What 12 Months of Breastfeeding Has Taught Me

Breastfeeding is beautiful.

It’s beautiful to nourish your baby with nutrients that will help them grow. In addition, breastfeeding is a nice practice in that it forces us as moms to slow down and be in the moment with our babies. In order to maintain supply and comfort, it’s crucial to keep up the habit on a steady schedule, which is usually determined by baby, and it’s during these moments that I got to put my feet up and withdraw from everything hectic for a while. It was those moments of rocking my daughter in her nursery as raindrops patted against her window that were my favorites. I could stare into her eyes and hold her close in a pocket of calming silence.

Breastfeeding is challenging.

I was very blessed that Kennedy was able to pick up latching and feeding very easily. Other than the normal pains and leaking issues that happened when we first started, I experienced no problems with breastfeeding her. However, when I began working and reinstating parts of my lifestyle as they had been before she was born, scheduling time to feed or pump became difficult. As I did this, I watched other friends who had babies around the same time I did deal with their own woes as little ones broke from habit, supplies ran low, and pumping didn’t go as planned. It’s a commitment to decide to breastfeed, and even with all of the best intentions in the world, it doesn’t always work out as we want it to. Throw in all of the judgmental attitudes about breastfeeding vs. formula, and nursing “best” practices, and it’s a bit of a battlefield for moms to try to find what works without surrendering to something that alienates them.


Being a breastfeeding mom doesn’t make me any more of a mother than any other woman with a child.

I tucked this one into the middle of this blog post, mainly because I didn’t want to turn off readers with a soapbox rant in the opening lines of this. We really must change the narrative on breastfeeding and all of the snobby weight it carries for some. Science has shown us that breast milk contains the most and best nutrients for babies, and as parents, all we want to do is provide the best to our offspring. However, things get in the way of that sometimes. Not all parents can send their children to private schools and Ivy League colleges either. Why we place so much pressure on breastfeeding, and imply that you’re a sorry excuse for a mother if you don’t or can’t, I will never ever understand. What I will say is this, though: I don’t think I’m hot shit just because I breastfed for Kennedy’s first year. And the only mom who I will judge is the one who chooses not to feed her child anything. Starving your baby makes you a bad mom, not feeding your baby formula. 

 

Western culture really needs to tone down the sexualization of breasts, and beef up its embrace of one of nature’s simplest gifts.

Boobs are awesome. I don’t think women want to give them up, either. I know I sure don’t. But can we acknowledge the purpose women were given breasts? They’re tools with which to sustain a baby’s life after birth first and foremost. They’re beautiful in their ability and purpose first. Leave aesthetics off the table for a minute. And stop calling it disgusting when a woman breastfeeds in your presence, but applauding trampy celebrities for having their boobs on display just because. Any chick can flaunt her boobs for attention, but not every woman can breastfeed.

 

My body is capable of some pretty amazing things.

I love this body of mine. I really love this body of mine. I do. I wasn’t always courageous enough to love the woman I see in the mirror, but I’m more than happy to now. I may not be tone in all of the places I want to be, but I move so much faster now than I did in my early 20s. I move with purpose, because I usually move to push my daughter in a stroller, or chase after her as she runs through the grass at the park, or even to follow after her as she ventures into corners of our house that I don’t want her in. My body functions on little sleep and still gets the job done. My body is fun to dress up.

I love that my body was able to grow and nourish her over the past 19 months. I can’t wait to do it again with my next child.


I don’t want to do it anymore. (Not with Kennedy, at least)

We’ve had a good run, but the weaning process has been started. I’m glad I could do this for this long, and I will definitely do it again with my future babies, but the next chapter of feeding and nourishment is here for my firstborn, and it’s best for the both of us.

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