Sometimes Breast Isn't Best

When I was pregnant with my first child, I read everything about pregnancy, delivery and breastfeeding that I could get my swollen hands on. (It would be a lie of omission if I did not also admit that I became extremely well-read when it came to stroller acquisition, for no other reason than it seemed like pushing a stroller with a baby in it would be really fun, and I wanted to make sure I got a good one.)

I read the old standards (What to Expect) and the newer ones (The Girlfriends' Guide). I read tomes by Dr. Sears, touching memoirs of early motherhood, and 1,600 variations on how to get my baby to sleep through the night. I read every brochure and pamphlet I was handed at the OB's office and I read the backs of my prenatal vitamin boxes. I am relatively certain that at some point in my second trimester, I read through the entire Internet.

So I knew how important it was that I breastfeed. I knew the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended exclusively breastfeeding my child for the first six months, and beyond that, I knew it would be cheaper than formula and could reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). So I read about that too, taking the time to familiarize myself with the football hold and the cradle hold, even going so far as to borrow a pump from a good friend and sterilize the parts so I would be completely ready to breastfeed at any moment.

And then I had the baby. As it turned out, I might as well have been reading back issues of Computer World all that time. I had no idea what I was doing, and quickly discovered that the book knowledge I'd acquired was a pretty crappy substitute for actual, real-life experience. (I know. Shocker.) They put that little bundle in my arms and it was like everything I'd worked so hard to familiarize myself with over the last nine months whooshed out my ears and onto the floor.

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