Day Three | Confidence in Herself
“I never considered not breastfeeding. It was the way I saw my siblings and cousins eat when I was a child, so it seemed like the normal thing to do” Ann admitted. As she nursed through her four kiddos and becoming a certified doula and parenting coach, she has definitely grown in her confidence in her decisions and ability to breastfeed and parent in the most authentic way possible.
“For me, the first baby was really hard, and I have seen this often with my clients as well. I thought it would be so instinctive and natural; it seemed that way when other people did it! But it was NOT natural at all for me.”
“I had to denude myself and have a mental pep talk before every single feeding with my oldest and it was not until several months into his life that it seemed 'easy'.”
“Milk was spraying everywhere, my boobs felt like concrete and hurt like hell, and my baby felt like he was fighting me every time we nursed! Of course, now, in retrospect and with my experience and knowledge as a birth worker, I know all the little things I was doing that over-complicated things and it could have been so much easier! But in the moment, it was really awful.”
Now, she is glad that she continued on and worked to find the ease in her breastfeeding relationship with her first child. With each child after, she was equipped with more tools and knowledge to have an easier start. Although each child and nursing relationship is different, a lot of the same tools and resources can be used to have a more relaxed and positive beginning, which allowed for a more pleasant experience altogether.
She does admit that “it is hard to sit still and pace yourself to a baby sometimes. And when they are young it is challenging to get out on your own without the baby.” It can be very draining, especially in the beginning.
Now that she has learned how to maintain a positive breastfeeding relationship and still have personal boundaries between her and her children, she is happy to breastfeed. “The worst thing is that you can't wear dresses and you get milk stains on your favorite shirts!”
“[I love that nursing] forces me to sit still and relax, whether I like it or not! Also, the entire breastfeeding dyad is miraculous. I think it's pretty amazing how nature has perfectly designed a symbiotic system that is perfectly attuned to the needs of both participants, whether it's from a postpartum recover aspect, autoimmune aspect, psychological, emotional, energetic, or whatever!”
Ann also sees breastfeeding a true gift between mother and child as you have more children. She believes that breastfeeding helps to “preserve the 1-on-1 time that could easily get lost in the shuffle when you have older siblings all around.”
“I never have a plan for how long I am going to nurse. I feel that as long as it is a positive dynamic for both participants, there is no set time to wean. [Even as I am nursing my four-year-old in these photos], I am not in a rush to do it, but I'm also not sad about it. My kids tend to naturally wean when it's right for both of us.”
Her advice to other mamas is to “nurture yourself and your breastfeeding relationship. Toddlers are smart and wonderful and the same self-respect and empathetic boundaries we learn to enforce around their behavior apply to breastfeeding too. If you get that [aspect] down, you can have an incredible time breastfeeding without feeling depleted or tired of it.”
“In my personal and professional experience, many nursing challenges could be solved (or even prevented) by encouraging anthropologic, or laid-back breastfeeding. Educate yourself and think critically about the advice you are getting and its source. And have a support system in place in case you have challenges. Otherwise, just spend time skin-to-skin and let nature take its course!”
Ann is a certifies parenting coach, doula and childbirth educator. She helps her clients through their challenges through online resources and personalized one on one coaching online and in an app. From personal experience, having her to go to when anything pops up or is emotionally challenging was super helpful. She is a wonderful spirit and was just the kick in the pants I needed to get closer to being the mom I wanted to be before I had children. You can find more about her business, Mom-Me Experience here.
Leave this beautiful mama a comment below. If you would like to share your story or have private images with you and your nursling contact me today for current information. I can’t wait to meet you.