In honor of World Breastfeeding Week (August 1-7), I thought I’d share a little about my breastfeeding journey.
In preparation for childbirth I knew that I wanted to exclusively breastfeed my son. I didn’t know much about breastfeeding to begin with and most people I knew formula fed. I spoke with my mom and my mother in law about their experiences and both expressed that they were only able to make it a few months, then transitioned over to formula.
When my son was born, his umbilical cord wasn’t long enough for him to reach my chest so he was placed onto my stomach. I was a little worried that we had lost that first feed connection. After the cord was cut and he was moved to my chest, with a little assistance from myself and the nurse my little one had his first latch.
He was born on Monday and my milk came in full force on Thursday. That day he had his first doctors appointment where we also did a weigh and feed with a lactation consultant. At three days old he was already consuming 2.7 oz from the first side and 0.7 oz from the second. That is a whole lot of milk! I honestly thought he was overfeeding but according to the lactation consultant he was doing perfect.
As the days went on he continued to feed like a champ and I remember beginning to feel sore. That soreness turned into bleeding and chapped nipples. Every single feed I felt like bursting out into tears. The pain was awful- think razor blades slicing your nipple off. I remember holding my son as he fed and just looking my husband in the eyes in agony. Would it always feel like this? Am I doing something wrong? There’s no way I could give up.
Between feeds and tears I would alternate lathering on coconut oil, Earth Mama Angel Baby nipple butter and Lanolin.
By the third week things started to heal and just like labor, I forgot what the pain felt like. (Isn’t it amazing as Mothers that we can just block out pain like that?)
After the pain subsided I stared pumping to build a stash (which I didn’t learn until recently that if you exclusively breastfeed you aren’t supposed to start pumping until after 6 weeks post partum. Ooooops, could explain my oversupply).
Fast forward to around 3 months when my son would only nurse while I was standing up and walking him through the house, which he continued to do up until almost 6 months old.
Around 5 months I decided to join a group called Human Milk for Human Babies where I linked up with a Mother whose son was in need of breastmilk. I met up with them and donated what I had as we were moving across the country and I couldn’t let it go to waste. (That was such a beautiful feeling knowing that I helped feed that child and I do intend on donating more in the future.)
Here we are today 6.5 months strong with no end in sight. He now nurses propped on his knees, upside down, rips my shirt off, and loves to pinch and dig his nails into my breast (uhmmmm ouch).
My son and I have gone through a lot together on this journey; from nursing in the car (way more times than I’d like to admit as I am still pretty nervous about doing it publicly #normalizebreastfeeding), in restaurants, at the park, on airplanes, in hallways of businesses, etc.
My goal is to exceed one year but ultimately the decision will be up to him. It’ll be sad when that day comes, but I will always remember the loving bond that we shared through our breastfeeding journey together.