One of the biggest joys and challenges for me so far has been nursing. My lap band surgery definitely impacted the pregnancy, but my breast reduction has a greater impact now on my life than the lap band. I had breast reduction surgery in 2001. At the time, I was 28, divorced for less than 2 years, and had no prospect or intention of ever remarrying. I knew I wanted to have children, and also knew that if I did have a child I would like to be able to breastfeed, but I felt that it was a distant possibility, while my back pain and difficulty with exercising were a present reality. My surgeon told me that breastfeeding was unlikely given all the manipulation of the duct tissue. And I had a lot of tissue removed, so when it came time to actually plan a pregnancy, I didn't know what to expect. I did a lot of reading on the subject, discovered that there are lots of women with my history who successfully breastfeed their babies, and that it was definitely possible. (For more information, visit bfar.org.)
I'm still glad I had the surgery, because for the past 9 years it has greatly improved my quality of life. Luckily, I have been able to nurse and pump milk for my daughter, although I have had to supplement with formula because I don't quite make enough to keep up with her. What I didn't realize was just how invested I would be in being able to nurse my child. She lost too much weight in the first couple days, and when I brought her back to the pediatrician and saw how much weight she had lost, I burst into tears. I cried again the first two times my husband gave her a bottle of formula, heartbroken that she was hungry after I had fed her, and devastated that I had to give her formula. I knew in my head that this was a possibility, but for my heart it was another matter.
Now I am discovering how closely stress is related to the ability to lactate and nurse effectively. Lucy can tell when I am tense and she won't latch then. When I am relaxed, she does great. What I am able to pump is also affected by how stressed I am. This is why I asked my parents to leave early--I just wasn't able to relax enough to get our nursing relationship the way I wanted it. My parents weren't helping out, they were expecting to be treated more like guests on vacation, and they were stressing my husband and me out. I love them, but it was too much with a new baby. So now we have our privacy to bond with Lucy, and I am working on keeping things as mellow and calm as possible with the nursing. As much as I am able to do, I will be grateful to have.
Time to feed and cuddle Lucy. :)