My mom breastfed all three of her children, each for increasingly shorter periods of time; I think she nursed me for 6-8 months, my brother for less than 6 months and I think she may have made it to 3 months with my sister. However she talks a lot about her time breastfeeding and while she endured some trials I get the feeling that she is very proud of that time and having done it the way she did. I’m not sure about my husband’s mom and what she chose to do. I will say whether it was my family or my husband’s family they have all been fairly supportive in letting us make our own choice when it came to breastfeeding and I have not come against any negativity concerning our choice to breastfeed.
For me breastfeeding was just the natural choice. Besides it being free, I figured if my boobs are going to fill up with milk I may as well at least try to use it to feed my baby. What I didn’t realize was just how strongly I would come to feel about breastfeeding when I first set out to breastfeed our first born. As it turns out I’m somewhat of a breastfeeding extremist when it comes to my kids, not to say I look down on others for the choices they have made for their children but when I decided I was going to breastfeed I totally committed to it (in sort of an extreme way).
I breastfed our first for somewhere around 11 months when my milk dried up due to stress and not taking care of myself like I should have been. I had enough pumped though to make it relatively close to her first birthday. Other than being sore during latch-on for 3-4 weeks I never experienced any real struggles and was always very grateful for that. Our second child had a more challenging personality than our first with constant crying and what seemed like an aversion to sleep (after having a baby that started sleeping 5 hours a night when she was 5 weeks old and only improved from there I had really been spoiled and really had no idea how normal babies sleep cycles went). I also was dealing with debilitating acid reflux and, looking back, was probably struggling with some postpartum as well because I really wanted nothing to do with him (which was the weirdest feeling I have ever had as a mom, and I call it postpartum even though I was never diagnosed because I have never felt that way with any of my other babies), so if I didn’t feel as strongly as I do about breastfeeding I would have put him on formula in a heartbeat and let someone else deal with him because that is how I felt. However, since I feel as strongly as I do I was forced to bond with him through breastfeeding and it got me through that time of postpartum and caused me to fall in love with him all over again (because my feelings of wanting nothing to do with him didn’t come upon me until I was home from that hospital). Breastfeeding was my saving grace with this child and he weaned himself right around a year.
Our third child I breastfed for 11-12 months when he also weaned himself; and by this point I was starting to feel like a pro. I got pregnant with our fourth child right away when our third was in the process of weaning himself. Our fourth child just turned one and is still breastfeeding with no intention of stopping anytime soon and I have no intention of weaning her as I haven’t weaned any of the others, and as she is our last I am enjoying this last little bit of time breastfeeding her.
Some of the tips and tricks I came across were using a cocoa butter stick instead of lanolin (I just personally didn’t care for how the lanolin felt) and then I came across this Earth Mama Angel Baby Nipple Butter that was amazing (especially during that first month of soreness, plus it was a great gentle moisturizer so I could use it on any dry areas on baby’s skin). (Something2Offer’s affiliate links are used in this post to provide links to resources mentioned by the author.)
I have also come to the point, after nursing 4 babies where I am completely comfortable nursing anywhere and couldn’t care less what other people think. I have even nursed while baby wearing in public with no one even noticing. I do try to be modest when I nurse in public and use a nursing cover but if the temperature is such that a nursing cover would make baby uncomfortable or if the baby didn’t like to be covered I just breastfeed without it (most of my kids welcomed the muted lighting that the cover-up provided, I do recommend an actual cover-up with the boning around the neck area so that you can see baby through the boning area as opposed to just using a sheet because I was easier to deal with in my opinion). I have been fortunate in that while breastfeeding in public I have never been confronted negatively, if anything I have had more positive comments about how people wish more people would breastfeed or how they miss that time with their children. I also feel that the more mom’s breastfeed in public (without covering up) the more it will become the norm and I don’t feel that we as breastfeeding mom’s should be embarrassed about what we are doing, if anything we should feel proud that we are using what God has provided for our children as nourishment. Breastfeeding has been a joyful bonding experience for me and my children that I wouldn’t trade for anything, and I wish that every mom felt supported in at least trying it with their child.
Kira Calvert is a homeschooling mom of four. When she isn’t busy with school, housework or canning and processing produce she enjoys crafting and creating with her mom and sister through Enchantment Crafts.
This post was part of the #LatchOnLinkUp Breastfeeding linky: