When we left the maternity ward the last time, with all of us in tow, they were letting us leave without any hindrances. I was thinking to myself, "Just because we did this five years ago and that one survived doesn't mean we know what we are doing any better" and "They actually think we know what we are doing!...Sure fooled them!"
We had many trials and small victories in the area of breast-feeding over the last several hours before our final departure from the hospital. Our first child came early and had not developed the sucking reflex well enough to suckle correctly, and Cassie was sick after the delivery, which compromised her ability to produce for him. I saw first-had the devastation it took on mommy when she wanted so badly to have the closeness that only breast-feeding can provide. Now we have a healthy, full-term baby with a mostly healthy mommy, so the cards are not stacked against us in those respects, but we still found and continue to find many struggles to overcome in order to win the (ga)lactic battle. What we have taken away from the highs and lows, victories, and defeats are these:
· Do what it takes to keep baby content. If that means that once you have exhausted your milk supply, and baby is still hungry, then supplement and don’t feel bad about it. Great treaties have been signed into declaration through compromise!
· Don’t get discouraged. Many mothers have come before you with the same issues and emotions following, and have grown babies to show as their trophies. Find someone who can be an encourager for you, whether that be your spouse, partner, parent, or friend, everyone needs a cheerleader, and one who will stand by you.
· Utilize the experts available. This cannot be overstated!!! Even if you don’t completely agree with their theory, you can use their knowledge to find what will work for you and your baby.
· Listen to your baby. He/she will give you cues to let you know when they are hungry, when they are satisfied, and what they need from you.
· Breast milk is always best. The WHO (World Health Organization) recommends breastfeeding until the infant is 2 years old, with solid foods added after 6 months.