Name and age of your nursling:
Omari - 5 months
What does breastfeeding mean to you?
Honestly, along with natural childbirth, breastfeeding feels like a very tangible connection back in time through shared experience to other women tens, hundreds, even thousands of years ago. I can't help but think about it being one of the fundamental and crucial biological activities that humans, specifically women, have been doing since human prehistory. I don't know why that feels so special and important to me. I guess there is not much else we have in common these days with women going that far back, but also it's something that is done today in pretty much the exact same way it was done at any other time in history. I can sit quietly breastfeeding Omari, holding his hand and gazing into his eyes and now that it would have felt and looked the same a thousand years ago. Sort of a sisterhood across time and also across cultures. I love that.
What has been your biggest breastfeeding challenge?
Ugh...pain and discomfort for sure. I had seriously sore nipples for a good 10 weeks after O. was born. After that things were better for a while but then he'd have a growth spurt or caught a cold and would do lots of extra nursing so they'd get sore again. Finally about a month ago I started suffering from a recurring milk blister on one side. Now that is some serious business and NOT fun. I'm dealing with that now and sometimes I get really, really frustrated and just exhausted because of it. Despite all that I know some women have a much harder time breastfeeding than I have had so I just try to be grateful my baby is getting lots of good food and growing well and for the special time we get to share while he's nursing.
What do you love most about breastfeeding?
What I love most is about breastfeeding is the power it has to calm and sooth Omari. No matter what's bothering him breastfeeding is always the cure - hungry, tired, frustrated, angry, sick, scared - it always makes it better. I can tell that he is experiencing the joy of breastfeeding with his whole being too, the way his eyes roll back and his body relaxes and his hand reaches for mine or for my hair...I know in those moments that he feels totally safe and loved and that is magical.
Who (or what) has offered you support in your journey?
My partner, our midwives, my mother, and definitely the Mountain Midwifery Mamas facebook group. While I don't often post or reply there have been a few times when it's been helpful to ask a question about a BF issue or just to read what others are going through and know that all my struggles are shared in solidarity with other women all over Denver...even if they are strangers. Also the breastfeeding support group at the Mamahood was quite helpful early on. I only wish that women, young and old, shared more of the stories and challenges of pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, newborn care and beyond at all stages of life so that it wouldn't be such a mystery when the time comes...Can we bring back the Red Tent?
Any other advice for moms who want to breastfeed?
Hang in there, be gentle with yourself, and don't feel bad about being flexible and doing what ultimately works best for you and your family.