Breastfeeding...not just a choice!
After breastfeeding 3 times ... Is it nothing new for me, what is changed is the world and thinking between my second last breastfeeding and breastfeeding anno 2017 ... I feel obliged to inform other mothers in the choices they have! I did not always had choices throughout the years of parenthood. So I had to look for solutions and muddle a lot. Even with an aging body and in a body damaged by MCS * (* multiple chemical syndrome), breastfeeding was just not always the easiest choice ... but always the BEST choice! I have been a mother 3 times in 17 years, it is interesting to experience the changes trough these years. When I first became a mother 17 years ago on my 20th bithday, I was inexperienced in motherhood. Midwives were only known in clinics as assistance during childbirth, but self-employed midwives were rather rare and home deliveries exeptional. I always dreamed of home birth but because I did not know where to find a self-employed midwife, I opted for poly clinical delivery and reported this to my gynecologist. This man, knowing well what I wanted and how important that was to me, literally made my whole experience to a hell. He interfered in a natural phenomenon in such a way that it disrupted my entire natural flow and I had to be rushed in with a caesarean section. The next day that man had the guts to "laugh at" me at the end of my bed with my poly clinical preferences. The Caesarean section had as a result that my baby was "born" for her time, apathetic she lay in her bed not knowing what mother belly or the world was. She did not know any food, and in no way did she want to take the breast when we tried to install her. After a few days she was ready to drink the sugar water that the nurses kept on forcing her. Back home, after many frustrations I started working with a breastpump, hoping that my eldest daughter would still take the breast ... I kept doing double work for 5 months, by pumping. After 5 months, my body just gave up and did not want to give milk anymore. This birth had completely eroded me, I was tired, creaky and totally up. Until my daughter was 1.5 years I slept every time she slept, housekeeping, my job ... everything suffered, I did not even know if I still wanted children!!! When my eldest daughter was 2.3 years old, I was unexpectedly pregnant again ... the fear of a new pregnancy was so deep that I turned out to be over 6 months without knowing it! Every visit to a gynecologist, after I had felt babyfeet in my belly ... shortened the approaching birth with 14 days ... After and visit to a then 3D echo at the UZ in Antwerp (was the newest of the latest lol) was the decision of the gynecologists: "it's a girl" and you are already "six months" away. The fear hit me on the heart, I really did not want to experience a new Caesarean section anymore, that was a real trauma, not to mention the loss of the chance of breastfeeding. Soon I started my search for solutions and started looking for independent midwives online, followed by a conversation with a midwife in Kapellen. After she heard that I had a cesarean section, she refused to help with a home birth, to big of a risk she said. Their could be a rupture, I could have a massive bleeding, the scartisue could not be healed afther all these years. I threatened her with a free birth in the comfort of my own home. Then, she saw my sincere fear of a clinic and how traumatic the idea of a new delivery in the clinic was to me. She sent me to Anne Daneels in Zwijndrecht. Anne, at first sight a kind of alternative witch :-), (something that made me feel completely at home) had a very different style of working. She was quiet, expectant, enlightening and stable. Characteristics that enormously increase my confidence in myself ... For her, breastfeeding was indisputable and she would protect my interests as a mother at all times. A backup plan was even drawn up in which a second Caesarean section was not ruled out but was kept at a special gynecologist who put the baby during the operation on your belly and let her drink. Thereby the bond with the child was guaranteed and breastfeeding was not made impossible. My 2nd pregnancy went very well outside of very serious pelvic instability. And a crazy advantage was that, because they did not know when I had become pregnant, the du date wasn't known, so I had more room to go over time. In October 2001 my 2nd daughter was born ... just at home, in the bath at 30min. time ... Quiet, calm without complications in all serenity. Then it started, the first real time I breastfed in the way it was predestined. The first weeks were searching, a baby that did not always catch on, troubled drinker, a lot of stomach cramps ... Still, you learn how to go on and Anne was a good teacher. She was consistent but logical and after 5 days my 2nd daughter started to recover and she grew up steadily. She was so fond of breastfeeding and I found it sooooooo easy ... that she had her first 1.5 yrs. nothing else than breastfeeding ... She had breastfeeding for 3 years and was an alert, calm and easy-going baby. She was known in our circle of acquaintances as "the little buddha" :-). The benefits of breastfeeding were clear to me from day one. Faster recovery, deeper bond