Tuesday, August 4, 2015

My Breastfeeding Journey:

This week is World Breastfeeding Week! What a beautiful thing to celebrate in hopes to help normalize breastfeeding. It feels kind of silly to say that, truthfully. To "normalize" breastfeeding. Our society is really backwards that we have to "normalize" something that has existed since the beginning of time, and until more recently (grand spectrum) was the ONLY way to feed your baby and keep them alive and healthy. 

It quite frankly blows my mind that there are people out there that find it gross, pornographic, abusive, and all these other absolutely disgusting terms that they choose to use. Not everyone chooses to breastfeed, and of those that do choose to, unfortunately, some are not able to, or struggle a lot to be able to do so. I have several friends who wanted so badly to breastfeed their first children and didn't or couldn't, or thought they couldn't. Luckily, several of them had much better success with their second and third children. 

I have been extremely fortunate in my breastfeeding journey. I'd always heard stories about how painful it was, or how many women couldn't do it. I had legitimate concerns and fears when I was pregnant with Sophia. I knew without a doubt, without a single question that I WANTED to breastfeed. Why would I not give my children the healthiest, bonding experience that I could? I questioned my own body's ability though. What if my milk never came in? What if it just wasn't enough? What if it hurt so bad that I just couldn't tolerate it? Thankfully, I was lucky to have taken classes with an amazing group of professionals who quickly put my mind at ease and told me if it hurts, you're probably doing it wrong. They would've been correct. Had I not taken those amazing classes, I WOULD have done it wrong, and likely, like so many others, given up. I am so grateful to them for the education that they gave me. Not everyone is so lucky. I was also extremely lucky that my husband not only attended every class with me, but fully supported all of my decisions, especially my choice to breastfeeding. To us it wasn't a choice. 

Sophia was born on January 30, 2012. She was so beautiful and so tiny, and after what was an amazingly (all things considered) EASY birth, I was fully expecting trouble in the nursing department, but I still felt calm in knowing that I had an amazing team of people around me that fully supported me, including an amazing Lactation Consultant, Eileen. Sophia had her first meconium in utero, so unfortunately, she wasn't able to come to me immediately, so that they could suction it out of her, but once they did, it was instant magic. She curled on my chest, and nursed away. My goal with her had been to nurse until ONE year, but one year came and went and we went full and strong for TWO whole years! 

We'd decided relatively early on that we wanted our 1st and 2nd children to be about 2/3 years apart. When we got pregnant again when Sophia turned 2, I'd still planned to continue during pregnancy (if she didn't wean herself due to taste change) for naps & bedtime, but unfortunately for me, it just hurt way too bad. My nipples became way too sensitive and I wanted to cry, so we had to cold turkey it. It was horribly sad to me. The emotional attachment is very deep when breastfeeding. I no longer could just comfort her in a second's notice. I struggled to get her to sleep. I worried we'd lose our closeness.

Enter Rosalie in October 2014. I felt partly like I was a champion. I had such great success breastfeeding Goose that I felt like it couldn't possibly be so easy this time around. Same with the whole birth in general. I was wrong. The birth (while a lot more painful) was actually shorter than the first, and I'd made the decision to do delayed cord clamping, so she was immediately put on my chest, and I melted into mush. Not even 5 seconds after she was placed on my chest, she wiggled her way to my breast, and immediately latched on. 

She nursed so well that I got to birth the placenta completely naturally. It was amazing. Rosalie is now almost 10 months old and we are actually nursing as I type this and have no designated end in sight. I have been so incredibly fortunate to have such an easy, and beautiful nursing experience to share with both of my children. I am very grateful for it. I am grateful for the fantastic support team that I have. I am grateful that I have never experienced those awful comments and stares that people talk about when nursing in public (although if I did, I'd probably promptly tell them to fuck off). 

Breastfeeding is such a beautiful bonding experience. It's one of the most natural, most loving things that you can do for your children. Nothing will ever replace the feeling of holding that tiny body close to you and feeling every movement, every breath. Nothing will replace that tiny being staring deeply into your eyes as you nourish their little bodies. Nothing will replace the nipple tweaking (okay, maybe could've done without that part) and nuzzling that they do, or the face of utter laughter when they jump off during let down and end up with a face full of milk, 

or the crazy gymnasts that they become as they get older, or their little feet in your nose. And let's not forget that sweet "milk drunk" face or that little one sleeping on your chest. 

Haha. Okay, so maybe it doesn't all SOUND appealing, 

but it's a life-changing experience that I wouldn't trade for anything. 

So here's to "normalizing" breastfeeding! Cheers to all you other breastfeeding moms!

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