Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Weighing In on Milking It

Last week LLC surpassed her birth weight after an initial post-birth weight loss. Apparently this initial fall in weight is common, presumably because colostrum (early day breast milk for those unschooled in mama milk jargon) may be nutrient rich but just isn’t as hearty as the steady food stream babies receive from the placenta in utero.

Here in the UK they are really hot weighing babies to ensure that they quickly regain their birth weight if need be, and then to ensure that their growth is on track with the little chart in the red book that all new moms receive for their child.

Although LLC is now “on track” on the weight charts, I think this weighing in obsession borders on, well obsession, and can unnecessarily stress out new moms. On one hand midwives and health visitors wax lyrical about breastfeeding; on the other they wield the weight gain whip and probably encourage moms to reach for formula so they can at least tell how much milk their baby is getting.

Feeding is another hot topic as a new mom.  But as is the case with most hot topics, it's very much a matter of personal choice.  For now I’m still exclusively breastfeeding LLC, namely because I feel it’s giving her a good healthy start in life and because she’s good at it and has not mangled my nipples – the only culprit there is my Medela Swing breast pump, which when fitted incorrectly sucked in too much areola and left me with a swollen nipple the size of a walnut. How I remained oblivious to this until it was too late is beyond me. Thankfully my nipple has now returned to “normal.” But anyway…

In the words of my fine friend SH, “feeding a small mammal through my own body” is pretty bizarre. Though it’s pretty amazing that LLC and I can share this experience, I don’t see myself becoming attached to breastfeeding in that I’d lament giving it up down the line when I feel it’s time to move on. Every time I hold, cuddle, kiss, describe the birds in the backyard to LLC I feel our bond growing and for me, while breastfeeding adds to this bond, it doesn’t cement it. Being completely honest, I don’t want her to be too dependent on my breast; thus why I express on occasion so Chris can also help with feeds. In the future I will want “to get my body back” though for now I’m happy sharing it with and giving the goodness that I can to our little lady.
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