Thursday, April 18, 2013

Slow down

How do you follow through on the internal prompts to "Slow Down?" It seems impossible at times to turn off my thoughts. Which child needs their check up or dental visit, do I have any refills for our allergy medications, did I lock the door, don't forget to give Brownie his heart-worm medication, don't forget to mail out the "Thank You" cards, I should get some more stamps, I only have about twenty left. I need to send in this form or that, complete CE's, schedule parent-teacher conferences, follow through with volunteer commitments, return phone calls, study, clip coupons, renew my library books, review sight words with my kindergartener, play time/dinner time/bible study/ baths then an hour to complete my nightly aerobics, sweep, mop, wash, shine, rinse, swipe, swish, pick up, pack up, toss out and retrieve.

It goes on and on without ceasing. I want to slow down. I should be sleeping, I chastise my self, squeezing my eyes shut, purposefully implementing the sleep aid techniques I have dutifully taught others. It is like walking against the current. Remembering this thing and that, as various beeps and chimes mock my attempts to rest. I check my email on my smart phone, respond to a text, check Words with Friends and try to think of a word from the letters "u-u-u-e-i-and y." The minutes go by and I am struck with dread knowing that I will have to wake up in 2 hours and 40 minutes.

Thank God for coffee and the knowledge that time is in His hand. I want to remember that I should make careful use of my time and make sure that the things I spend my time on honor Him. Including cutting the tremendous amount of time I spend worrying and going over things in my head that I have written on scraps of paper, in my calendar and logged in my smartphone. Worrying is a true waste of time.

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:6
New King James Version (NKJV)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Breastfeeding While Lost in the Woods

There I was in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, known to many as “Fort Lost in the Woods” due to its location in central Missouri. I was well over a thousand miles from home and family and holding my first-born child in in the delivery/recovery room of the maternity ward. I was in love and I was in pain. Despite reading several books and resources about breastfeeding, I felt like I was failing. My nipples were on fire, I was exhausted, the baby seemed insatiable and I was feeling so inadequate.  I admitted defeat and reached out to the nurse on duty for assistance.  I told her that the baby seemed fussy and I didn’t know if she was “getting enough.”  She let me know that I had to bear it if I wanted to breastfeed and promptly came back with a small bottle of sugar water to supplement the baby.  I was shocked and also put off by her bedside manner.  I was confused because all the books I had read discouraged supplemental feeding.

God sent me a rescue in the next shift change.  A male nurse bathed the baby, spruced me up and then tucked me in. He asked if I was okay.  I shyly told him that my nipples were burning and I was unsure about the baby getting an adequate amount of food.  He gently examined my nipples, helped me to apply lanolin and then assisted me in positioning my daughter while explaining the proper way to latch the baby.  All the book knowledge in the world couldn’t compare with hands on assistance and compassion. 
Since that experience, I have nursed all three of my children, including an experience with tandem nursing. It has been the most intimate and heart warming experience.  I wouldn’t trade it for anything. So many women have witnessed me feeding one of my children and commented that I was doing what was best, while others congratulated me but added that they couldn’t breastfeed because they were not able to produce enough milk, they had to work, or had to take medications after delivery.  I believe these to simply be minor challenges with the major issue being lack of support.  If only more women could receive the support and education necessary to do what the body naturally intends and facilitates for survival, many more women and children would reap the benefits of breastfeeding.

 I am passionate about educating women about their ability to breastfeed, so many women feel defeated and do not meet an earlier goal to breastfeed their child.  Another population of women breastfeed but find it taxing and inconvenient. I am interested in in identifying the variables that cause detriment to the process of “successful” breastfeeding.  It is possible to educate the women on alternative perspectives thus alleviating a percentage of negative thoughts and feelings associated with breastfeeding by some women.  It would be optimal if more women found breastfeeding to be a pleasurable experience, thus creating an opportunity for the women to breastfeed for a longer duration and decreasing or eliminating the use of artificial milk. 

In closing, I would like to encourage mothers to use their resources.  I was able to successfully breastfeed my first child for 18 months while on Active Duty in the Army.  I attribute my success to sharing my plans with my supervisor.  I let him know that breastfed babies were healthier and that breastfeeding helped me to return to my pre-pregnancy weight within four weeks post partum. (Which is very important with regard to maintaining compliance with the regulations of the Army.) Not only was he onboard with my plan to take scheduled breaks to express my milk; he used departmental funds to purchase a miniature fridge for me to store my milk while I was at work.   I felt so encouraged.  My immediate supervisor was also very understanding of my pumping schedule and she graciously accommodated my closed door and affixed post-it note labeled “pumping” three times daily.  I believe my work performance was enhanced by my nursing experience, my daughter was healthy, I felt confident and at 180 degree turn around from my first day breastfeeding; I felt successful.