Breastfeeding Project: Emily and Bray

Each week, we share Breastfeeding Portraits of Colorado Women and their Nurslings. If you'd like to participate in the Breastfeeding Project, contact us at cordcaptures@gmail.com. 

Name and age of your nursling?

My nursling's name is Bray Rose and at the time of these pictures she was 7 months old. 

What does breastfeeding mean to you?

Breastfeeding means more to me than I can express in words. It's a feeling of the deepest connection and intimacy along with the purest form of pride and honor that I was given such a beautiful gift to share with my children. I am soaking up every second it.

What has been your biggest breastfeeding challenge?

My biggest challenge while breastfeeding was definitely the first month. My nipples were raw and bleeding and every time she latched it was toe-curling pain. We went to The Mamahood for advice and tried nipple shields but it was harder for her to get milk out so I would nurse for hours and hours and she never seemed satisfied.  I tried pumping and bottle feeding but I was worried she would start to prefer the bottle over me, so in the end I decided to put polysporin on after each feeding and tough it out as best I could. It took a lot of persistence and determination but I was not prepared to give up breastfeeding and knew that eventually Bray and I would settle into a nice rhythm, and thankfully we did.

What do you love most about breastfeeding?

I love the bond it has created between Bray and I and that all it takes to calm her down, is a little sip of milk.  It has also empowered me as a mother. It took some courage to be comfortable breastfeeding in public, especially without a cover, but I'm so glad I do. I'm a proud momma and breastfeeder and want to do my part to normalize it more in this country. I also have a 9 year old son who had to adjust to my breastfeeding. In the beginning he was a little weirded out to all of a sudden see my breasts because to most 9 year old boys, they are exclusively private parts. Now he doesn't even bat an eye and it has become a normal part of all our lives. I love that I have helped shape his view of breastfeeding into a positive, natural experience that he hopefully carries forward into adulthood.

Who (or what) has offered you support in your journey?

I receive a lot of support from my mom.  I was with her the first time I breastfed at a restaurant. It has also helped to read and talk to other moms about their breastfeeding journeys. I feel like I'm a part of a close knit community of women who support and encourage each other. The Mamahood's breastfeeding support group is also a very valuable resource for me.

Any other advice for moms who want to breastfeed?

The best advice I can give to other moms is stick with it because it does get easier and you will be so glad you did. Breastfeeding is a commitment but one that is remarkably rewarding. I would also highly recommend you surround yourself with people who support you, and your decision to breastfeed. Empower yourself with knowledge, educate the naysayers, and do what you intuitively know is best for you and your baby, whatever that looks like. And above all else, soak up and cherish every second of this amazing gift.

Want to participate in the Breastfeeding Project? Send us an email at cordcaptures@gmail.com for more information!