(When I thought about what I wanted to share, I realized I have so much to say. I have had such an incredible journey with not only good, but bad times as well. I'd like to split this up into several posts throughout the entire week.)
For the first day, I'd like to write about breastfeeding support. World breastfeeding week helps bring attention to the support a mother needs throughout her breastfeeding journey. I'd like to start by saying I never consciously chose to breastfeed my son. I never really saw anyone breastfeed their child, except maybe once when I was younger I vaguely remember my mom nursing my sister. (She nursed for a few months before running into complications.) However, I didn't think there was any other way I would feed my child. I guess I just figured there was no other way, besides breastfeeding. Without support, it's easy to get overwhelmed and turn to finding an alternate way to feed your baby.
From personal experience, I know that support is one of the most important parts of breastfeeding. Without the support of my husband, I might have actually given up on breastfeeding. I'm not going to sugar coat it and tell you that breastfeeding is the easiest thing I've ever done. In the beginning it hurt, it hurt so bad that I would curl my toes when my son latched. My nipples were sore, cracked and at one point bleeding. It wasn't only painful, it was hard. After we came home from the hospital we were on our own. There was no one there to help me make sure I found a comfortable way for not just my baby to nurse but for me to be comfortable as well. I also had so much milk, I remember waking up one night drenched in my breast milk. My milk basically shot out of my boobs even before my son latched on. I remember one night he woke up to nurse, we were both so tired still. I scooped him up and brought him to bed so we could rest while he nursed. (I kept him in a bassinet beside our bed to make nursing at night easier!) For whatever reason I just could not get the right position for him to nurse in and my milk was coming out way too quickly for him to keep up. He kept choking on my milk every single time he latched on. My heart broke over and over each time I had to unlatch him and pat his back to make sure he was alright. I remember laying there with a crying newborn and crying myself because I didn't know what I was doing. My dear sweet husband woke up and tried to calm the two of us down. He even got out of bed to search on Google for good nursing positions and found one that actually worked for us. I believe it was something about me laying down so that my son had to work against gravity to get my milk out. It worked so well, we were all able to get some sleep. This, my friends, is the greatest support a nursing mother could have. Not only was he willing to get up out of bed to help me figure out a nursing position, he always made sure I had water to drink while I was nursing. (If you're a nursing mama, you know just how important it is to drink water, even while you're nursing.) I'm not sure I would have made it to two years of nursing without the encouragement and support from my husband. So here's to you, Craig. Thank you for being the most supportive person through my breastfeeding journey. It hasn't been easy and I'm sure you can't count the number of times I've complained about my boobs hurting because I had too much milk in them.
My hope is that every mother (whether it's your husband, boyfriend, partner... whomever) has the best support system there for her when she's struggling with her breastfeeding journey. Even if she's not struggling, she deserves someone there to cheer her on and to let her know that she is giving her baby such an amazing gift. It's amazing what one simple comment can do for a nursing mother. The encouraging words of love and support will pick me up on even the very worst days.
What is/was your support system like? Are you currently struggling, but feel that you don't have someone to support you in your journey? Leave a comment and I will offer words of love and support and help in any way I possibly can. You are not alone, mamas.
Don't forget to check back each day to see a new topic on breastfeeding!
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