I was thinking about breastfeeding yesterday. I was remembering how naïve I was, how hard it was and how no one talked about the struggle until I was in the trenches. I come from a long line of breastfeeding women so all I had seen my whole life is what looked like effortless nursing. I assumed I would instinctively know how and everyone said my baby would “just know”. So when it didn’t come naturally I thought something was wrong with us, with me. Where was this “beautiful” breastfeeding experience I was expecting? The guilt was nearly as bad as the pain.
I had seen one family member in pain when nursing, but for her, it lasted two weeks. So I thought I could stick it out for two weeks. But guess what, at the two week mark it was just as bad as the first day, only worse. Much worse. My determination carried us through, I guess sometimes being
stubborn strong willed pays off. I still find comfort in knowing it doesn’t come naturally for all mothers or babies. As I talk with other women and hear all the different stories and experiences, I understand more and more how different it is for everyone. So here’s my truth.
The truth is, my son was injured in birth and we had a rough start. We saw a pediatrician, had a pediatric ENT perform a tongue tie procedure, had lactation consulting, advice from an amazing midwife and finally treatment from an infant craniosacral therapist. My daughter started off feeding perfectly and we still struggled, just from different issues.
The truth is, so far I have nursed two babies for a total of a two and a half years. I nursed through poor latch, low milk supply, over 12 weeks of thrush, engorgement, clogged ducts, milk blisters and 2 rounds of mastitis. This is what successful breastfeeding looked like for me. The truth is it did end up being beautiful. Nursing my babies was one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life. But that was for us, it’s not for everyone.
Every mother is just doing her very best and that is enough.
If I could have changed one thing about our breastfeeding process, it would have been to be kinder to myself. The truth is, it does not come naturally to every one and that is okay.
*For those of you visiting from Five Minute Fridays, I linked up and realized the prompt today is #trust not #truth… I may have been up all night with sick little humans. I guess I’m doing my own thing today! Such is life, happy Friday!