A Breastfeeding Story

It’s International Breastfeeding Week this week and since I’m already on a roll telling birth stories and such, I might as well open up even more and talk about my breastfeeding journey. A journey Ellie and I are still on at almost 12 months, might I add.

bfing

I mention “nursing” a lot on this blog. It’s really become just a part of my every day world. Ellie has always been breastfed and because I am lucky enough to stay home with her, we  never even bothered with a bottle at all. She has been truly, exclusively breastfed. I knew I would breastfeed. My mom breastfed me and my siblings and for an extended amount of time. Breastfeeding was very normalized in my family and so I just assumed that is what I would do with my baby. In the begininng though, it was difficult. Ellie wasn’t gaining enough weight and being a sleepy baby we were having to wake her often to nurse. I was constantly worried I wasn’t doing things right. I suffered from oversupply and Ellie spit up constantly and seemed to have a bit of reflux, which made me even more anxious.  I found myself going back to the hospital lactation consultants for reassurance. The last time I went, the mother next to me was crying because she couldn’t get her baby to latch correctly and had bleeding nipples from trying so hard.  I realized after seeing what that poor mother was going through, that I was doing just fine and I needed to relax. I put away my pen and paper and stopped counting feedings and which side I nursed on last and our breastfeeding relationship immediatly got better. I relaxed, Ellie seemed to relax and it just clicked. Now we are coming up on twelve months and are still nursing strong.

Just beginning the breastfeeding journey.

Just beginning the breastfeeding journey.

Breastfeeding has been so incredible. The bond I have with Ellie through breastfeeding is so strong. Nursing helps when she’s tired, it helps when she gets hurt, it helps when she’s sick. It’s the something we have that no one else can give her.  It has gotten easier as we have learned to nurse in baby carriers and on the go and as I have needed to nurse in many public spaces, my views of breastfeeding have evolved as well. I used to believe in modesty and trying to cover up but nursing a hungry baby who would rather not have a blanket draped over her head when she’s eating (who would?) has made me feel we should be doing more to normalize seeing breastfeeding instead of trying to cover it up.

nursing at a party

nursing in the sling

Now that she’s eating more and more solids and she’s almost a toddler, nursing has been quite different than the sleepy days of infancy. She likes her milk on the go, she’s constantly moving (a friend explained, these are the days of “gymnurstics”). Sometimes she’s so busy, I have to remind her to come nurse a little bit. But at night time we always come back to that deep connection that nursing brings. She pats my breast and sometimes gives me the baby sign for milk. For her, nursing is a comforting, happy, Mama-made thing and I love that I can give that to her. She’s nearing a year and people are already asking me if I plan to stop breastfeeding. Like any relationship you can’t just end it and I don’t want or plan to. At the moment, I plan to let her self-wean. Of course this may change with how we both feel later on (I believe extended breastfeeding needs to be something both Mom and baby want and are comfortable with) but I don’t think Ellie is ready to wean in the least and that is just fine with me. I feel like I’m not only giving her this incredible nutrition that my body makes tailored exclusively for her, but nursing also provides that special comfort, a quiet few minutes for the both of us to reflect upon the love we have for each other.

blue eyes shot

 

– Joining Mothering’s “Blogging about Breastfeeding Event“! Check it Out!

And Happy Nursing!

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9 thoughts on “A Breastfeeding Story

  1. Another beautiful and inspiring post! Thanks so much for sharing. I found breastfeeding really, really difficult for around the first month – it really brought me to my knees, but I am so happy we persevered. Bea is almost two and I am still breastfeeding her to sleep at night. She has always let me know when to drop her other feeds before, so I’m sure she will let me know when she’s ready to let go of this one. Such a special and beautiful bond, eh?

    • It’s such an amazing thing we can do as women and mothers and I’m happy I get to experience it. I’m sorry you struggled in the beginning but so happy to hear you persevered. I’m sure when she does let go of that last bedtime nurse it will certainly be bittersweet.

  2. beautiful!
    I love reading nursing mama stories. I nursed Aerilaya until she was 2.5, I was going to let her self wean but after Makaia was born I had to cut her off as she is an..ahem.. long nurser, like 45 mins!! whereas her sister snacks for 5-10 mins.
    I’m sorry you found nursing so difficult at the beginning but so amazing that you stuck it out, most mamas give up from lack of support or knowledge.
    Loving the birth and nursing stories!

    • Thank you! I’m always a little reluctant to post stories like this and especially pictures but I too love reading birth and breastfeeding stories and I thought it was the perfect time to get it out there. 🙂 It’s nice to know so many of you out there are extended breastfeeders too. I have plenty of Mama’s to look too for support! 🙂

  3. I love your story! I was not brought up in a breastfeeding environment, but found that it is exactly the type of relationship I want with my child. It is inspiring to read about other moms who are breastfeeding past 1 year. It gives me hope that this will work out for me and my baby too. I think I will follow your comment about dropping pen and paper, because I still chart feedings on my app and think about which side to feed him (at 9 months). It has not been an easy journey for me, probably because of the lack of support, my inexperience and the ambiguity nature of breastfeeding… Reading this is a big encouragement for me to keep on breastfeeding. Thanks for your post!

    • Good for you for wanting to continue nursing! It is an interesting path this breastfeeding journey but I do think it’s so worth it for not only the health benefits but the attachment and bond we create as well. I’m so glad my story was encouraging to you. Sounds like you are doing a wonderful job though at 9 months!

  4. Great nursing story!

    We are compiling resources for mommas-to-be and breastfeeding mommas. Come link up your favorite relevant posts: thirty-one10.com/motherhood/milking-it-you-want-me-to-do-what-to-my-boobs/

    Thanks for sharing this!

  5. Pingback: “MilkaMilk” with a Toddler | summerplayshouse

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