Breastfeeding and the Theology of the Body

Even after having 4 kids, you’d think that breastfeeding would come easier with the fourth kid, but nooooooooooo….. Jacob is throwing me for a loop. First it was the bottle feeding… That was interrupting the proper latch and his preference for the bottle seemed to overtake his want for breastfeeding, so we cut out the bottles. Second it is his latch, since he was bottle fed, his latch was smaller then the typical one. Mind you he also has a really small mouth because he’s a preemie, so we’ve been using a nipple shield to help open his mouth wider, but with that comes other problems: he doesn’t get as much milk as he would drinking from the bare breast. Third, since we’re using the nipple shield, he latches better using that than on the bare breast, but I’ve been working on getting him off the nipple shield. So that’s another transition. Fourth, he hasn’t been gaining as much weight as we’d hoped, so instead of adding formula, as other people would, we’ve been adding a tube while feeding him…to get him to a higher weight….Sigh…so many things going on.

There are usually 2 breastfeeding problems: 1) a milk production problem, where for whatever reason, your body isn’t producing as much milk as your baby needs and 2) a latching problem. This happens when your baby can’t latch properly and it makes breastfeeding hurt. For me, my problem has always been a latching problem. I have never had a problem with milk production, thankfully, but on the other hand, a latching problem can make any mother quit breastfeeding because it really hurts if you don’t get the help you need. Sigh… This is such hard work. Breastfeeding isn’t for everyone, and it is the least talked about in parenting classes, but let me tell you…. It puts things into perspective.

How much are you willing to sacrifice for your baby… To try to give him/her the best possible nutrition… It’s really hard… And the sad thing is… A lot of mothers give up before their babies. One thing I have learned in my life regarding breastfeeding is NEVER give up! If you’re willing to sacrifice yourself for it, it will be totally worth it. There is help out there if you really want it. But first you have to get over the painful latches of the milk production issues to be able to be in the clear.

Over the last few days, Jacob and I have been struggling with breastfeeding. He’s been fussy a lot at night which means that I’ve been up nursing him. I feel like I’ve been nursing him non stop over the last few days. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart.

Breastfeeding takes a lot of patience, persistence and a heck of a lot of the miracle nipple cream I was prescribed! Let me tell you… Without that nipple cream, I don’t know where I’d be.

Thinking about how this relates to the Theology of the Body… In so many ways, a mother is that child’s representative of Jesus, metaphorically, of course.

She willingly feeds her child, losing sleep and other things that come along with it. But if you knew what the milk was, you’d also understand the parallels with that of the Holy Eucharist.

What is the Holy Eucharist? It’s literally transformed from bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ. See John chapter 6 in the Bible. Jesus’ body and blood becomes the sustenance for our lives. If we eat of his flesh and drink his blood, we will have eternal life. He is the life source of our lives.

In the same way it can be for breastfeeding…the mother’s body and blood is transformed into sustenance for that little baby. Without the milk, the baby would die. But I guess one of the most beautiful things to think about is that mothers get to feed their babies just like the Blessed Mother fed the baby Jesus. She gave up her body for him so he could live by drinking the milk that her body produced.

If breastfeeding doesn’t make you a saint, I don’t know what will. While I’m sitting here, feeding Jacob, sometimes I wonder why I don’t just quit breastfeeding this little boy… And as I contemplate this, I think no… I could never give up on this. This is my sacrifice for him but also for those who need prayers. My struggle will be offered up for those who need and want prayers. So if you’d like me to remember you during my struggle please comment on this post, and I’ll be sure to pray for you during my breastfeeding journey.

Before I end this post, if you could also lift me up in your prayers, I could really use them. Breastfeeding is hard, but one thing I’ve learned is… Get the help…it’s out there if you need it.

This is where I got my help…

The Doctor’s Breastfeeding Clinic

The doctors here are great! And so is the lactation consultant. I wouldn’t have made it this far without their help.

