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Breastfeeding has been one of the most incredible journeys I have been on with my kids. It has been such a blessing to be able to nurture them solely with my breast milk. I will tell you that it has not always been easy, but it has been well worth it. I wanted to give up a few times with my first child for selfish reasons, but I stayed committed and encourage all moms to do the same for at least one year.
I know for myself, I wanted to stop after the second day I nursed my first, because I had a few blisters and didn't feel comfortable with any of the 'holds' for nursing. A few weeks in to nursing I wanted to give up again because I hated leaking everywhere and I didn't want to deal with having tender breasts anymore. Then months later I wanted to give up, because I was tired of running in to the fitting rooms to feed my daughter while I was out shopping. I was also concerned about my milk supply multiple times throughout nursing, because my daughter would eat so fast and I didn't think she was getting enough nutrients. I especially thought my daughter wasn't getting enough milk after I pumped and was only able to extract 2 ounces of milk with my breast pump.
I was so concerned and worried about my first not getting the nutrients she needed and that is when I decided to do some research and trust her growth chart. I found out that breast pumps can not extract the same amount of milk from your breasts and they can actually cause your ducts to become clogged. When nursing, you need the relief of your child's jaw movement to engage all of the ducts to release your supply of milk. I also found out that our children get all of their nutrients during the first couple of minutes of feeding, so that was no longer a worry for me either.
As for running in to fitting rooms to feed my daughter, I got over the embarrassment of 'hogging' a room when she was about 6 months old. I was sitting in a fitting room and nursing her when I looked down at an old picture of her on my phone. The developmental difference was incredible and I was overwhelmed with joy; I was her source of nourishment. I was so full of thanksgiving and overcome with happiness that I made a promise to continue to make it to one year nursing.
In regards to the leaking, I switched from nursing pads to cheap non-scented diapers to catch my leaking milk. I am fortunate enough to have a large supply of milk, but it really irritated me at times because I would become so engorged soon after feeding. I couldn't find shirts to fit my new bust size or bras that could accommodate my 'resourceful' nursing pads. I had to get used to wearing nursing sports bras on the daily because it was the only things that would hide the diaper.
Sometimes you just have to let go of your own selfish desires to give your children the best life possible and for me, that was giving up on all above statements in order to breastfeed my first for a year and I plan to do the same with my son.
Nursing for a second time has been so much easier and everything just comes naturally for me this time around. I am able to trust my instincts so much more and not second guess myself. I like it so much more this time because I now know what to expect and how to adjust to the changes. Please feel free to comment or email me with any questions you may have.