Once upon a time, I thought our nursing relationship wouldn’t last more than a few weeks. Somehow though, it’s lasted through baby’s tiny mouth, bad latch, and jaundice, then major surgery for me followed by a struggle to maintain my supply… Now here I am, 2.5 years later, preparing to tandem nurse!
It’s been quite the journey. Nursing a toddler is an entirely different experience then nursing a baby and my daughter’s latch still isn’t great. I’ve heard so many people say that breastfeeding is the most natural thing you will ever do. That’s hogwash. Sure, I’ve met a few people that nursed without any difficulty but the majority of the moms I talk with had to do a great deal of work to establish their breastfeeding relationship. Don’t get me wrong, I rarely meet a mom that thinks it wasn’t worth it. I’m just saying, let’s be real, it’s not all rainbows and unicorns.
There’s just no way that we would be here now if not for my support circle. The most important thing I’ve learned about breastfeeding is that support is the key to success. There’s a lot of misinformation about breastfeeding out there, some of it coming from the physicians we trust to guide us. I visited three different IBCLCs (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) before my daughter and I were comfortable nursing. I spent countless hours at the birth center where the midwives and various assistants observed and made recommendations and assisted me with weighed feedings so we could be sure my daughter was transferring enough milk, not to mention the new mommy support group there where we shared our experiences and helped each other maintain some level of sanity. I found amazing support on the internet in peer groups where mothers shared their experience and tips for success. Then there’s my husband. He was up for every night time feeding, changing diapers, refilling my water bottle, and getting me snacks. There’s just no way I could have done it without him.
It took months before breastfeeding was just a normal part of my life and not an all encompassing battle. Once we overcame all our obstacles, breastfeeding was normal. It was, and still is, a very natural thing. But it took so very much for us to get to this point and I think it’s important that people share these stories as well as all the rainbows and unicorns.
I recently met this amazing photographer, Jen Pritchett, and she’s going to be taking all our family photos from now on. We saw a photo of a milk bath a few months ago and thought it would be fun to try. I’m so pleased with the way this turned out.
This photo is everything to me. It represents all the hard work, all the love, all the reward that has gone into and come out of our nursing relationship. It’s also representational of what’s to come. In just a few short weeks I will give birth to my son and begin the next chapter in our breastfeeding relationship as I learn to tandem nurse.
I’m not expecting that to be easy either. Heck, after what I went through with my daughter, I’m expecting it to be difficult as hell. But I know we will be successful. Not only because I’ve done this before but, more importantly, because I have the support I need.
Did you attempt to breastfeed? What was your experience like? Share your thoughts below!
Read more about our breastfeeding journey here: http://motherhoodcommunity.com/tag/lactivism/