Day Five | Crystal's Journey | A Colorado Extended Breastfeeding Story
When Tobi was born, I thought that I would nurse until three months. It seemed like a good goal that we could actually make it to. With little to no breastfeeding support around me, making a longer goal didn’t seem like a good idea. Once we made that goal, we kept on going. It had become a natural part of our daily schedule and seemed so much easier than it was in the beginning. By the time he turned one, we had breastfeeding figured out. And then once he turned two it seemed like a no brainer.
Part of why our beginning was so rough is because I was so self-conscious about nursing. See no one I was around at the time really breastfed and so all of the advice I was being given was how to dry up my milk as fast as possible and what kinds of formula were better than others. Even my own family and Tobi’s father watching me made me squirm inside. I had to get used to the idea of being a mom and my body not exactly being my own anymore. I used cover ups, hid in corners, retreated to my car to feed him, basically anything for strangers not to see my nipples.
What helped me get more comfortable with breastfeeding in public was baby wearing. This way he was next to my heart and chest and no one could see what’s going on. This was especially great for grocery shopping. I practiced at home, doing household chores and became comfortable with the positions. I used a ring sling until he became too heavy. Then, I used a Mai-Tei sash style that kept him facing me and we were successful with that.
My advice is to give it time. It takes a while to become acclimated to mom life so don't be hard on yourself or feel silly for feeling a little insecure. Even the crunchiest moms go through that stage, no matter if they will admit it or not.
Tobi has definitely taken control of our breastfeeding journey at this point. He has taken ownership of the boobs and even calls them “my boobies.” It would have been a lot easier to wean him before he turned one because now he is a lot more attached to the whole experience and not just the milk.
He has always been a big boy, and currently he is in the 97th percentile for height and weight. To say it causes some challenges would be an understatement. He even still loves being rocked and held like a baby which is not always simple or comfortable to do. Thankfully, he is tall enough that he can sit on my lap and latch so I don’t need to prop him up in any way but then he tries to latch when I am standing up and holding him. That is quite the back breaker.
At this point, I know that he is using nursing as more of a soothing tool, but honestly that is okay with me. I love the snuggle time and the bond it has helped me create with him. His father has definitely been against my continued breastfeeding since he turned one. I think a lot of that is from the jealousy of our snuggly bonding time together. We argue about it pretty frequently but I always tell him that it is Tobi’s decision.
I know it isn’t really his choice but I am not just going to take it from him without a good reason. I do tell him that when Tobi is older, he can have fun embarrassing him with how long he nursed. It is a bit funny though because if Tobi is cranky or has a “boo boo” he will be the first to tell me just to give him the boob. So, I guess it is a two-way street.
There are several things I can say are not going to missed. The persistence he has of needing to have the boob “right now.” Honestly, I miss my nipples looking normal. I know they will go back to normal when I am finally finished nursing but I miss them. And all the clothes that I cannot wear because they are not breastfeeding friendly. Sure, there are lots of cute things that are but so much of what I want to wear is not. But truthfully, I do still love it. Even on the hard days. The comfort it gives him is enough for me to know I am still doing the right thing for us.
My advice for new moms is to have patience and not give up. I thought it was going to be magical right from the beginning and just work with an abundant supply – but I was wrong. Milk takes days to come in. Although it is one of the most natural things your body can and will do, it is still a lot of work and commitment. But the partnership, the bond, between you and your baby working together is usually worth it. You both earn nourishment and love from each other.
Share your thoughts on breastfeeding and give this mama some kind encouragement in the comments below. Be sure to follow along with the other stories being shared this month. If you are interested in sharing your story, contact me and we will start to plan the perfect session to celebrate your journey.