It's National Breastfeeding Month and I have been so inspired by all the women sharing their personal journeys with breastfeeding, especially everyone working so hard to end the stigma surrounded by feeding their babies in public. News flash: there should never be any shame placed on a woman for feeding her child when they are hungry no matter where they are. I've celebrated all the other moms from the sidelines and today I wanted to share my experience with breastfeeding and where my son and I are with it today...
When I was pregnant I had several women warn me that breastfeeding is a nightmare and ridiculously painful. They told me of chapped, bleeding nipples and mastitis. Suffice to say I was nervous about it. I had a very rough pregnancy but fortunately breastfeeding has come so naturally.
I know that this is not the case for everyone, many women struggle to even produce milk for their children and others suffer incredible pain just feeding their babies daily. When I was pregnant, I told my husband I wanted to breastfeed for a year, knowing that there were so many positive attributes that came from breastfeeding. I want to say: I believe that fed is best. But for me, breastfeeding was very important and from the first moment Easton fed from me in the hospital, the strongest connection was formed.
I have now been breastfeeding my son for thirteen months and while I have loved it, I have also struggled with it. I struggled when I went back to work, worried that I wasn't producing enough with a pump to keep up his supply at home. I cried over spilled milk, literally. I lost so much sleep. I remember in the beginning, I'd be sitting up in bed with Easton in the middle of the night, just glaring at my husband who'd be sleeping peacefully while I was up for the fourth time that night.
I battled with feeling like a slave to my son. I didn't have the freedom to go where I wanted, when I wanted, and whenever I wanted (I know this is not luxury parents have once they have kids, but trust me, it's different when you're breastfeeding). I had to make sure there was enough milk first, then I had to decide whether I needed to bring my hand pump with me or if I needed to pump when I got home. I haven't been able to eat eggs or anything with eggs in it since Easton was diagnosed with an egg allergy at the beginning of the year. I cried many tears feeling a loss for who I was before pregnancy, the freedom I used to have.
But every time I brought Easton back to my breast I would forget every negative thought, every struggle. We never had to supplement in anyway and when Easton wouldn't eat regular food, I was the one that provided his nourishment. The joy that I've felt feeding him, watching him grow from the milk I made for him, is one of the best feeling I have ever had. I've also never dealt with any shaming from feeding him in public, a fact I don't take lightly.
We've slowly started the transition to wean Easton and before it started I remember being so excited to stop breastfeeding and get my body back for myself. I dreamt of all the things I could eat and be able to do like go out for an entire day and not worry about milk or even spend a night away from him.
And then I took away one of his regular feedings and I felt like I was going to die. I never imagined that I would feel so devastated. I was wrecked and I cried many times during those first few days. Easton is still breastfeeding, but he only feeds from me in the morning, late afternoon, and before bed. I now have a few hours everyday where I do have the ability to go out alone and not worry about him being fed. He is finally eating food and we are fighting everyday to get him to drink regular milk, he still doesn't love it.
I know that when this journey is over, and he no longer needs me for nourishment, I will be grateful but also very sad. I will miss the peaceful and comforting bond Easton and I have had with every feeding. And I will always be thankful that despite all the hurdles we've faced from pregnancy to now, breastfeeding has been one of the best experiences of my life.
I'm a twenty-something mama who honestly has no clue what I want to do in life at the moment. For the longest time that scared me but now I embracing it and documenting it here.