Being the mother of six children, I found that it is difficult as you get into the higher order births to have time to bond with the newest bundle while still maintaining household chores. dinners, shopping and life in general. Breastfeeding I found to be the way to force myself to take time to hold my baby, and bond. I found ways to organize my life in a way that would allow me to perform multiple tasks at the same time. I became the juggling genius.
In general, breastfeeding has been important in my life, even being the driving force behind my current occupation. My quest to becoming a medical provider began after child number 2 was born and I was faced with the possibilty of not being able to breastfeed due to a potential surgical intervention. I remember thinking it was absurd that ther was a possibility that I might not be able to breastfeed my baby. To make a long story short (and not medically involved and to spare you the TMI effect as my 11 year old tells me), I was able to continue breastfeeding and even was spared the said medical intervention, perhaps because I spent so much time pumping and nursing that it resolved my underlying issue. Following this close call, I began to look into lactation counseling as a job. I took the opportunity to call my all time favorite obstetrician, Dr K to ask about what his thoughts were about my becoming a Lactation Counselor. I remember him chuckling and telling me if anyone could do it and be good at it it would be me. He then proceeded to tell me to call his partner Dr B and talk to him because he was much more in tune with these things and was the up and coming MD in my area. To this day I remember exactly where I was when I go the phone call from said Dr B and discussing my new found opportunity. I recall how supportive he was, encouraging me to take this on. I did go on to complete my training and worked as lactation counselor for a year before my Peanut came along. After I had my Peanut I found there was a huge hole in lactation services in my area, that there were not many counselor's or consultants specializing in babies with hypotonia (low tone) and related medical problems that can be associated with Down's. I quickly worked to specialize myself in the area learning about what it takes to help mom and baby with special needs - DS specifically- become a successfull breasfeeding duo. I even had the opportunity to appreciate perhaps why I had become an CLC when I did. My first patient was a lovely mother, who interestingly called me not long after I had my Peanut, as she too had had a child with down's and was looking for lactation help and was given my name - for a second time. She was so relieved that I was the referral and also felt that G-d had shown us if just for a split second his plans in action. Over time, with my experiances as a Lactation counselor and my own personal interactions with medical professionals, my friends starting to put the bug in my ear - medical school vs PA school. The rest as they say is water under the bridge. Basically breastfeeding is an important aspect of my life in many ways.
The idea of breastfeeding is not foreign to my kids either. They will tellme when the baby is crying he wants nursed, and they have each at one point in time tried to 'nurse' their baby dolls, and are body conscious to note who has "nursies" and who doesn't. For example my 4 year old told me last week that he has nursies and it was "funny cuz boys don't nurse babies mommy!" This awareness and the fact that I do tend to nurse my children longer then most women do, can potentially lead to awkward situations, even hysterical ones. Thank goodness my kids have never attempted to lift my shirt or help themselves in public, usually becuase I wean by the time that are 18-22 months. I can now say that I have had the experiance however, of taking my 14 month old baby with me to the fine lingerie store to purchase stockings for my work week. He did a great job in the store with me while I found exactly what I needed, but put me on the spot when I put him down for 30 seconds so that I could sign the charge slip. My little cute innocent boy toddles over to the store window display where there are mannequins that are mere torsos set on the floor. They are scantily clad showing the most fashionable undergarments available. It is the storefront that many males can be found inspecting at any given time during the week. My little boy goes over to the one with the lovely periwinkle colored brazier, looks at it for a second inspecting the lacework, then lifts it up and yes, he tried to suckle from the mannequin. I was slightly embaressed, but grabbed him away and apologized to the store owner. The owner subsequently looks at me and at the mannequin and asks me "isn't that the one you purchased last month?" for lack of a better response I glanced back at the mannequin and said, "no, mine was a D, not a B". I quickly left the store, but was a bit red in the face. I am not sure I will be shopping there for a litle while, at least not with my baby in tow. Although I have to give him credit, he recognized the similatiry and connected the color and style with nursy - a comforting loving moment. I think it mught be time to pack the girls up and call it a day....or maybe I'll give it another couple months.