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Being a “Good Cow”

Being a “Good Cow”

Wine celebration with family and freemieI’ve been told I’m a “good cow”. I will admit it – breastfeeding came easily to me.

WARNING: brag ahead (purely for context purposes).

All of my children feed easily from day one. It never hurt that much. I never got cracked or bleeding nipples. My milk comes through so fast that if the baby pulls off the breast too soon, anyone within arms reach would get drenched by milk spray. I can express a full bottle in minutes. The milk itself looks to be about 50% cream – none of my children lost birth weight, and both my second and third children put on around 500g per week for the first few months. No trim milk here.

People see my chubby, bonny, 98th weight percentile baby and ask what he’s eating. Exclusively breastfed, I tell them. Oh, you must be a good cow, they say.

And while being likened to bovine should not be such a great compliment, it is. It’s a high five for breastfeeding. Well done, you can feed your baby, nourish them fully and keep them thriving with very little effort.

I’m pretty sure I didn’t do anything to become a good cow, it just happened; a gift – much like some people are born with a greatness for music, model-good looks or sporting prowess. (I have none of these, for what it’s worth.)

I have a pretty average diet; that is I try to east healthy most of the time, but a block of chocolate doesn’t last long in this household… I probably don’t drink enough water, and I know I drink too much coffee. Exercise is, at best, a dog walk twice a week. My point is I don’t think anything I’ve done helped. It just worked out this way.

And I am really grateful, because I know the heartbreak my friends have suffered when they’ve struggled.

One friend had issues right from the start; her milk arrived late due to C-section, and then when her baby failed to gain weight due to a really low supply of milk she made the difficult decision to stop breastfeeding around 3 month.

Another friend found breastfeeding so incredibly painful that every feed became something to dread. Backache, bleeding, shooting pains; the works. And being told “if you’re doing it right, it shouldn’t hurt” doesn’t help anyone.

I guess the saddest thing about it is that in those first few months, when the baby is new and you’re so sleep deprived and anxious, a lot of mothering confidence is gained or lost through breastfeeding. Although it is a natural process, and perhaps should be easy for everyone, it isn’t.

Some women get the “good cow gift”, others don’t. I’m sure there’s also an “endless patience gift” and a “kids who sleep well gift”, both of which skipped my family…

If you need help discovering your inner cow, we’re lucky to have a lot of resources in NZ:

http://www.lalecheleague.org.nz

http://www.nzlca.org.nz

By |2016-06-17T10:24:38+00:00January 15th, 2016|Breast feeding, Breast milk collection|Comments Off on Being a “Good Cow”