Blog to Inspire: In Praise of Boobies

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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 Dumaresq Kiddo is Debbie Dumareq met her husband Chris in 1997. They have been chugging along together ever since. They created their blog to share all the news of the littlest member of the Dumaresq family that’s fit to print—and probably some that isn’t!.

Sam is so much bigger every day, so much more alert. It’s mind-boggling that my body knows how to churn out this milk that he is growing on…. I’ve had this secret fear of all mothers that my milk is not good enough, that it is nothing more than sock water, water that socks have been soaking in, but Sam seems to be thriving even though he’s a pretty skinny guy. I’m going to have an awards banquet for my body when all of this is over.

Anne Lamott, Operating Instructions

Dumaresq profileWith Jordan getting so close to starting solid foods I have been thinking about how our breastfeeding relationship is about to change. While I pine for the day I can wear a bra that actually supports me, and a shirt that doesn’t have a nursing panel, I don’t intend to force the babe into weaning next week. Still, I know that once we have a food regime we will be nursing less. It makes me consider how far we, dynamic breastfeeding duo that we are, have come since his birth.

Chris, in his chats with Jordy, will often say something to the effect of, “Look at you! You’re a big strong boy! And do you know why—because Mommy’s milk is so good!” At such times I take a look at my boy and am amazed that he is sustained solely on my milk!

At the time I didn’t blog about it but, despite all the reading I had done to prepare, it was no easy feat getting Jordan to figure out the latch. Standard Caesarean recovery time in hospital is four days, but the delivering doctor looked me over on day three and told me I looked well enough to be released if I wished; and all things considered, I felt fantastic! But I stayed because I wanted to maximize my time with the lactation staff. Well, the next day even though I was okay we had trouble persuading the attending pediatrician to release us; Jordan had lost 9% of his birth weight. He let us go on the condition that the public health nurse visit within 24 hours and that our doctor see us by week’s end. At that point we were hit or miss: sometimes nursing great, other times unsuccessful though my milk had come in.

Well, the day Rena (the public health nurse,) came, she watched us, was happy with the latch and tried to reassure us that a few bumps in the road were normal. But the session she observed would be the last time Jordan nursed for several days! By the time we got to see Dr. Davey the next day we’d grown concerned and had started cup-feeding pumped milk and formula to our little guy. Though the good doctor also tried to soothe us our distress was amped up yet again, because after that visit we started to see uric acid crystals in Jordy’s diapers. We increased the feedings, and switched to a bottle. Big Thanks to Rena for calling that day and advising me that nipple confusion is a smaller concern than dehydration. We were able to re-hydrate Jordan and Rena wrote a referral to a lactation clinic at Douglas College.

We continued to grind away but the formula was calling to me from the pantry. All my attempts at mental preparation for these “common” difficulties were for naught: I felt powerless and was close to quitting. Screw Mother Nature, she’d dropped the ball! How did babies survive if feeding was this hard? All I wanted in the whole world was to feed my son, and I was beginning to not care how. Chris kept me going, reminding me of my goals, not making me feel guilty if I opted to give Jordy the bottle, and generally cheering me on. I know I would have given up had it not been for my husband. It’s pretty cool that boobs can strengthen a family by teaching them about getting through the rough patches.

Suddenly at two weeks, I do not know what happened, but something clicked, and Jordan and I have been unstoppable ever since! Forgive me as I get sickly sweet here, though as someone who has made boob a verb (Give me the Boy, it’s time to boob ‘im!) I reckon I’m entitled to this rare lapse. Not long ago I looked into Jordan’s eyes as he was feeding and asked him if he remembered the time when it wasn’t so easy. I know that he can’t understand the words, but he understood something because his eyes crinkled up, and his lips smiled around his latch and he touched my face. That kinda makes those horrible bras worth it.

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.