Friday, April 30, 2010
The Battle of Breast Feeding
So I am struggling with some decisions. Working in healthcare I have been indoctrinated with the idea that breast feeding is best for baby. I know that it helps their immune system and has many benefits. I have been nursing since Reese was born. The problem is that while breast feeding you have to make sure that your calorie intake is high enough or your milk production will go down; this usually equates to 300-500 extra calories per day. Since I started weight watchers two weeks ago I can already tell a difference and I am making less milk. Weight Watchers has a plan for nursing moms, it provides you with extra points to compensate for the extra calories needed but it is still hard. While I would like to continue to provide Reese with breast milk as I know it is good for her, I am torn.
I have struggled to nurse both of my kids as both of them struggled with latch on problems. This has led me to pumping and then bottle feeding. It is really hard, it is double the work. You have to pump and feed, take your pump with you in order to make sure you can pump every 3 hours, etc. I am just not good at it and to be brutally honest I don't enjoy it at all. I do it because I know it is good for her but it is not my thing. I hate that society puts so much pressure on you. I can not even count the number of strangers that have asked me "are you nursing" or when I was pregnant "are you planning to nurse". Why does a complete stranger that you see on the elevator care? I feel like everyone is judging you if you dont, even though there are plenty of healthy, beautiful, intelligent formula fed babies.
Right now I feel very motivated and want to do this once and for all. It is really hard to diet and nurse. Due to the pressures of our society I am feeling guilty that I am contemplating to quit nursing. I ask myself though...to quit nursing I am not giving the best to my daughter, however to be 100 pounds overweight and put myself at risk for diabetes, heart disease, cancer, etc. is also not giving the best to my daughter, nor my son or husband. So which do you sacrifice?
I feel like I have given her a good start. I have already nursed her for 8 weeks, substantially shy of the 6 months suggested by the American Academy of Pediatrics. I think I will be able to continue till she is 3 months old but then I am going to have to focus on me. However, in the long run I am doing this for not only myself but for my entire family; especially my kids. I want to be able to ride roller coasters with my kids and not be worried about if I will fit, I want to be able to play soccer with them at the park and not feel winded, I want to be there for them as long as I can and live a long life. So am I really being selfish?