What does breastfeeding mean to you?
Wow, to sound cliche, it means everything to me. Seriously though, it is miraculous to me that my body can fully sustain another persons life. I feel like a super hero. I believe that breast milk can fix almost everything. I have felt empowered as a woman and gained so much confidence in myself as a mother from breastfeeding my children.
What do you love most about breastfeeding?
My favorite time everyday is when I put my son, Finley, to sleep. We spend time nursing and rocking in his room. It's those moments when I'm nursing him and looking down at him that help me to stop and realize all that I have and how grateful I am for everything in my life. There is something so peaceful and comforting during our night time nursing sessions.
What has been your biggest challenge?
Wow, this is a tough one. While I feel as though I have been wildly successful with breastfeeding both my children, minus the mastitis a couple of times, I feel like the biggest challenge for me was a mental challenge.
I have always felt so strong about breastfeeding and never faced any doubt until I experienced a miscarriage earlier this summer. I was early in my pregnancy and I had one of my providers recommend that I stop breastfeeding altogether, because I was taking nutrition away from my unborn child. I sat in the exam room and cried just at the thought of stopping. I went home did some research, talked with my pediatrician and ultimately went with my gut, which was to continue breastfeeding. It wasn't too long after that that I had my miscarriage and the first thing in my mind was that I had caused this because I hadn't stopped breastfeeding. While I know logically the statistics of miscarriage, I think it is also very normal to look at everything, as a mother, that I had done or not done and to figure out if I could've prevented this from happening.
At 14 months I haven't stop breastfeeding and I don't have a set time to stop, but I do still have that conversation lingering around my head at times. I think it's comments like this that make breastfeeding very hard and sometimes impossible for many mothers.
Who (or what) has offered you the most support?
My amazing husband has been my biggest support in breastfeeding. While I would say that I have been made fun of by others at how seriously I take breastfeeding, he has always been the person to cheer me on and support me through this amazing journey.
Any advice for moms who want to breastfeed?
Surround yourself with a good support system. If you don't have that at home, then make sure to join groups with other likeminded mamas. And always believe in yourself! Our bodies are so amazing and breastfeeding is one of the most natural things our bodies were made to do!