Name and age of your nursling
Our sweet girl is 13 weeks old. Her name is Payton Rose.... or as we call her, our boo bear.
What does breastfeeding mean to you?
Breastfeeding is everything to me. With my first baby, bonding and immediate postpartum connections never happened. Breastfeeding was all we had. It became the one way we got to know each other. Breastfeeding was the one true way to connect and it was how I fell so deeply in love with her. With Payton I knew I wanted to have that immediate bond after she was born, but I also wanted that getting-to-know-you breastfeeding bond like I had with her sister.
To me, that time I have with my kids is irreplaceable and precious. Every soft touch of Payton's hand or her smiles as she looks at me is a memory that I cherish. Once it's gone, I'll never get it back. She will never be this age again and I want these moments to be as memorable and sweet as possible. I still love thinking about the time I had with her sister and the bond we shared. I look forward to that bond with Payton.
Breastfeeding my babies was also the only choice for me. I am not against formula by any means, but this is what my body was made to do and in my mind, quitting was never an option. I knew the health benefits alone would be worth any struggles.
It's also my reminder to slow down and enjoy this life! Time goes by so fast. You blink and the babies are toddlers, the toddlers are teens and in between, you missed something because you were always busy. Breastfeeding makes me slow down. I have no options this way and I wouldn't have it any other way! I'm so grateful I have an excuse to sit and relax.
What has been your biggest breastfeeding challenge?
Oh my goodness. Breastfeeding is one of those things I typically get to brag about because it has come so easily for me, but Payton has been a terrible latcher! We had a struggle right after she was born with a bad latch that left me bruised, bleeding and so incredibly sore. Luckily with the help of my wonderful doula (and lots of lanolin!), we were able to get past that rough patch. It took about two weeks to completely overcome it, but with patience and persistence, we pulled through!
She still has moments of laziness, however. I'll notice that I'm sore and it makes me really pay attention to her latch instead of letting her frantically soothe. She gets lazy and just sucks my nipple into her mouth instead of getting a nice, solid open mouthed latch. Sometimes I feel like it's back to square one when she does and it is frustrating, but I know how to fix it and I really push to fix it before it becomes a big problem.
Who (or what) has offered you support in your journey?
My husband has been my biggest supporter. When I wanted a natural birth, he encouraged me to find out everything I could about it. When I told him my feelings about breastfeeding he was there to support me and learn with me. He woke up with me in the middle of the night (with both kids) when they were newborns and rubbed my back or brought me water. He has been my rock through it all! He never questions my ability to mother our children and backs me on everything I do decide.
My mom has been another huge support. She breastfed herself and she's never, ever discouraged or steered me away. She's always had words of advice and kind things to say. She loves to watch the bond I build with my kids! I probably would have quit the first time if she didn't fully have my back.
This birth community and the friends I have made because of it have also been such a blessing. Candace, my doula, is a fountain of knowledge and support. She is my go-to, know-all birth person! Kimberlee from Serendipity Doula, Bea from Enso, the lovelies at Baby Cotton Bottoms, the two of you here at Cord... the list goes on and on. It's a norm for this community and I LOVE the support everybody provides to moms!
Any other advice for moms who want to breastfeed?
I am going to stress this: ask for help!!!!! There is absolutely no shame in asking a breastfeeding professional for help if you're struggling. There's almost always a way to fix a problem and it's usually a simple one! Another big thing is to reach out for support. The Springs has a huge support group and they're always there with open arms.
I also believe moms should stick to their gut and instinct on the breastfeeding topic. Sometimes friends or relatives can put a negative light on an expectant mother and her desires for birth and breastfeeding. Ultimately, it is not a choice for them to make. I tell all my mom/expecting friends that no matter what they decide, that decision is the right one because they are the mom and they only choose the best! Negativity can weigh (been there, done that) and it's not fair to let someone else decide that breastfeeding doesn't work you. If you want to do it, don't let anybody stop you!
I also want moms to know that they are loved and supported no matter what happens. Breastfeeding is not easy and it's a learned thing. If there are struggles, just know you're not alone. Someone else has struggled before you and someone else will struggle after you. Don't give up without a fight because it's so worth it in the end.