The closest bonding you can have with your baby is breastfeeding. It continues the nurturing cycle of supply and demand that begins when your child is conceived and it is the natural way of giving your infant nutrients.
Breastfeeding is perfect because it was designed by God. It provides the proper balance of nutrition and emotional closeness that you infant needs. Thanks to modern medicine, if there are any problems with the sufficiency of your breast milk, it can be detected and you can continue to breastfeed while providing formula as a supplement. Therefore, you should not fear breastfeeding, especially since it is an unforgettable feeling of closeness with your infant that neither of you should miss.
There are a few things to know about breastfeeding. There are several positions your child can be in while feeding and many books to guide you. A list of breastfeeding items can be obtained from LaLeche League, a group of breastfeeding advocates you provide outstanding information to the public. Once you and your infant have found the proper position through trial and error, it become much more comfortable for both of you. These is the time many women get frustrated and give up. Hang in there because it WILL work out in a couple of weeks if you keep trying. My son liked the “football” position (under the arm) until he was about two months old, when he preferred the traditional lap position. In other words, your infant may change preferences along the way too, and that’s okay.
Another thing to remember is that you need to be cautious about your diet. A good way to handle what to eat, or whatever enters your body (drugs, coffee, alcohol, etc.) is to ask yourself, “Would I give that to my child right now?” If you would feel embarrassed handing your child a beer, you know that you should skip it too. Not only is is better for your baby not to consume spicy, greasy or drug-related items, it is better for you. Breastfeeding takes extra physical energy and you will need to eat and live holistically.
Sometimes breastfeeding has certain very minor discomforts, which are irrelevant compared to the pleasure of being your infant’s sole source of sustenance. Engorgement, when your breasts fill with milk if your infant is not with you and skipped a feeding, can be relieved with a manual pump, electric pump, or the baby feeding, of course. When the breasts become full, they can leak, which can go through your shirt and create an obvious mark. A simple solution is breast pads, which are cotton pads inserted into your bra that have a waterproof shield. They are not noticeable and protect your shirts and your humility.
Breast pumps are another topic entirely. I found the electric more effective than the manual, but each woman is different. You can get a pump that allows you to get milk from both breasts at once – I preferred one at a time, it was less confusing! If you are working, the pump I have is terrific. It’s a Bailey pump with a neat black microfiber case that blends right in with your purse and briefcase. Also, if you are working, do not feel embarrassed to ask your employer for a place to pump, or if an adequate one cannot be provided, the time to go breastfeed your child. I opted for the latter, but if you are not so fortunate to be able to work out that arrangement, it is required that your employer to provide some solution to your breastfeeding engorgement needs.
The worst part of breastfeeding is when it is over. When you child is weaned (which some do on their own – my son did – one day, at six months, he laughed at my breast and grabbed his bottle) you are no longer sharing your body with your child, and it is your child’s first big step of independence. Some children need to be weaned off, and when you decide to do that is very individual. Now it may be a constant source of worry when you need to be home to breastfeed, or when your infant’s first tooth comes in and breaks the skin of your nipple (there is a great cocoa butter cream for chapped nipples which is affordable and effective) that makes you feel as if you will welcome your freedom. Wrong! Cherish each moment, each coo of satisfaction at the breast, each midnight feeding. It is only a few precious months and you will miss that bonding when it’s over!