Breastfeeding is a choice and a challenge. After all, parenting is like a marathon that we will always be training for. Here is my story about why I’m choosing to breastfeed my son after his first birthday.
There are no doubts about the benefits of breastfeeding your child. Making the effort to master and feel comfortable with nursing takes A LOT of patience, endless support, and lots of love.
It’s honestly one of the hardest roles that we are faced with right off the bat as the doctor hands us our precious miracle. I struggled daily with my road to being a human “breastraurant.” My personal struggles have included: nipple inversion, clogged milk ducts, over producing, under producing, and lots of pain. These are just skimming the surface for what I went through to feed and nourish my child. The positives certainly out way the negatives, and I have grown to love this bond I share with my 14-month-old.
Please don’t let this info burst your bubble if you are an expectant parent who has been told that breastfeeding is natural and easy. It is not. Instead of reading this post and fearing that you will fail, use my words as a tool to prepare yourself.
I wrote another post during National Breast Feeding Awareness week, and maybe the tips I wrote there will help you get your nursing foundation in order.
I’ve been extremely lucky to have been able to stay-at-home with my son. We’ve had so much amazing time to bond together and I would not trade all the tough times for anything different.
Charlie is now 14-months-old. Our adventures together change daily and right now, I’m feeling change a lot with his nursing schedule. I’m wiping away big tears as I write this and reflecting on all the days that got us to this point. It’s been a crazy, beautiful parenting roller coaster, and someday I truly don’t know how I got here.
Now Charlie eats three regular, full-sized meals with snacks in between. His energy is endless. I am constantly guiding him to new, safe play areas and cleaning up after his chaos. He is basically a mini version of King Kong. Nursing together calms us both when the energy levels drop.
Developing a healthy bedtime routine has gone hand-in-hand with nursing. When he was an infant, he’d basically fall asleep anywhere. At six months, I could nurse him before bed and my husband would put him down with general ease. At 12 months, Charlie’s bedtime became “fear time.” It was a constant struggle and I completely dreaded it. I think my husband did too, because bedtime marked when Charlie wanted nothing to do with dad’s comfort. He just wanted to nurse in my arms.
When you’ve achieved your first-year parenting badge, you need to celebrate. We did and the party was called Charliepalooza. It was epic. The first year of parenting is such a challenge! I know it’s never going to be easy, but hey, a girl can dream right?
At this moment, breastfeeding for me and Charlie is a time for calmness.
Calmness before he goes to sleep and gives me a break from his unlimited energy. Calmness to just sit in a comfy glider and look upon him while he snuggles into me and gently closes his eyes. Watching him drift to sleep is one of the most beautiful sights. My husband recently asked me when nursing will end. He seems to have fears of Charlie being grown with a full beard and still wanting to suckle. All I can say to him is “that won’t happen and we will figure this out when we are ready.”
I pumped a few times in the last couple weeks so my husband could take over bedtime feedings. For Charlie, bottle feeding is hit or miss. When my husband would come out of the bedroom, I was relieved that Charlie was asleep. But I was sad at the same time because there was generally a full bottle of my liquid gold untouched. Knowing that I worked so hard to make that milk, and then to see it go to waste was heart breaking.
I will repeat that sentence to myself when I experience feelings of failure or sadness watching milk trickle down the drain, or when my mind wanders to places where nursing is in the past. In reality, failure is part of the process and I’m doing pretty well, according to general standards.
I hope this post sheds some insight into what breastfeeding can be if you stick with it. How long did you nurse your children for?