August is National Breastfeeding Awareness month. If you've been reading Daily Mom for any length of time you know that we encourage new moms to at least try to breastfeed their new baby and to stick to it for a few weeks to see if breastfeeding will work for them. We feel that breastfeeding offers mother and child a time of physical and emotional bonding that can last into their toddlerhood.
"From before I was pregnant I knew I wanted to breastfeed. When we got news that we had a baby on the way, I bought every single breastfeeding book imaginable to educate myself on the matter and make sure my breastfeeding relationship with my daughter was successful. While books helped me sort through myths and know what to expect and how to overcome hurdles, they didn't prepare me for how hard the first few breastfeeding weeks would be.
Every source I was reading said that breastfeeding shouldn't hurt, yet somehow my little "Hoover vacuum" made it toe curling for me to breastfeed. Even adjusting the latch didn't fix the issue. Sometimes it just takes time, for both baby and mama to learn, for your body to get used to it. Through support from my husband and friends and much trial and error I was able to get through the first 8 weeks of breastfeeding. We are at 18 months and going strong with no end in sight. My daughter has never had a drop of formula even though there were some close calls in the beginning and for that I am proud. I am also a big advocate for (discreet) breastfeeding in public and not having to cover up. Feeding your baby should never be an event to hide from other people; it's natural and wonderful.
To read more about my breastfeeding journey, visit The Art of Making a Baby."
Editor Megan V.
"I never thought I'd really be able to breast feed but I was so determined to try! After getting through the initial hard first weeks and the challenges of learning and adjusting, my confidence grew and it became so natural. So normal. It was like, "Of course I can do this!" As my tiny nursling grew into a toddler, the relationship has changed. Instead of just being about nourishment for her survival, I know now that she depends on me for the emotional support and comfort that nursing provides. She relaxes into me, looks at me and smiles and I know I'm doing my best for her."
Colorful nursing wear pictured above provided by Boob Design.
"I thought I would make my child wean at one year. I thought that would be enough and I would feel good about my accomplishment. I was fortunate enough to be in a situation that allowed me to be flexible and follow his cues instead of my plans. The twelfth month has come and gone and as the months continue to pass we have stopped talking about an end date. I have encountered many friends, family members, and strangers who didn't approve of our nursing relationship. What matters is that WE are happy with it. We have a way to unwind from the day, to nourish his body, and to pamper his soul."
"When both of my babies turned 12 weeks old, I returned to work full-time outside the home. We had gotten into such a great breastfeeding routine that I was determined to not give up just because I was away from them for 9 hours of each day. So, I pumped. It wasn't always easy and it wasn't always enjoyable, but that pump saved me so much money on formula costs! And it gave me the satisfaction of knowing I was providing them with the best nutrition possible when I couldn't physically be there."
"When I became pregnant with my son, I didn't have strong feelings about breastfeeding either way. I thought I would give it a try and see how it went. We struggled from the very start; and had many tearful, frustrating and painful weeks. I wanted to throw in the towel so many times in those early days. It didn't seem fair to me that some of my friends were formula feeding their babies and seemed to have it so much easier. But I had an amazingly strong support system. I didn't want to disappoint them; and more importantly, I didn't want to take something so valuable away from my son for selfish reasons. Once my attitude changed, breastfeeding got easier, more enjoyable and became second nature. My son weened himself at 14 months; and to this day, breastfeeding has been my biggest and proudest accomplishment as a mother."
"For me, breastfeeding was a bonding and empowering experience rolled into one. I had, and still have, a sense of pride that my body not only gave life to three children, but was able to nourish them until they were able to eat solids. Nursing was a quiet time for me to bond with my babies. Only I could breastfeed them, and during times where family and friends wanted to hold my brand new baby, I was able to sneak away for some quiet cuddle and feeding time."
"When I was pregnant with my son, I desperately, above all else, wanted to breastfeed, and I was terrified that it wouldn't work. I read piles of books, websites, and forums, and all of that knowledge gave me such confidence in my body, which I believe really helped me get through the typical breastfeeding hurdles that came our way.
I set small goals in the beginning: a few weeks became three months, three months became six months, six months became a year, a year became eighteen months, and now I am here, breastfeeding a 20-month-old, and pregnant with our second baby!"
"I was never really sure I wanted to breastfeed my daughter and I think I set myself up for failure. Those first few days were hard - painful for me and my baby. She would barely latch and then she would cry out of hunger. I was a scared new mom and I gave up quickly. I just wanted my baby fed and happy.
It's been three years and, looking back, I wish I'd tried for longer. Breastfeeding is not easy and with a little more support and knowledge, I think I would have been more successful."
"My daughter and I got off to a rocky start with breastfeeding, because I had excruciating pain associated with inverted nipples. I pushed through the pain due to sheer determination, and we ended up having a year long nursing relationship that even lasted through my return to work and being away from her over 50 hours a week and pumping full time. I was very lucky that she never questioned the transition between breast and bottle.
I am so excited to also breastfeed my son who is due this November, and establish the same bond and connection that I cherish from my nursing time with his older sister."
"Even though I come from a long line of breastfeeding moms, (my mom breastfed my brother for 3 years and me for 2) the idea of breastfeeding was something that made me uneasy and somewhat put off. I’d like to justify it as a lack of knowledge. Whenever I was asked if I was going to breastfeed, I would answer with an upturned nose to the idea of it. It wasn’t until mid-pregnancy and lots of reading and learning that I wanted to give it a try. Our breastfeeding journey was painful and a difficult one, but I pushed on with my wonderful support group and never once thought of giving up. However, what I wasn’t prepared for was how breastfeeding would help me emotionally get through some very difficult times. Six months after the arrival of my daughter I lost my father. In some way breastfeeding has been my crutch. Having those quiet moments to only think about my daughter, to know that she needs me to help her growth and nourishment and that I have this tiny little being to live for has made me so thankful for it all. I have been breastfeeding my daughter for 14 months and going strong with no sign of stopping. Breastfeeding has taught me to trust my body and doubt it less. It has nourished and comforted my baby and it has helped me with one of the hardest losses of my life. At times I am extra proud to be a woman as I am able to accomplish one of the most sacred acts given to us."
"Breastfeeding my first baby was not the easy, natural act I thought it would be. Starting off in the hospital with a poor latch, a pushy nurse and being a tired new momma was just not a good combination for us. Fast-forward five months and the full time pumping was wearing on me. After the lack of knowledge, resources and support I simply gave up. It was a difficult few months after that when my first born lost weight and began spitting up after every meal when we found out she was allergic to cow's milk and soy. I am grateful that she is now a happy healthy 8 year old, but i often think about our struggles in the beginning and wish someone would have offered more support to help us accomplish our goal of breastfeeding for her first year of life."