What does breastfeeding mean to you?
Breastfeeding is a really sweet, intimate relationship with my daughter. It has been an important part of a very close and bonded mother-daughter relationship. When we nurse, it is a moment of nourishment, connection and comfort for my little love and an expression of love from me. After 18 months of breastfeeding, I cherish the health, connection, and quality time that breastfeeding has provided for us.
What has been your biggest breastfeeding challenge?
I have struggled with painful breastfeeding off and on throughout our 18 months of nursing. My daughter preferred a shallow latch from the beginning which I was never able to correct. There was pain for the first 6 weeks of breastfeeding while I waited for my breasts to get use to her latch. There were also two times (so far) of pain from biting. During these times when she was biting at the end of nursing, it took weeks for her to deal with her frustrations or discomforts and to learn that biting me wasn't acceptable. That meant weeks of pain for me.
What do you love most about breastfeeding?
I love that my daughter is happy and healthy. I credit breastfeeding with my daughter having minimal sickness in her first two winters, following a healthy growth curve and developing beautifully. Plus, I know she is happy with breastfeeding because she gives me the biggest, excited smiles when she's about to nurse.
Who (or what) offers you support?
Most of my circle is supportive of breastfeeding and extended breastfeeding but my husband has been the biggest support. He has respected that my breasts have had to change in form and function, has comforted me when I was feeling unsupported or pained and bonds with his daughter in other ways (though sometimes in eye contact while she is nursing). I am also grateful for La Leche League and blogs who have normalized breastfeeding at any age for me and have provided answers when I had struggles or questions.
Any other advice for other breastfeeding moms?
Breastfeeding may be hard at times but if you stick with it you get great joy in it too. There are many resources, like La Leche League, to help when breastfeeding is hard or uncomfortable. Finally, enjoy the slow, quiet time, smiles, eye contact and connection. Your little one is only little for now.