I figured that nursing was just one of those things that I being a Latina “had” to do. Of course I would nurse, my family for generation upon generation nursed all their babies. I almost felt obligated to do so. I knew that nursing was good and yada, yada yada but I didn’t see what the big deal was honestly speaking.
Now to put this in perspective, my mama gave birth to all 4 of us sans epidurals and nursed all of us until we were at least one. The minute I told her I was preggers she said “buy jourself one cheapy watchcloth and scrub your tetas’”. As wonderful as that sounded…..I never did it and boy did I live to regret it. Nursing was what the women in my family did. It was expected. I figured I would give nursing a shot and that was that.
The day I delivered my beautiful daughter Camilla via an emergency c section due to “fauilue to descend” (yeah….we will talk about this load of crap on a later date) I was almost in a fog right after surgery. I remember being wheeled into recovery and seeing my husband and asking him to leave me and go be with Camilla. After about 45 minutes, I was brought to my room, which was now filled with about a dozen friends and family. As my daughter was brought into my room, my mother tells me to “get ready”. I didn’t know what she was talking about…I just could not believe I had “real” baby. “Get ready” meant take my boob out. So I did and carefully placed Camilla into a “football” hold that I had seen in one of my pregnancy magazines. My mother looked at me with a bewildered look “what is that??” “La football hold” I muttered. That lasted all of 2 minutes before the women in my room told me to hold her cross body so I did. Camilla ate furiously. I thought “wow this is great….pretty easy”. Then came the next day…….
So up until 24 hours after my C-section, nursing really wasn’t too bad. Then the drugs wore off and my mid section felt like someone had sliced me open and ripped a baby out of me. Every time Camilla ate I wanted to quit. Every time she cried for milk…I cried. My nipples hurt so bad. The nurses helped, a lactation consultant helped…but NURSING STILL HURT!!!
When we were all finally sent home my mama was there waiting for us. Almost immediately after getting home, Camilla cried because it was time to eat and yup I started to cry anticipating the pain. My nipples were raw! I wanted to quit so bad. Here is where my wonderful mama came to my rescue. Whenever I complained she said to me “that’s Camilla’s milk not yours..give HER, HER milk” and “soon it will not hurt anymore."
When I thought about the milk rapidly filling my boobs as my baby’s milk, it all of a sudden was not about me anymore. I would prop my feet up, relax my shoulders and nurse. I wanted Camilla to have “her” milk. I felt like I finally understood why the women in my family nursed….it was because what else would your baby eat? I have to say that all the pain was gone in about a week and now that I am on my second 100% nursed baby….I LOVE NURSING. I love that semi smilie face my 9 month old son gets in his sleepy eyes after getting a full tummy of his milk. I love that nod and smile you get from other moms when you are nursing in public. I love that my kids can be around sick adults and fight the germs. I love everything that breast milk has given to my children. But most of all, I love you mama for helping me, coaching me and just being their for me and my boobs.
PS. When your about 8 months pregnant, don’t forget to “buy jourself one cheapy watchcloth and scrub your tetas.”
Veronica Avery lives in Hillsborough, NJ with her two children Camilla and Caden and wonderful husband Rodney. She teaches elementary school in Newark, NJ. She loves all things nursing and is living proof that nursing mamas can wear heels, make-up and skinny jeans.