Tales of a Breastfeeding Mama

It’s World Breastfeeding Week! In honor of celebrating that, I thought I would share a little about my journey with breastfeeding.

Oh, and remember in my last post, how I talked about getting family photos for my birthday present?! Well, these gorgeous photos I have here today are from that session by the amazing Miss May Photography!

Tales of a Breastfeeding MAMA

When I found out that I was pregnant (surprise! Ha!) I had a thousand questions running through my mind. I wanted the best doctor, the best hospital, the best prenatal vitamins, and the best maternity clothes (ha! Priorities, right?). I researched all there is to know about labor (I even attended two different classes on that). I read every single article on Pinterest and read every book about breastfeeding and my husband and I both attended the class on breastfeeding that our hospital provided.
They had us practice different holds with the dolls they provided and I was sure to practice at home as the time drew closer. I remember discussing with my husband that I expected it to be difficult but that my goal was to nurse our son for 3 months! I took my book about creating a schedule and highlighted and bookmarked everything I wanted to remember and kept it on my coffee table.

Then I had my son!

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The best part about giving birth in a baby-centered hospital is they immediately placed him on me and within about 5 minutes had me nurse him for the first time. I honestly had no idea what I was doing and was so thankful that my favorite lactation consultant (she taught the labor classes we attended so we already knew and loved her!) was there to help me with our first latch. He immediately latched without a single problem and I smiled and cried while looking from him to my husband. I thought since things went so well, that I could just throw out all my fears that I had with nursing.

After I was wheeled to the postpartum recovery room, some time passed and I was reminded that I needed to nurse him again. I confidently grabbed him from his little bassinet and went through the same steps we did in the delivery room, but he wouldn’t latch. I smiled at my husband and said I would try again. So I did, and he still wouldn’t latch. I paged my nurse to send the lactation consultant again, and she came in and helped me get him to latch. Over the course of my stay, I had her come in EVERY single time I needed to nurse him so she could help me. I knew that as soon as we went home I would be all on my own, so I wanted to get as much one on one time with the lactation consultant at the hospital as possible.

Then we went home...

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The first time I tried to nurse him, I remember it took over 30 minutes just to get him to latch. I sat and cried the whole time. Then when he finally did latch, I sat and cried the entire time he nursed because I was in so much pain. I was extremely upset because everyone at the breastfeeding classes always said if it hurts then you are doing it wrong. Well, EVERYTHING I did hurt. I had read somewhere that about 5 minutes for each side should be enough time for your baby to get enough milk to be full. (This was extremely wrong for my son because he was the world’s SLOWEST eater. At that age, he would take about an hour to nurse…every..single…time…)

A week after he was born, I had a meeting with a lactation consultant that our hospital set up for me before we even left the hospital. I didn’t want to call anyone before that because I did not want to bother anyone with my questions (PLEASE do not hesitate to call for help if you need it, mamas!). We finally got to my appointment and the lady watched me struggle to get my son to nurse. She was such a great help and really improved how I got him to latch for the rest of our newborn journey! However, I told her that I was in extreme pain pretty much all the time at that point. She checked everything out and told me that because I was basically raw and needed to heal, that it would be painful until I healed.

So I bought every sort of cream and cooling pad to help heal me, but it did not go away for months. I would constantly text my other nursing mama friends to ask them about 1000 questions, and I can honestly say that without their support (and my awesome husband!) that I would never have even hit my “nursing for 3 months” goal!

I can’t stress the importance of having a good support system if you desire to nurse your baby! And to actually use them! I’m so frustrated with myself that I felt like I would be bothering anyone if I called them with a question.

Well, we finally made it to the three-month mark!

Tales Of A Breastfeeding Mama

Everyone told me that once I got to three months it would be less painful (as in, I wouldn’t cringe anytime anything even brushed up against me!) and that things would be a lot easier from then on. They were wrong. I struggled and struggled for about 2 more months after that. I was so tempted to quit, but my husband kindly reminded me that I could do it as he poured me a glass of water and made me a snack (he also reminded me how expensive formula is and that breast milk was free ;) )

Finally around 5 and a half months, things began to improve. I honestly think this is because I removed the book that I had bookmarked and highlighted about scheduling your baby and your nursing sessions from my coffee table. I began nursing my son whenever he began showing signs of hunger and I ignored the clock. I began nursing him to sleep instead of fighting him to get him to take a nap. And I felt so much more comfortable with him after this. I was no longer fighting what felt natural to me. I followed what my gut was telling me to do for him and ignored the books and the articles and the family and friends that were telling me to do otherwise.

And now here we are. My son is 17 months old as of today, and I am still nursing him. That is something I NEVER dreamed I would be doing a year ago. You want to know how I have been successful with my breastfeeding journey? I stopped listening to what others were telling me and I started doing what I felt was best for my son and I.

And I have never looked back!

So this week, we celebrate you, mama! No matter how long you have breastfed your baby (one day, one month, one year, or more!)

with love,

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  1. Thank you for sharing your story! It was the same for was the most painful when my daughter was around 2 or 3 months old! Breastfeeding is such hard work but it really does get easier and it's such a special bond. Good for you for sticking with it!

  2. Justine @ Little DoveAugust 2, 2016 at 7:27 AM

    Thanks for sharing your story momma! Breastfeeding is so wonderful for your child and such a great bonding experience, but I think too often people aren't honest enough about how hard it can be. I don't think there is a black or white, wrong or right when it comes to breastfeeding. My son was NOT interested his first couple days of life, he was just way more interested in sleeping! People had me so stressed about "failure to thrive", which I know can be a real concern, but I knew in my gut he was fine, just sleepy from going through the ordeal of being born, lol.

  3. It is hard work, but it is so worth it! Thank you for taking the time to read my story :)

  4. Yes, I had the same issue! The nurses kept telling me to wake him so I could nurse him, but we had just gone through a 25 hour labor, so I knew he just needed some extra rest. It's so important that we do follow our gut as mamas! :)

  5. Thanks for sharing your breastfeeding journey! So happy it all worked out!

  6. Thanks for sharing your story. I am so thankful to have nursed both babies for as long as I did, 13 months / 11 months... it's such a roller coaster ride!

  7. I love these photos! Breastfeeding was one of my favorite parts of motherhood - thank you for sharing your story <3

  8. Beautiful photos! We are also 17+ months in and it's been an amazing journey! I'm so glad you stuck with it and didn't give up when it was hard. It's such an incredible bond.

  9. Haha, that is such a perfect description for it! :)

  10. Thank you! I am so happy that we were able to take them! That is so awesome to hear, especially since it was so difficult, I love hearing that it was one of your favorites. It reminds me that even though it is hard at times, it is totally worth it!

  11. Thank you, Kerry! Congratulations to you as well! It definitely isn't easy to nurse a toddler either, haha! :)