Because despite the struggles, pain, discomfort, annoyance, comments from others, and general frowning upon looks by some, I have managed to single-handedly provide for them as babies and ensure their growing and nurture, by myself, using my natural ability to care for them using my breasts. (Yes, yes, daddy has helped with other things).
It is World Breastfeeding Week (1-7 August), and I thought I’d write a short post on what this has meant to me, so far, and to thank those that have helped me get where we are today.
I was fortunate enough to breastfeed Bunny up to 16 months, at which point he then weaned himself. I was so heartsore. We had a very bumpy ride at first, but we made it and once we got used to each other, feeding him and nursing him to sleep was effortless. Don’t get me wrong. It was a few weeks of intense pain, cracked and bleeding nipples, and the often onset of thrush. I had the most amazing LLL leader that would be available at all hours of the day, helping me through it, giving me advice, supporting me, or just being there to tell me it was okay to feel the way I was. I remember grinding on my teeth when Bunny latched due to the extreme pain at some point in time. I even broke my one cell phone cause I bit it so hard. But we tackled each obstacle one by one and after a few weeks, we had the best breastfeeding journey ever.
Now with Monkey, we’ve just hit exactly 17 months of breastfeeding. This time it has been just as hard, yet different. What Bunny and I had not experienced, Monkey and I were going through. Wrong latch, severe mastitis (twice), a bubble palate and overall discomfort. It has been a very different experience and one we still struggle with regularly due to the palate. One that I will admit, I don’t enjoy nearly as much as what I did with Bunny. But regardless of my struggles, it is still one that we’re not giving up on and one that I will be heartbroken when it does come to an end. Like last night when he fell asleep in the car on the way home and didn’t nurse when we got him into bed.
For me, breastfeeding is just the natural way and thing to do. I have no clue about formulas. I couldn’t even tell you what is available. For me, it is those few minutes, and sometimes hours where it is just you and your little one. Where it is only you that can do the consoling or the making asleep. It is those memories that I will forever hold dear to me and which I will miss greatly once our journey ends.
I could not have done this and gotten so far if it wasn’t for my LLL leader N.M; my midwife KvdM; my doula L.B; my friend S.B; the mommy Facebook forums and all the advice and tips given on there; and then of course Mr. Bear for sitting up at night with me, while the tears roll down my face as we take on another struggle in the beginning, or him making sure I have enough chocolate to get me through the next day.
I know we are getting closer to the end. And I am treasuring these stolen moments more and more. I don’t want it to end just yet.
Click here for more info on the Art of breastfeeding.