Breastfeeding: Do We Really Enjoy It?

About 3 weeks ago I thought I had this great idea to compile inspirational breastfeeding stories and create a book to inspire women around the world. Well, hard fact of life is that most women I know don't have awesome experiences with breastfeeding. Even if they breastfeed for 6 months plus, they may not feel like champions or feel like they can help inspire others. I don't have a book worth of stories, but I want to share the stories of women who might also inspire you. 

My Story

I fed my first son for 1 year and although I did a good job and didn't have major issues, I wouldn't call myself an inspiration. Maybe that's why I've been searching for some inspiration.  I'm in the middle of breastfeeding baby two who is now 6 months old. I'm half way there and feel like I'm in the middle of a marathon and just hit the half way point.  I think to myself, "Many people just finished the half marathon and I am only half way to my goal." No one says to a half marathoner, "What??? Only a half marathon?" I'm pretty sure no one says that to women who breastfeed for any length of time. We usually pat everyone on the back and say, "way to go!" Breastfeeding like a marathon is a total mental game for me. I want my body back all to myself. I'm tired of my distracted baby who only wants to eat in a quiet room all by herself (not possible with a toddler running around). I'm going to finish, but I'm not loving it at this point. 

Side Note: Just for the record I have done a marathon, although you'd never guess looking at me in my current state of disrepair. 

So I'm sharing inspiring stories that others shared with me because it's what I need to hear as I strap on my nursing bra for the next 6 months. Some may say, just stop if you're not loving it, but I'm not going to stop at this point. I will succeed and provide her awesome nutrition until she no longer needs it (for me that means 1 year). Hopefully there is someone else out there who needs a little inspiration and boost to make it over their breastfeeding hump.

Julie's Story

Julie shared her inspiring breastfeeding journey with me. She had a baby in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) with GI issues. Her baby was fed through an IV for 33 days, yet she was still able to breastfeed her baby up to 11+months. As a Pediatric Dietitian, I've worked with babies in the NICU and post-NICU and know how hard it is to get them to start breastfeeding.

Julie's helpful tips:

  • Stick with it even though it's hard at first.
  • Educate yourself beforehand.
  • Don't be afraid to use a nipple shield when it hurts.
  • Persevere--it does get easier. 

Notice that Julie says twice to keep going, stick with it, persevere. That's helpful advise for all of us to remember for any challenges in our life. This is such an inspiring story of perseverance against all odds. Way to go Julie. Thanks for sharing your story. 

Dana's Story

Dana's story is probably similar to my own. She didn't have any major obstacles to overcome but she reminded me about the development of trust that occurs during breastfeeding. She chose to breastfeed to give her baby the most natural nutrition possible, and provide a nurturing, connected, trusting relationship that comes with breastfeeding.  She said, "Breastfeeding allowed me to start off right by developing a trusting relationship with my daughter. Since breastfeeding doesn't allow you to see how much you baby is taking, it allowed me to trust her right from the beginning. We went on to continue to have a trusting relationship with food even at 5 years old!" She's still reaping the benefits of the trust she built from day one. That's definitely good to hear that the benefits aren't temporary and can be emotional as well as physical.

Dana's helpful tips:

  • Trust your baby from day one
  • Do it! Even if you aren't sure if it's for you at least give it a try.
  • The nutritional benefits are great even if you nurse for 1 day or 1 feeding.

I definitely needed to hear this because between 6 months and 1 year are the hardest months for me. I never know if my baby is getting enough solids or breastmilk. The guessing game can be stressful at times, especially when I want her to eat enough to grow and to sleep through the night. Thanks Dana for sharing your helpful tips and reminding all of us to trust our babies with food. Dana can be found at http://nutrition4family.com/blog/

If you're needing more inspiration or trying to decide if breastfeeding is for you, check out these 100 inspiring stories that I found. http://www.mothering.com/articles/100-inspiring-breastfeeding-stories-from-our-blog-about-breastfeeding-event/


Action Items

  • What experiences did you have breastfeeding?
  • What helped you get you through tough days?
  • What benefits did you experience from breastfeeding?