Did you know that August is National Breastfeeding Awareness Month? I thought this would be a great time to share my personal breastfeeding journey with all of you.
My mother breastfed me and my grandmother breastfed my mom, so from what I know (or as far back as my grandma can trace) every mom in my family line has been a breastfeeder. So it was never something I thought twice about, I just always knew I would do it when the time came. I never stressed about it or doubted it would happen. When my son was born 4.5 years ago I was ready to roll.
The first thing I remember happening in the hospital is a nurse who consistently told me I wasn’t going to be able to breastfeed. She must have told me that at least 10 times before we were discharged. She really aggravated me but I never gave her words any value. I was going to breastfeed and I didn’t care who or how many people told me otherwise.
A few days after my son was born and we were back home my milk came in. And boy did it come in. I think my boobs thought I gave birth to quadruplets. If I took a shower, I had to wear two sports bras just to be able to stand up to hold their weight. My shirts were constantly soaked. If I took my bra off, milk would shoot out in a constant stream. This is no exaggeration; I shed many a tears over the discomfort of having my normal size C cup grow to a size F. I had so much milk, in fact, that I had mastitis not once, but twice, and because I was uneducated as to what mastitis even was, so I just thought I had come down with the flu. By the second time I realized it wasn’t the flu, saw a local lactation consultant, and learned tips on how to avoid ever getting it again. I was successful.
Beside the heavy milk flow, I had a good solid few weeks where I dealt with pain, bleeding, and discomfort. Despite having these set backs to my breastfeeding journey, it never deterred me. I never once thought about giving up because I knew that my body was capable, I knew that my baby was capable, and dang gone it, I was going to breastfeed!
I loved breastfeeding my son. When he was a newborn I thought we would nurse for a year but we ended up nursing for three! I will always be so proud of that. The first year he exclusively breastfeed. After a year, he began eating other foods but continued breastfeeding. Towards the very end of our journey, he would only nurse at night, and right after he turned three years old we just naturally stopped. He was ready and I was too. I didn’t experience any pain or side effects of stopping because it was a natural transition.
The bond my son and I shared for those three years is something that I will cherish and hold close to my heart forever. The fact that my body was able to grow him and then nourish him after he was born blows my mind every time I think of it. Women, our bodies are amazing. They are remarkable. They are capable of so much.
I am 33 weeks pregnant with my second right now and I will breastfeed him. I might encounter obstacles along the way, I know that, but I won’t let that stop me. How long I will breastfeed this baby? I have no idea. Maybe one year, maybe another three years (if that’s the case I might need a solid boob job after). What I do know is that I won’t let a nurse in the hospital or anyone else tell me that I can’t. I will keep pushing forward, and I will learn and grow as I do.