Notes from a New Breastfeeding Mom: Part 6

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 Just Pumping Away the Fear…Kinda.

 

Nothing is Stopping This Milk-filled Lady

Six months. Six whole months. I can not believe it.  It’s been six—often long but mostly short—months since that snowy December night.

That night was the night I breastfed for the first time.

It was not only the happiest, but scariest day of my life. Suddenly I was handed my newborn son Grant and was expected to feed him—with my breasts.

I didn’t know what to do. My boobs didn’t know what to do. I was beyond overwhelmed.

But now, 26 weeks and a lot of trial and error later, I’ve got a pretty good handle on this whole breastfeeding-pumping thing.

So I’m going to take a moment and celebrate my six months of nursing, pumping, bottle washing, pump cleaning, duct unclogging, deep tissue massaging, vitamin popping, boobs leaking, nursing bra fitting and everything else that goes along with providing breast milk for my son.

I would pop open an alcoholic celebratory drink…but I’m not drinking yet because…well…I’m breastfeeding.

(Yes, I know that one can indulge in an adult beverage and still safely nurse. However, at this point in my life the idea of taking care of a six-month old with even half of a buzz is way, way too much for me to handle.)

As I was saying, it’s been six months and a lot has happened. And while that sound the breast pump makes every time it sucks my nipple into the flanges will forever be burnt into my mind, I don’t mind pumping.

Now, I don’t love it—but I also don’t mind it as much as I did.

In the beginning, I set the goal of breastfeeding Grant until he turned one. It was a lofty goal for me. One I didn’t think I’d actually accomplish. I truly thought I’d be jonesing to quit by now. But in fact, the opposite has happened.

Shortly after Grant started daycare, I started to nurse him more than bottle feed him.

It was like the act of bringing him to daycare and having others care for my son changed something inside me. My assumption is that some kind of insecure motherly voice kicked in and said something like, “Hey lady, these women can care for your son just like you can—and they may even be doing a better job than you are.”

Which in return made me want to share something with Grant that no one else could.

If you think about it, anyone can change his diaper. Anyone can feed him a bottle, play with him, make him laugh—but only I can breastfeed him.

So in quiet moments, instead of heating up a bottle, I offered him my breast. It was and still is Grant-mommy time. It’s our chance to connect—to escape from the world and just bond.

Then, around the time he was four months, Grant’s teacher mentioned to me that he was the only baby in daycare still getting breast milk. While all five of his classmates are the same age—give or take a week—I was the only mom who was still able to produce.

This not only frightened me, but it made me realize that being able to nurse him was a privilege many moms don’t have.

It gave me the extra bump I needed to power through and continue pumping five times a day. It encouraged me to continue to have those moments with Grant at 1 a.m. Now if he wants to move that 1 a.m. feeding to say 6 a.m., I’d be okay with that too. But you get my point.

Breastfeeding isn’t something one should take advantage of. It can and will go away—sometimes with little warning.

So while I can, I’m going to pump. I’m going to add to my collection of over 500 bags of milk.

I’m going to nurse him—even when it feels like he’s stretching my nipple all the way across the room.

I’m going to do everything I can in hopes of providing Grant with my milk until his first birthday.

Right now, I don’t see anything standing in the way of my goal—not even those two very sharp teeth.

 

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