It’s only fair to talk about my own experience now. I was quite reluctant to do so. I’m afraid that I’m one of those moms who had it easy. You see, I’ve been nursing my toddler for more than two years. However, I don’t have to report any major issue. No mastitis, no engorged breasts, no back pain. I feel a bit touched out sometimes but it’s far from breastfeeding aversion (See Saturday’s post to learn about aversion). Then, I thought of birth and how reading positive and realistic birth stories helped me. So, there it goes, my breastfeeding story.
I have never dreamt of being a mother. I didn’t give too much thought to the future. Growing up I only played with baby dolls because the other girls did so. When I met my husband and we moved in together, something changed inside of me. I became quite nurturing. First a dog. Then, a cat. Another kitty who didn’t make it. A cat. And finally, we decided to have a baby. This process of rescuing animals coincided with my discovery of nutrition. I started reading all popular books about nutrition. Some of them talked about the benefits of breastfeeding. I thought that if the day came, I would give it a try.
We got pregnant quite soon. Being the book-worm that I am, I read ALL the books. I learned about breast milk, mastitis, nipples, different breastfeeding positions, common misconceptions…I committed myself to breastfeed my baby for the first year (exclusively until 6 months all). It wasn’t an imposed goal. It was more of a desire. I would breastfeed for as long as I could, and the baby wanted.
The other thing I learned through my reading is how important is to breastfeed in public. In fact, I think I only saw one woman breastfeeding her baby in my life (thanks random mom at the supermarket). If I was to do it, I wanted to breastfeed unapologetically. I wouldn’t go to another room. I wouldn’t stop going to a cafe. This doesn’t mean that I wanted to be the poster girl for breastfeeding. I just wanted the best for my baby. I would be happy to be answer any questions or looks from strangers. But I wouldn’t be saying other moms, or future moms, what to do with their bodies.
I have to say that I’m happy with all the research I made. Unfortunately, not all medical professionals are very educated when it comes to breastfeeding. Just after giving birth, one nurse told me that I wouldn’t be able to breastfeed because my nipples weren’t out. I think I rolled my eyes. Thank God for the midwife who quickly stepped out and helped us with the latch and suggested to use a nipple cover for the first few days.
My baby, now a toddler, is a big breastfeeder. He loves to nurse. I’m sure that he is more on the boob even now that some new-borns. We still breastfeed on demand. When he was just born, this meant ALL THE TIME. Then, it was like every hour, then every two hours… Now we have three or four big feeds through the day, along with some mini feeds for comfort.
I mentioned before that I was very fortunate as I didn’t experience any issues, no pain, no infection. I was also lucky to be able to work from home. I’m aware that this is a great advantage. In Spain, maternity leave is about three months. You can add your holidays from the previous and current year and extend them to six months. Many mothers go back to work when the baby is a month and half. This makes breastfeeding harder (not impossible! I don’t want to discourage you). As I said I was lucky to work from home. My baby on the boob, me typing on the computer. I don’t know if I would have been able to do this for so long if this wasn’t’ the case. Now, I don’t work. This makes it even easier to keep nursing.
I know I’m privileged and I want to acknowledge, because this is the main reason why some many women stop breastfeeding: lack of information and support combined with impossible work hours.
What was your experience with breastfeeding?