This following post was an entry in our Blog to Inspire contest. The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and not necessarily those of Eco Baby Steps or Parenting By Nature.
Blog to Inspire entrant Happy Green Babies is Rachel McFadden. She considers herself someone who plays a role in creating a healthier planet for all. She is not perfect, but she tries her best. She is always trying to introduce others to new environmentally-friendly ways of doing things. One of her biggest challenges is trying to reduce the carbon footprint of her baby and future children.
Breastfeeding is one of the single most important natural and healthy ways to raise a baby. It is not only the most perfect nutrition for baby, but it facilitates an important bonding experience between mom and baby. During my pregnancy I had no idea what to expect from breastfeeding. I went to a breastfeeding class, I bought a nursing bra, and I purchased a pump, all so that I would be prepared when my baby was born.
On December 8, 2008 my sweet little boy came into this world in the peaceful setting of a local birth center where he was placed directly on my chest at birth and given the opportunity to begin nursing. He was not one of the babies that I read about that came out rooting for my breast, he needed help latching on and the nurse was there to assist us. There was a definite learning curve, between the two of us, but he was latching on!
When we got home from the birth center I continued to nurse him, but not without a bit of a struggle. I remember being sore, but just getting through it. At our first appointment with the pediatrician he was jaundice and with nothing but rain outside my only way to help with the jaundice was to nurse him. I realized that I was just nursing him on demand, but with the jaundice he was more sleepy and less likely to demand to be nursed. I began waking him every 2 hours to nurse. After a few days of waking him to nurse his jaundice was gone and we were really getting the hang of this feeding thing.
I was very relaxed with feeding him, just feeding on demand and allowing him to make his own schedule. This was all working very nicely for the 12 weeks that I was on maternity leave. Now going back to work was something I dreaded, I worried about having enough milk frozen for him, I worried about finding a time and a place to pump at work, but I was committed to doing what was best for my little baby, and I knew I could do it.
On my first day back to work my husband was home watching our son. I felt more relieved leaving the two of them together rather than dropping my son off with a stranger on my first day back. At work I pumped 3 times a day. I continued this routine for about 3 months. By about 6 months of age, we introduced solid foods. At this point I was producing less milk and could cut my pumping down to 2 times per day. Now at 11 months, my son eats the same food that we eat and I am down to pumping only once a day. I will admit that pumping is not fun or easy, but necessary for me to be able to get my son all of the nutrition he deserves.
While at home I always nurse him and have found it to be extremely convenient. When we go out, I am always prepared, I don’t have to worry about bringing along food, since I am the food source. At night when he wakes I nurse him in bed and we both fall asleep next to one another. When he is cranky or sick he finds comfort in nursing.
I am a very busy mom, I am working 3 days/week, I am finishing up graduate school, I am dedicated to posting on my blog at least once everyday, and I have a dog, husband and baby to look after. Breastfeeding fits our lifestyle. We are always on the go and our baby goes everywhere we do. At 11 months old he is still very much attached to nursing and we plan to continue to nurse as long as he needs the nutrition and finds comfort in it.
One of my most proud moments was at my son’s 9-month appointment when the pediatrician said to me, “You are still nursing Rachel? How do you do it?” She knows that I am a busy working mother, but I simply said, “It’s easy and I am dedicated, so it works!”
Read about the Blog to Inspire contest and read posts by the finalists and by the rest of the entrants. Forty-four bloggers reached out to inspire on the topics of cloth diapers, babywearing, breastfeeding, and natural parenting.