Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Breastfeeding Journey

I didn't think we were going to make it past one week, let alone six months. Breastfeeding for six months was the initial goal when Benjamin was born, goal which quickly turned into "let's make it one more week" (some days the goal was "let's make it to tomorrow"), until we hit about the eight week mark when both Benjamin and I finally got the hang of it.

Breastfeeding was not easy for us. It was very challenging, both emotionally and physically draining. I don't think my determination and perseverance have ever been tried as they were during the first few weeks of this journey. I am ever so grateful for my coaches which ranged from co-workers to long time friends to the lactation consultants and the great ladies from La Leche League. I remember during those first weeks reaching out to everyone that had experienced breastfeeding in some shape, way or form. I spoke with folks that never were able to feed their babies breast milk and went straight to formula. I spoke with folks that their babies never latched and they pumped exclusively. I spoke with folks that had model babies and never had an issue. All of these conversations and sharing helped me overcome the difficulties I was experiencing. Each lady I spoke with helped me understand a different aspect and helped me realize that I would not be a better or worse mother regardless of the feeding path we ended up taking.

I am so grateful that we were able to overcome the lip and tongue tie, the thrush, the mastitis and the couple of plugged ducts. I am so grateful that I was able pump when I went back to work in spite of my crazy and long days.

Now at six months, we are still going strong (well, I guess it is more like two fifths (2/5) strong) with him nursing only in the morning and at night. We have made the move to formula during the day and he had no issues with it (mainly because he likes to eat everything in sight).

So for all you moms to be out there: although breastfeeding is nature's law, it can be very challenging. Be open to this possibility.

For all you new moms experiencing a difficult start to breastfeeding: reach out, reach out, reach out if you need help. Don't do it alone. Get a support system of women with different experiences. Talking to them will help guide you on your path. Read, read, read and learn, learn, learn. Both La Leche Leauge and KellyMom were my crutches. And most importantly, take it one feeding at a time.

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