This month marks five months breastfeeding my son, but I’ve got at least seven more months left in my journey. I’ve always wanted to breastfeed, ever since I started thinking about when I would have children.
When I was pregnant I read everything about breastfeeding that I could get my hands on, but the talk of low supply, mastitis, thrush and clogged ducts scared me, and I began to worry if I would be able to nurse. As some of you have read in my birth story part one and two, most of what I had planned regarding birthing my child had gone out the window. Luckily the hospital I chose to have my c-section at was very supportive about breastfeeding and I constantly had a nurse or lactation consultant in my room helping me and answering my many questions.
Honestly, the first three months of breast feeding are the hardest. You’re exhausted from just having a tiny person, and said tiny person is wanting constant attention around the clock, and on top of that you’re worried about your milk coming in, if it’s enough, if they’re hungry, or if they’re getting milk at all. There’s a reason why they call those first three months the fourth trimester.
I was constantly stressing and panicking about whether my son was eating enough since he was crying nonstop the first week; I called my midwife before my son was two weeks old and she said that he was gassy, so that put my mind at ease. And don’t get me started about the hunger! I swear I spent most nights with one arm pressing my baby to my chest and the other shoveling food into my mouth (oatmeal or pudding, normally). I was determined to exclusively breastfeed for a year, but when those late nights and cluster feedings started to take its toll I didn’t know if I could make it to the next week let alone nine more months. I kept repeating to myself, “I just have to get through this growth spurt, this week, and things will get easier.” Which is true, sort of; It either gets easier or you get stronger, whichever happens first. My son was around two and a half months when I started to get into a real rhythm. I didn’t need to be sitting in a certain position or need a ton of pillows or to even have on a nursing shirt.
But, as it always tends to go, as soon as I feel like I’ve got a grasp on things I get thrown a curve ball. For instance, not even two days after starting to feel like I’ve got this whole nursing thing down, he starts to teeth. I mean, really? Two months old and teething? Then once I started to get the hang of that, he got thrush! It’s been a crazy ride, but I honestly wouldn’t change a thing. When I’m having a rough day and am nursing my son for what feels like the hundredth time that day, he unlatches, looks up and me with the biggest smile. Unfortunately most times that’s followed by a loud pooping noise or some spit up, but that’s beside the point.
Something I’ve never understood is how breastfeeding, something that’s been around as long as women have given birth, is still a taboo subject. With the way people talk and how they treat mom’s who feed their babies in public (be it covered or uncovered), I get the worst anxiety whenever my son gets fussy and I know he’s hungry when we’re out in public. I try to pump but it’s difficult considering when I sit down to do it, my son notices and freaks out because he thinks it’s stealing his milk. I’m trying to build up my confidence so I can withstand the glares and comments, but I’m not there yet. I have the utmost respect for those women that can confidently nurse in public, those strong mom’s that don’t need your opinions and couldn’t care less about your judgmental stares.
So whether you exclusively breastfeed, pump or have down their own science of formula and breast milk, you go mom!