Monday, August 3, 2009

Three Moments That Made Me Thankful I Breastfeed

Welcome to the August Carnival of Breastfeeding! This month the theme is the motto of World Breastfeeding Week: Prepared for Life. And please have a look at all the other excellent carnival posts at the end of this post.

Why am I thankful that I breastfeed?

Sleepless nights combined with a fussy, crying baby made for one exhausted mum. My salvation was to drop all housework, fall into bed with my little one, latch her on to my breast and promptly fall asleep. No more effort was required. I often used to wonder what I would have done if I had not been breastfeeding, and I honestly do not know the answer. But I know that it would have been harder and more frustrating to try to grab those moments of daytime sleep if I had not been breastfeeding.

My seven month old daughter was scalded on her torso and arm by hot coffee; between arriving at Accident & Emergency and our discharge some eight hours later, breastfeeding was the only thing that came between me and meltdown. In the immediate aftermath of the accident, the hospital staff were able to examine her injuries when she was pacified on the breast. And throughout the long hours of waiting to transfer to a children's burns unit and see a specialist doctor, I was able to keep her calm by suckling her. The burns happened at a cafe and when we left the house we had only expected to be out for an hour; thanks to the wonder of a mother's never-empty breasts I was able to keep her belly full until we could finally retreat back to the sanctuary of our home and collectively lick our wounds.

A warm summer's afternoon (rare in Britain), a pretty canal and a few happy hours spent walking the towpath with baby bouncing along in a sling. When the afternoon stretches into the evening, it is so tempting to walk that extra mile instead of turning back and heading for the car. But the great thing about breastfeeding is that you can walk that extra mile, or three, if you feel like it. On several occasions our little family has wandered further than we had planned but when our baby has complained, all we have had to do is stop for a while, give her an impromptu open-air feed and get on our way again. It has given the other walkers something to smile at.

So what does all this have to do with breastfeeding being preparation for life? Well, breastfeeding is obviously the best way to prepare a baby for life, but it is also the best way for a new mother to be prepared for whatever life throws at her. Without breastfeeding, life would have caught me out many times, and I am thankful that I am a breastfeeding mother.

Now enjoy all these other great carnival posts:

Hobo Mama: "Prepared for Life: Breastfeeding in local and global crises"

Zen_Mommy: "Welcome, Carnival of Breastfeeding readers!" on how breastfeeding has shaped her toddler's view of breasts

Pure Mothers: "Marketing Away 'Real Milk'"

Chronicles of a Nursing Mom: "Tips for Consistent and Long-Term Breastfeeding Success"

Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog: "Breastfeeding in Emergencies"

Blacktating: "August Carnival of Breastfeeding: Prepared for Life" on the implications of formula feeding during disasters

Fusion Parenting: "Breastfeeding - Prepared for LIFE!" on breastfeeding and living a real life

Breastfeeding 1-2-3: "Breastfeeding as a lifesaver in emergencies"


Hobo Mama said...

This was beautifully written. I love how breastfeeding allows your life to continue without worrying about stopping all to feed your little one.

Let me say also that I am so, so sorry for your poor baby's burns! How scary that must have been for you. Our baby had a milder experience burning his hand on a heat gun at home, and I felt so bad for him. He also healed with no ill effects, but oh! Poor little babies. I also am thankful for breastfeeding, as it comforts and calms him during those stressful times.

Elita said...

Isn't it amazing how nursing seems to fix everything? Any time my son has been hurt or upset, a few moments at the breast and he is good as new. Thanks for participating in the Carnival with this beautiful post.

Jenny said...

on #1, going to work on a full day was really difficult without having a complete night's rest. co-sleeping and side-lying has kept me sane! Naima still does not sleep through the night and by being to able to nurse her while lying done, i'm happy to get those precious additional zzz's... :D

Anonymous said...

Okay, I have to know: Who hosts these breastfeeding carnivals? I would really like to participate, but I don't know how.

So, I totally know what you mean about bf keeping you prepared. When my little guy was newborn we had bf issues and I had to pump and give a bottle very frequently for the first couple of months. I hated it. I felt like breastfeeding was freedom and I was so glad when we finally got there. I got more rest, I didn't have to pack milk and bottles every time we went somewhere...I got to feed him sooner, preventing upset. Oh, I could go on.

Zen_Mommy said...

Awesome post! I, too, have my stories of how breastfeeding "got us through" whatever situation we were experiencing--from my grandfather's funeral, to the dread courtroom (gasp!) appearance!


allgrownup said...

I have a friend who's 2 yr old recently had to have an operation. When he came round, he was so distressed, his heart rate was dangerously high. She latched him on immediately and his heart rate plummeted within seconds to a relaxed and normal rate. The nurses had never seen such a swift improvement. She was so glad to have still been breastfeeding. How else would she have coped?

allgrownup said...

Thanks for posting links to these other posts, I've so enjoyed reading them.

Hobo Mama said...

edenwild: I usually go to Motherwear's Breastfeeding Blog or Blacktating for news of upcoming carnivals. They announce the theme and deadlines a couple weeks ahead of time. Look for a post that says "Join the next carnival of breastfeeding" or similar. If anyone has a more knowledgeable answer, feel free to chime in! :)

allgrownup: What a great story. I mean, scary for the mother regardless, but wonderful that breastfeeding is so calming.

Jenny: Yes for side-lying nursing! I really can't imagine how anyone copes without it.

And I will stop commenting on comments now... Exit, stage left.

Cave Mother said...

edenwild - I was going to tell you watch the Motherwear Breastfeeding blog, but Hobo Mama got there first! And you must have done so well to fully breastfeed after having to express at the beginning. That sounds so hard, it must take real determination.

Hobo Mama - thanks for helping out!

allgrownup - that is an incredible story, thanks for sharing it. They should do some research on therapeutic breastfeeding.

Joe said...

Reason #1: I absolutely adored that one too! DD was fussy, and did not sleep much. But she did while (well, of, right "after") bfing! And Mommy did too :) (day AND night)

Laura McIntyre said...

All wonderful reasons.

I often wonder what bottle feeding parents do if caught short - does the child just have to go without? Do they have to cut there fun short to go home?

Clueless of course am i

Amanda said...

Ba-ba's are magic. So says my son.

clareybabble said...

I love breastfeeding! It's so convenient when out and about. The freedom of stopping wherever for a feed is great. I'm almost a bit sad that my daughter only feeds morning and night now, she's not really interested in the day any more, there are far more interesting things going on with her big brother I think!

Lisa C said...

Cave Mother--Yes, DETERMINATION. That is the world. It was very hard. I just kept my eye on the prize!

You know, I subscribe to Motherwear's blog, but I always forget to read it! I'll have to add it to my favorites folder so I remember.

Anonymous said...

Oh, whoops, that was me. Lisa C = edenwild.

Anonymous said...

Lovely and so true. A formula feeding friend is always having to run home because she doesn't have a bottle, etc... panicking as her infant screams the place down. Nursing has saved my daughter twice from 3 days on a drip in hospital when she caught Norovirus from children's centre at 11 and 14 month old. Instead of the painful drip she was home with doctors saying only because she was still breastfed could she go home and commended me on doing so