One last note… I was reading another blog about 5 saints who should be known by breastfeeding mothers, and one that really stood out was St. Zelie Martins. She was the mother of St. Therese of Lisieux. She was unable to breastfeed her children and had to send them to live with wet nurses because she couldn’t feed them. And many of them died while they were separated from her. 😮 Can you imagine?? Your babies died because you couldn’t breastfeed them?? I’d be devastated and I’m sure she was. So I’m that note, I’ll end this blog with a short prayer.

St. Giles (patron saint of breastfeeding and breastfeeding mothers, St. Zelie, and Our Lady of La Leche, please pray for all the breastfeeding mothers out there that are struggling and wanting to give up! Give them the will to keep going even when they want to stop. Allow them to enter into the suffering deeply and unite it with that of Christ and the Blessed mother. Allow them to persevere by your grace. All this we ask in Jesus’ name! Amen!

My little milk monster! He keeps me on my toes!

Your sister in Christ,

Jeanette

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Adjusting to life as a mom of 4.

It’s been a week since Jacob has come home. It’s been fun and frustrating. Haha… Two very polarizing f words.

It’s been fun because Jacob has been a real gem. He’s a very sweet little boy. People are constantly asking us… Oh how many days old is he? And my response is… Don’t be deceived, he’s older than he looks….hahaha guess it could be the same thing for Rios. He still gets the whole… You look so young speech from people…But I notice they never say that about me… Huh… Must be the bags under my eyes and the ponytailed hair that must be giving away my age.

And on the other hand, it’s been frustrating because as much as I love my kids, they drive me crazy. They want to touch Jacob, kiss him, play with him, and be near him while I’m trying to breastfeed him. There’s nothing like telling your kid… Ummmm… Your brother is trying to drink his milk… Please give him, (me), space cause you’re crowding him (your face is too close to my breast)…. Get away child! Haha

Yup… That’s pretty much my life right now… A long list of to do lists… Feeding, changing, playing, praying… Ahhhh…. To be a mom of 4 is so fun!

We took Jakey, yes that’s Jacob’s nickname, to church for the first time on Sunday, and it was great seeing so many familiar faces. I love the community that we have at church. I look around and there’s people from all walks of life sharing in the great mystery of the Eucharist alongside me. How beautiful it is to witness such communion with others. One lady mentioned to us that her daughter lost a baby around 34 weeks, so the same age Jakey was when he was born, and it was devastating for her….of course…. That would be devastating for anyone. Everytime she looked at Jakey she’d start to tear up. But then she’d say that we were very blessed to have such a wonderful family. She was very kind. And a bonus and total parenting win was that my children all behaved at mass! Yesssssssss…. It pays off! Parenting a child for the Lord has slightly paid off on Sunday! I wrote a post a few years ago about mass and children…. Here’s the link…

https://tobcatholicmom.com/2016/04/25/mass-and-children-the-two-can-go-together/

The definite thing that I need to adjust to is caring for a newborn again. While Jacob was in the nicu, it was hard for me to picture life as a mom of 4. It felt like I was just watching someone else have the baby instead of me. It was only when we brought him home that reality started to sink in that our lives would change by adding another baby into the mix of life. Let me tell you, this kid is throwing me for a loop. He’s very different than my other three.

Jacob is the only one that stayed in the nicu. He was the only one that was a teeny tiny baby. He also is the only one that I bottle fed…I am planning to breastfeed him, but we’re working on that right now. Because he was away from me, I had to pump and bottle feed this little guy, so we’re working on establishing the breastfeeding.

If you’re looking for help with breastfeeding, I’ve only had success with this particular clinic: The Dr. Breastfeeding clinic. http://www.Drbfc.net they have helped me with all my breastfeeding problems…they’ve been there for me for all my 4 kids, and I highly recommend them

Anyway….it’s been an adjustment getting used to the newborn cries and all that comes with it.

Fun and frustrating are the two words I would use at this time to describe my experience this time around.

Thanks again to my readers for reading my blog. Please share the link with anyone that you think can learn a thing or two from me…. Or if you’d like to have a laugh or cry with me. Subscribe to the blog!

Also, if you’d like me to write about something in particular, please let me know.

Take care and God bless,

Your sister in Christ,

Jeanette