I guess I should start by saying that I am definitely one of those people who believe that everything happens for a reason. Sometimes life can take us through straight, other times curvy, sometimes narrow, other times wide paths and I'm learning more and more that while it's great to make plans, it isn't about things going exactly as I've planned them. Rather, it is more about things turning out exactly as they were meant to be. This pregnancy was not in my or my husband's plans but now that we are here; a little over eight months pregnant with a son due in April, I know that things are exactly as they were meant to be.
Sure, things aren't exactly as I would have planned them. I'd rather stay home and take care of my baby instead of being dependent on outside childcare but I'm not really in a position to do that right now. After my 12 weeks of maternity leave I have to return to my 40-hour a week corporate job (with an hour and a half commute each way – ouch!). At first, the thought of having to leave my son for so long caused me a great deal of anxiety and stress. Why couldn't this just have happened within my plans? I just wanted to have a special bond with my baby and I thought that being a working mom would take that opportunity away from me. Until I learned about breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding is designed by nature to ensure mother/baby interaction and closeness. From the moment my baby is born, I will make sure that he will be placed skin-to-skin on my chest and I hope to nurse him right away. He will know that I am the person he can count on, depend on for nourishment and I hope that this will build the foundation for him to know that he will always be able to depend on me.
I should just say that although I was not breastfed as a baby, I have a very close relationship with my mother so I know that of course you can bond with your child if you don't breastfeed. My mom stayed home for the first years of my life and though I won't be able to stay home with my son, I know that we can form a bond that is special and our own through breastfeeding.
My decision to breastfeed started with this desire to bond and be close to my baby. In reading more about it and our parenting and childbirth classes at the hospital, I learned about the myriad benefits which reinforce this decision. Breastmilk is the most natural form of nutrition I can provide my child and my body was designed specifically for this purpose! How amazing is that?
I have a really great book called "Why Should I Nurse my Baby?" by Pamela Wiggins, a board certified lactation consultant (IBCLC). When I read that breastfed babies have fewer allergies, have stronger and straighter teeth, are less likely to be overweight as adults, and even are proven to have higher IQs than formula-fed babies, I am blown away! Learning about these facts, I know with all my heart that breastfeeding is the right choice for my baby and for me.
I realize that it does not come easy and is a big commitment but I plan to give this a good, solid try and see where it takes us. I want to breastfeed my baby for at least the first year of his life and I am excited to go down this path. It may not have been on my original roadmap, but I know I am meant to travel this road. My only plan now is to do the very best for my child that I can!