What does breastfeeding mean to you?
Breastfeeding for me is the most natural way I nourish my babies, with the added benefit of close connections and snuggles. It means that I get time every day, multiple times a day, so hold their little hands, and see every little feature on their face as they suck, smile, and doze off. It means I get to slow down, acknowledge our closeness, and whisper sweet things to her.
What has been your biggest breastfeeding challenge?
This is probably a weird one, but I have been a little frustrated that I can't get some of the preventative care I really want (like mammograms) because I've been repeatedly told that I can't get one (too many false positives) until 6 months post-breastfeeding. As a daughter of woman who recently died from breast cancer, I am a little haunted by this dilemma - wanting to keep on breastfeeding but feeling a little desperate to get regular mammograms.
What do you love most about breastfeeding?
How much the little ones love it - that makes me happy. The ease of it all - breastfeeding makes night times easier and comforting hurt feeling manageable.
Who (or what) has offered you the most support?
My sister helped a lot with the first, other mamas. The most supportive thing for me has been when older women encourage me, for some reason, the opposite of a critical perspective coming from a wise, experienced mother is huge in terms of feeling good about it.
Any advice for other mothers who want to breastfeed?
With my first two, breastfeeding was relatively easy. With my third, it hurt like the dickens for the first week, more than anything I had experienced with the first two. If this had been my first experience, I might have given up, but because I knew that it wouldn't last forever, I just kept it up (cringing a lot of the time), but was so glad I did. After about a week, things mellowed out. Don't give up, and if you need help, seek it out. However, if you can't breastfeed, don't be too hard on yourself - we all love our babies and want the best for them. Whatever your breastfeeding outcome is, well, it's yours and you should be proud of yourself for loving your baby and doing best by your baby, in whatever way that works for you and your family.