head.) But when I ran into the situation of him not wanting to nurse after having bottles in the hospital... My dreams of feeding him faded fast. Within three weeks, he was on the bottle full-time. My heart still aches from the disappointment I felt in myself.

Then we got pregnant with our daughter... and again, breastfeeding was the very first thing that came to mind when we started preparing for her arrival. I started re-reading books, blogs, online articles, talking to other moms, and watching videos on deep latch technique. I was absolutely determined to succeed this time around. Nothing was going to stop me. And so far, by the grace of God, nothing has.

Weeks 0-10... Lazy shallow latch, and 3rd degree lip tie that flew under the radar until I caught a glimpse at my parents house one night. Could not believe it had been missed so many times before. The pain from nursing her made my toes curl and accumulate beads of sweat on my brow. WHY was it that for almost every other mom, this was painless? No one could figure it out. After I took her to get her lip fixed, I thought all our problems were going to disappear... But oh, silly me. This pain wasn't finished with me yet.

Weeks 10+... Ruled out thrush, mastitis, and clogged milk ducts. 

...More discouragement. Everyone at this point thought I was insane for continuing to nurse her through this, but I knew I'd feel horrible for quitting. Every time I saw her smile with my breasts life-giving milk running down her cheek, it gave me hope and re-ignited the fighter in me. How could I give up something that she obviously loved so much? ( and I did too, more than I thought at the time.)

Weeks 17+ ... Possible posterior tongue tie. ( We are now at week 18, get seen by dentist in a few days.) Could this be the answer to my prayers? Not to mention all the women and my dear husband whom I know have also been praying for answers also. I just thank God for surrounding me with -mostly- encouraging friends and family who have kept the fighter in me alive. I think this was a test of perseverance for me, and more of a spiritual battle than one would assume. On the hard days, I look at the formula samples in the cupboard and think, "Oh, one won't hurt. It will fill up her tummy and give me a little break... No big deal." It is a big deal. When you know in your heart that the temptations filling your head are not only from pain and exhaustion, but from some dark place and from someone who KNOWS that you are at your weakest -- don't give in. That is where you will find your strength. 

*1 Corinthians 10:13- "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. God is faithful; he will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you can bear. And when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you may stand up under it." 

Let me share with you the thoughts I fill my head with when I feel like giving in. 

She is worth every drop. 
I make life-giving food for her.
My body was meant to do this.
She deserves my best.
I am burning calories.
I am reducing her risk of being obese.
I am reducing both our risks of cancer.
I am giving her LIFE.
I am spending precious time with her that no one else gets to have.
She is worth this pain.
My body is an incredible machine, made in God's image.
I make the perfect blend of nutrients for her.
I give her antibodies when she doesn't feel well.
This won't last forever. 
One minute at a time.
She is so beautiful, and I love giving her my best. 

I am praying for you and if you are in a place where you feel like this is too much, and you can't handle the pain or exhaustion... Remember that God see's you. He see's your pain, the fight in you, your incredible determination, and even your exhaustion. He knows how many tears you have cried, how many times you've clenched your jaw, and how many beads of sweat have rolled down your face. Don't give up.

If you are breastfeeding and having ANY sort of problem, contact your local Le Leche League or a Lactation Consultant in your area. Don't wait until you're ready to give up.

With love


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