When I had my first child, I knew I wanted to breastfeed. My mom successfully breastfed me and told me how much she treasured those memories and the closeness she developed with me by breastfeeding. Plus, with the numerous advantages of breastfeeding, I knew this was how I wanted to proceed. While pregnant, I attended two classes about breastfeeding through a local hospital – one that was entitled “Breastfeeding 101” which mostly focused on why you should breastfeed.
After my first baby was born, I kept missing the lactation consultant to confirm that I was doing everything correctly. One of the nurses told me I looked like a natural and I was pretty confident. I took the classes so I knew what I was doing, right? Well, I guess not….after a few days of having my baby at home, my breasts were sore, cracked and bleeding, which really terrified me. I was a wreck and thought about giving up, but my stubborn streak kicked in and I decided that nothing was going to stop me. I visited the lactation consultant through my pediatrician’s office and had them help me perfect the latch and recognize if it wasn’t feeling right and if so, to readjust. Unfortunately, the process wasn’t easy. I did contract mastitis a couple of times, which is extremely painful, and seemed to experience unlimited clogged ducts. But I persevered and I’m so glad I did!
I’ve successfully breastfed each of my babies (currently breastfeeding baby #3). Not only have I provided each of my children with the benefits of breastfeeding, but I have witnessed the benefits as well. Breastfeeding proved to be a relaxing and beautiful bonding time with each of my babies and was a big help in losing baby weight. In addition, I never have to worry about remembering to bring formula and bottles while out and about, and breastfeeding is so cost efficient! With my first daughter, I had a goal of breastfeeding for at least 12 months. I made it to 15 months when my baby decided to wean herself. With my son, I breastfeed for 18 months and then decided to wean him and I plan on doing the same with my third child. Even though I had a tough start with breastfeeding, I’ve learned a lot and am a huge advocate for breastfeeding.
I understand that breastfeeding doesn’t work for everyone and that’s fine, but I do want to encourage those that have the desire to breastfeed to stick with it. Even if you’re only able to do it for a short time, the benefits of breastfeeding are still advantageous. If you decide to give it a go and face challenges, reach out to those that can help you like a lactation consultant, your hospital or a group like the La Leche League.