Happy Mom = Happy Baby

7 Jun

My girlfriend just called.  She is a new mom.  Her little girl is two weeks old.  She is not calling to glow and share love stories, she is calling to cry because she has mastitis.  

Ugh.  I had mastitis.  Four @#$&ing times.  It was awful.  I had it with my first child; my beautiful daughter who had a high arch.  As luck would have it, I was able to match her high arch; I produced enough milk for  small village and my nipples went flat.  

On my first visit to the Lactation consultant, I was given an industrial breast pump and was told to “pump for comfort.”  Because this was my first round of breast feeding, I had no clue that my body would replenish what I pumped.  But because 12 ounces (no that was not a typo) per breast was far more than what my daughter needed, the excess milk hardened in my breasts.  My breasts were beyond engorged; they sat like immovable boulders on my chest.  Mastitis.  Cold Compresses, hot compresses, and fevers.  This was not how I imagined the glory of breast feeding.

Four times I returned to the hospital to receive antibiotics to fight an infection that seemed to be neverending.  So after 8 weeks I finally stopped breast feeding and pumping.

I adored breastfeeding, when it worked.  But, if I am honest the next happiest day was the day I stopped breastfeeding.  The day I retired my chaffed nipples, switched off the breast pump and started feeding my beautiful daughter liquid gold from a can!  It was not only my happiest day, it was my daughter’s happiest day.  

I went to my pediatircian like I was entering a confessional,” I must tell you that I have stopped breastfeeding.”  I breathed in slow and steady waiting for the reprimand; waiting for the claws of the La Leche League to find their ways through the walls 

“Well, that’s okay, it doesn’t work for everyone.  Great job giving it a shot, though.  The stuff they are making now is just as good as breastmilk, don’t let anyone tell you any different.”

…and that was the end of my mastitis and my breast feeding and the beginning of bonding between my beatutiful baby and I.

So I sat in a chair when my dear friend called listened as she cried, as she felt guilty, and as she worked through every emotion.  Once she had exhausted her thoughts, reminded her that the best gift we can give our children is the gift of a Happy Mom. Happy Moms make Happy Babies, and as luck would have it, Happy Moms aren’t necessarily breast feeding moms.

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