with your baby, all in formula for all ailments, aches and pains. On top of that ... after 2-3 months they suck at night so you are a much less stressful mama. Depressions, relationship problems, frustrations, irritating babies ... I just did not know with breastfeeding. Giving the breast was just the logical way and did not cause the chronic fatigue that I experienced after my first baby. For fifteen years we wanted to have babies, but that did not happen. Acupuncture, investigations, nothing helped, the cause was not found but a solution either. In those 15 years I regularly had a miscarriage or very early breakdown of the pregnancies ... the reason for this was also vague. As a homeopath, I continued to search why my body wasn't working until I suddenly got the right information. MCS had my body so dysfunctioned that my normal hormone balance was very out of balance. A too high level of estrogens caused continuous miscarriages but also symptoms of pre-menopause. Since MCS is a new disease, the consequences on the life of women are still very unknown. Once I knew what the reason was, I started training myself about possible treatments via dietary supplements and herbs. This caused me to hit red maca and started taking it a month later. I took maca for less than a month and found out to be pregnant with my 3rd child in that shot time. At that moment I was over 30kg heavier than my 2nd pregnancy, this caused that I had to compete with my gynecologist about the convictions that heavier people have to go through. That I lived a energetic life and ate healthy, did not apply to her at all. Her beliefs were the only ones that applied. She quickly asked me how I wanted to give birth and when she heard that I would choose again for a home birth, she became mad and got all the colors of the rainbow in her face. I tried to make it clear to her several times that I had only 30 minutes to give birth during my 2nd delivery and that my midwife thought that this time could go even faster ... She had no ears for what I was saying. She went so far that she wrote a letter to my midwife in which she dared to claim that if I had a home birth my baby would die because of my obesity (thank you!). I took my dose of maca for the whole pregnancy, as I understood in my research that using it during the entire pregnancy would hold your hormones in balance. The result was amazing! Many friends of the same age around me, who also expect an afterthought suffered from depressions, pregnancy problems, pains, pelvic instability, etc ... I had NOTHING, I lost (up to 11kg during my pregnancy) did not feel like special cravings, stopped snacks, was not emotional .... It was an incredibly beautiful pregnancy! Around the 28th week I briefly had symptoms of a premature birth, a visit to my kynesiologist, repaired the flaw in my immune system (also caused by MCS) and the complaints were as quickly gone as they had come. When I was 38 weeks away I gave birth to my 3rd daughter, this time in 15 minutes. The delivery itself was hectic and very bizarre, no midwife available, no replacement midwife, an attempt to drive to the hospital, failed because of too distant access. In the end Anne was just in time ... after my body tried to stop the delivery all the time. The birth went perfectly. Breastfeeding the third time ... My husband, who had not seen babies grow up, was a bit nervous about the idea of breastfeeding for a long time and the fact that the baby would sleep in bed with us. He did not know what to expect and was afraid that he would lie on top of the baby and things like that. Yet, now 5 months later, he is fully promoting our choices to pregnant friends and family around us. In the meantime he has become so convinced that Mother Nature knows what is good for us ... that he cant understand the OLD ways of parenting that still is so accepted. This time, breastfeeding did not go smoothly at all. The milk did not start, an old blood complaint disturbed my entire hormone balance, so serious that MACA could not get me out of this. A month after my birth, a genetic blood fault was found ... untreatable. After 2 weeks, in which my third daughter continued to lose weight. Soon we understood that she did not get enough milk because she was tired of trying and to small. Eventually we got the amount of breastfeeding up and she got better. Yet after a month I decided to give myself more rest and gave her one botle of formula in order not to wrestle all the time. So it was not easy or obvious, this time. I think many mothers would have given up already but after my baby drank by herself after 2.5 months and I did not have to wake up at night, I was glad that I had continued breastfeeding. This time, this baby, got 1 bottle of baby goatmilk and since her 6th month 1 meal solid food per day but fortunately, even with the hormone problems I can still breastfeed and still catch the most important feedings during the night. Because of this I am not creaky, not tired and a fit, happy mommy. And I stay with my believe that breastfeeding has instant nutrition and is so easy when you are parents who like to travel! So breastfeeding is probably never the easiest choice but in many cases she is the BEST choice and not only for your baby but also for yourself!