Things I’ve Learned on my Breastfeeding Journey

BFJWhen I got pregnant I knew I wanted to breastfeed. I am lucky that everything worked out and my little girl and I have been going strong for six months.  Although it hasn’t been an easy journey, I am glad I’ve gone on it with her and I’m hoping to continue as long as she wants. I had no idea how much I would learn in these few short months of breastfeeding, but here it is.

Everyone’s Journey is Different 

There are tons of ways to feed your baby. When my baby was born I decided that I wanted to breastfeed. I was lucky enough that she was given to me in the first hour to latch, she latched well, my nipples did their jobs properly and we survived the hardest few weeks. Some people try tirelessly to make breastfeeding work, others don’t try at all. I don’t judge.We are all doing what’s best for our families. So other mommies, I want you to know that I support and  love you right where you are.

I am Forced to Slow Down

I  often fancy myself some 1950’s housewife who has it all together. I picture myself in a cute red dress with my hair curled, the baby happily playing, dinner on the table and a pie in the oven. Except I work from home and take care of a baby all day, so my reality looks much different than that. Still, in my endless quest for perfection, I find myself running around most of the day. Then my baby cries and everything stops. I drop what I am doing, pick her up, cuddle into our spot on the couch, cover her with blankets and stop for  a minute. In that moment, everything else melts away. It’s just me and her on this crazy journey and I am forced to slow down and cherish the precious baby in my arms.

Supplementing is Okay

I am a very “all or nothing” kind of girl. Sometimes it’s great, sometimes it’s awful. When my daughter was born I was told that colostrum would be enough to keep her little belly full until my milk came in. Only it wasn’t, not for her. I was given pre-mixed formula for her to eat after breastfeeding. My baby went from screaming her lungs out to a happy, content baby after the first supplement. I figured I had ruined our chances at breastfeeding, but two days later my milk came in and that was the last time we had to supplement. It’s okay if you don’t meet some arbitrary standard of perfection, especially when it means keeping your sanity.

Covering Up is Controversial

I would really love to have an extremely well-formed and controversial opinion on this, but I don’t. I have always felt comfortable breastfeeding in public and I choose to cover up on most occasions. I have also decided to not cover up when I’ve forgotten my cover, or when it’s too hot or when I just don’t want to. I always try to be respectful of the people around me and be discreet. I know that it makes some people uncomfortable. Here’s the thing though, I’ve never gotten a negative comment. People have always said very positive things or nothing at all. I try to balance making my baby comfortable and making myself (and others) comfortable and so far it seems to be working out for me.

Breastfeeding + Babywearing = Win

You should seriously try it. My husband bought me a Tula for mother’s day and it was seriously the best gift ever. I wear my baby all the time. When she’s fussy, when we’re out, when we’re going on a walk, when I am trying to get stuff done. The best part is she can breastfeed discreetly while I have both hands free. In fact, she’s eating right now while I type. I am also sipping a coffee and texting my mom…because doing one thing would be too easy, right? Anyways, this has made my breastfeeding journey much easier. I highly recommend it to anyone who has a hungry baby, but also a life.

Support Systems Matter

My husband supported me breastfeeding 110%. While he would have supported me if I couldn’t do it, he knew it was really important to me. He was a key player in those early days when my nipples were cracked and bleeding, when it hurt to walk and when people were telling me just giving her formula would be so much easier. I didn’t want to give up, but I might have had he not been there. He was up with me during the late-night feedings, even though he didn’t have to be. He was always at the ready with water, a magazine or a snack while I fed her. When I felt like giving up he encouraged me to press on. He is my biggest supporter and constantly tells me what a good job I’m doing. I don’t think I could have survived without him. A support system is everything.

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