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since world breastfeeding week was from august first til the seventh, and life with a new baby tends to make you a little late for everything, i thought it was fitting to blog about it a little tardy. now, about halfway through my pregnancy one of the doctors that i saw at my prenatal clinic went and scared the bejeezus out of me by saying that she thought i’d have a helluva time trying to breastfeed and i’d better hop in my little vw and get my butt down to the breast doctor in calgary. ummm, ok? when i called to make an appointment with dr. jain the receptionist kept asking me what my baby’s name was. errrr, she’s still in my belly? so really, the appointment was completely useless, because let’s be honest, you need the babe in the equation to see if things are going to work, or if shit is going to hit the fan.

world breastfeeding week is the first week of august and it’s devoted to showing people across 170 countries worldwide that the breast really is best. and don’t be scared to feed your babe in the most natural way. i mean, there were huge rallies and everything. i find it crazy that our society has made it so that women are so scared to breastfeed that we needed to create a week to get people back on the right track and encourage everyone, not just the women baring the boob, but everyone…to understand that there is a reason why women have breasts, and it ain’t because we all want to add being a bunny at Heff’s mansion to our resumes…because the stats are sadly so low of the amount of women who successfully breastfeed their children. it’s about one in three.

that being said. breastfeeding is really effing hard. i mean, really hard. women get scared and worked up about labour and delivery when they’re pregnant, but in reality…they should focus on breastfeeding. because you aren’t going to be in labour for six months, but it’s said that breastfeeding for at least six months provides both mom and babe with the most benefits. six months! (don’t even think about being in labour for six months, that’s frightening.) and now, you’re only in the hospital for 24 hours, and every nurse that comes to check on you has a different way of showing you how to get your baby to latch on to your breast, and every time you try the way the last nurse showed you how when you’re by yourself it never works and you end up shushing a little wee brand new human because you’re scared they’re going to wake the whole maternity ward at three am and you’re going to get the stink eye from every other new mother who’s trying to get some much needed zzzz’s. you pray that your babe won’t be hungry until the nurse comes around to do her rounds because heaven forbid, nobody wants to press the little red button to ask for help.

and then they send you home. ohhhhh em gee. what? i have to leave this safe place? i have to change diapers by myself? i need to give her a bath? i need to try and feed her without any help at all?????? noooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!! thankfully my mom was in red deer when April was born, and she was there for me when we got home from the hospital to dry my tears and wipe my runny nose while April cried because i couldn’t get her to feed, no matter what different position i tried. and thankfully i have dear friends with loving advice who have been through it before and gave me tips and tricks that really did make life easier. but it still doesn’t make it easy. and if you’re one of those women that is like Brooke Shields in Blue Lagoon who obliviously nurses her babe with the greatest of ease…well, i’m glad you got lucky.

and then my milk came in. imagine the size of Dolly Parton’s, ahem, breasts, and them being as painful as if someone had beat them with a bag of rocks. and capable of hitting a wall across the room like a watergun shot if i chose to do so. i kid you not. but i did persevere. they say to give it six weeks to really get the hang of it. six weeks is a long time. luckily, i figured out how to get her to latch after about six days. i don’t know what i would have done if it hadn’t have worked though, because i’d made up my mind that i WAS going to breastfeed. whether the doctors in red deer and calgary thought i was going to have problems or not.

and then comes the fear of a hungry baby who will try to attach themselves the minute they get anywhere near your nipple. i’ve never had a fear of someone who’s 20 inches long and weighs less than a yorkshire terrier, but let me tell you, when April is hungry, she will bite anything that slightly resembles a boob. and a few times she’s damn near almost chomped the tip of my nipple off. frightening. i’ve never tensed up in my life before the way i do when she get’s ready to clamp down.

so when people ask me how breastfeeding is going, i usually say greeeaaaaaaat!!! and then i stop to think about it, and it is great, because as a mom, you’re keeping your little one alive. it’s rewarding to be able to breastfeed your baby. but it’s tough. it’s the toughest thing i’ve ever done. so i will never judge a mother who tries breastfeeding and can’t get it to work. don’t beat yourself up if you give it an honest effort, and at the end of the day you throw in the towel and switch to formula. don’t call yourself a failure. but do give it an honest effort, because there’s no greater feeling than the bond you form with your babe because of breastfeeding, but you can’t pound a 40 ouncer and party like you did in college either. but then again, you’re hopefully over this stage of your life once the time of becoming a mama rolls around. so my advice? if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. and if things don’t work out, hey. at least your partner can feed the babe at two am for you.

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