Breastfeeding is beneficial
Breastfeeding is beneficial for moms and babies, but it’s also a big commitment. Here to tell us about the joys and challenges of breastfeeding is nursing mom Whitney Ward.
When and why did you decide to breastfeed your daughter?
Whitney Ward: I decided I was going to nurse while pregnant with my second child, Logan. I didn’t breastfeed my first child, so I was determined to make it work with Logan. When I tried nursing the first time, it was so hard, but again, I was determined to make it work the second time around.
I wanted to breastfeed because I know how good it is for both me and my baby. I wanted to have that bonding experience. I also enjoyed knowing that she would be relying on me for all her nutrients. When you’re ready to take on that responsibility, it’s an amazing thing.
What are some challenges you faced, especially when you first started? How did you overcome them?
WW: Honestly, the most challenging thing I experienced was how engorged my breasts became. I’m already heavy-chested, so to add a ton of milk to that was so painful. My solution for dealing with the engorgement was to wear a more supportive nursing bra and to either pump or nurse every time I felt my breasts getting engorged. Once I got over the initial pain and learned how to make sure she was really latched, it became easier.
I also overcame these obstacles with help from my sister, a support group in my area and my girlfriends. My sister shared resources with me, and my girlfriends and I always supported each other. We also reminded each other to think about the end result.
What does your husband do to help you while you are breastfeeding, or how does he make it easier for you to breastfeed your daughter?
WW: We all love our nursing pillow. When my husband knows it’s time for me to nurse, he’ll grab the pillow and help me position our daughter. He’s also great about entertaining our son. He’s almost 4 and is so active. By playing with our son, my husband takes the pressure off of me, because I don’t have to juggle playing with our son and feeding our daughter. While they’re playing, my daughter and I are able to have that bonding time.
Where do you or other women you know find other sources of breastfeeding support?
WW: I rely on my girlfriends, just as I did through the whole pregnancy. Thankfully, one of my friend’s daughters is the same age as my son. We also had our second children at about the same time, so we’ve gone through everything together. It’s been great because we’ve really been able to lean on each other. New and nursing moms can also find support at their local hospitals.
Would you tell us your favorite things about breastfeeding?
WW: My favorite thing is the ultimate joy I have in our bond. I truly enjoy being her only source of nutrients. Knowing I’m the only one who can provide for her is great.
Also, breastfeeding helps burn calories, which is a great bonus. I definitely want to take advantage of everything I can do to take off the baby weight.
Do you ever nurse your daughter in public? If so, do you mind sharing your experience?
WW: I have not. I have nursed at family gatherings though. When I do, I use a nursing cover. It’s like a throw and it goes around your neck. It makes me feel a lot more comfortable. It covers me and my child. I’m not exposing anything to anyone. I love the cover.
While I haven’t nursed in public, I feel that if the child is hungry, who are we to tell the mother that she needs to take the child elsewhere?
What’s your recipe for success?
WW: I believe determination to succeed is really important. I also think having a good support network makes it a lot easier and less stressful. They help keep you motivated and help you meet your goals.
I don’t know what I would have done without my family. In my seventh month of pregnancy, I graduated from college. Without that village, as they say, I would have fallen flat on my face.
What are some tips you’d like to share with other moms who are thinking about breastfeeding?
WW: Go for it! Stop thinking and go for it! Breastfeeding is one of the main things we can give a child. It’s a great way to bond. It’s also great for you because it helps you stay motivated to be healthy. It’s important for you to make healthy choices and continue to care for yourself while breastfeeding. There are so many perks, such as losing weight, so take advantage of them. I say, just go for it!
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your experience breastfeeding?
WW: It’s truly a journey and I love it. You have to be determined to go through it. Once you start, don’t stop. There are so many great things you offer through your milk. If your child can live off what you supply, why hold it back from them?