Notes from a New Breastfeeding Mom: Part 11

Making the decision to breastfeed is amazing. But, every journey is different, and none are perfect. Joy shares her experiences in her own words.

 

Making the decision to feed your baby breast milk, in whatever way and for whatever length of time you choose, is amazing. But, every breastfeeding journey is different, and none are perfect. In this ‘Notes From A New Breastfeeding Mom,’ first-time mother Joy shares her experiences in her own words. Her journey, like other moms’, has its flaws and challenges, but it is a real glimpse into the perfectly imperfect experience of breastfeeding. Read Joy’s post Keep Your Seatbelt Fastened...This Ride Isn't Over Yet.

 

Part 11: Let’s Give the Girls a Round of Applause

In the last year, I’ve approximately…

Put my pumping bra on 1,540 times.

Been hooked up to my pump for 38,500 minutes. That’s almost 4 whole weeks!

I’ve expressed milk in 8 different states…in countless locations, including parked cars, moving cars, airports, trains, public restrooms, private rooms, scary places and places I hope to never disrobe in again.

And at the end of it all, I’ve produced as much milk as 750 venti coffees.

Or 7 ½ kegs of beer.

Or 341 Big Gulps.

Or 3,750 margaritas.

Or enough milk to feed my son Grant for a year, stockpile at least four months-worth of it and donate 1,200 oz. of milk to babies who really, really need it. 

So…my friends, I’m not a “new” breastfeeding mom anymore. I’m a mom who worked my keister off to meet my breastfeeding goals. I’m a woman who has cried, laughed, smiled, complained and sang along to the rhythmic “wraw, wraw…wraw, wraw” sound my pump made for almost an entire month of my son’s life.

And I’m proud. In fact, I’m prouder of myself than I thought I would be.

Yes, my boobs and I have provided my son’s food for a year—and that’s beyond amazing to me. But, breastfeeding and pumping also did a lot more for me.

It gave me strength.

Through all the obstacles I had with breastfeeding, I got stronger.

I could have stopped at any point and no one in my family would have judged me. In fact, there were times in my journey when loved ones encouraged me to stop (not because they wanted to sabotage me but because they wanted me to stop agonizing).

But I didn’t stop. I got stronger.

I kept going. Through mastitis, through traveling for work, through Grant discovering his teeth, through overproduction woes, I unhooked my nursing bra or strapped on my pumping bra—which for the record deserves a spot in a Smithsonian Museum—and I expressed liquid gold.

With every “wraw, wraw…wraw, wraw” I got stronger—mentally, emotionally. And heck for as much as I lugged my pump around I have to assume I got physically stronger, too.

So, no I am not a “new” breastfeeding mom. I’m a strong breastfeeding mom who is just around the corner from becoming ONLY a strong mom.

Because ladies, gents and boobs I’m down to only two pumps a day with a plan to go down to zero within the month! (But I digress.)

Now, I know not all moms are able to reach their breastfeeding goals or experience the “joys” of breastfeeding for themselves. I’m grateful I was able to do so while sharing my story, my struggles, my missteps, the good, the bad and the really ugly.

I hope through all of this I have at the very least put a smile on one mama’s face. I hope something I said encouraged a breastfeeding mom to push through for at least one more pump. I hope that moms, moms-to-be and women who one day may become moms now know they’re not alone in their struggles. And I really, really hope one day Grant reads his mom’s writings and that he is proud of her and her commitment to providing him with the very best nourishment she could.

 

To read more posts from Joy and to follow along her breastfeeding journey, click here.