My breastfeeding journey started around 2:00 a.m. on April 22, 2017. When the nurses asked me how I wanted to feed my daughter, I said I wanted her to be fed via breastmilk and formula.
The nurse checked off breastmilk only.
I was looking forward to the little formula bottles, that I never got, the mini to-go formulas, that I never got and the ability to formula feed my daughter…
But alas, that was not my journey. I don’t regret it. I just wish I had been prepared.
When they first attempted to teach me to feed her, she was too tired to eat and was not interested. In fact, she wasn’t interested in eating much until we got home two days later. I was so scared. All she did was sleep! Would she sleep and not eat?! My mom said, I slept for two weeks, would my daughter do the same?
She did not. After two days she would scream and demand her food. I was still in recovery so I did the laziest and next best thing. I took out a breast and popped it in her mouth. This little girl fought to find her rhythm and gladly took in all the precious liquid gold she could. She wasn’t greedy about it, but in her dainty, classy and graceful way she ate until she could sleep again. She was having a great time. I was not.
I was engorged. It felt like I had underwent a breast augmentation without consent. I had gone from a C-cup to DDD-cup and there was no relief. I was leaking everywhere. I couldn’t pump because I didn’t I would need it. I smelled like a mix of milk, sweat and deodorant. Not sexy…at all.
My nipples got sore. Every feed was uncomfortable. I could feel my nipples being broken and tenderized and the pain was just annoying to deal with. She was having a blast. I was not.
My friend would tell me (she’s had four kids whom she breastfed), “Sandy just tough it out, and your breast will toughen up.” So I did. Am I glad I did.
So our journey continued…
However, I noticed that every time I introduced a formula bottle she would just drink half the bottle and not want anymore of it but would gladly take the breast. By the second month, she was done with the formula. I googled, researched and did whatever I could to get this girl to drink formula. I knew that our family would want to be able to spend time with her for more than an hour, but how could they if she wouldn’t drink formula?
Eventually my husband looked at me and said, “What are you doing? Just give her the boob!” These words probably saved my life. I submitted and did just that. I listened and exclusively breastfed her.
Some of the most memorable moments came from breastfeeding. I could understand my daughter better. I knew what she wanted, how she wanted and when she wanted it. I knew her language. I knew her character, her likes and dislikes. I knew her like she knew me. We got closer. I wasn’t just her source of food anymore. I was more. I was mom to her.
I remember the first time she spoke to me. My husband left to hang out with his friends. I was sulking at home because I had to take care of the baby. I was feeling sorry for myself because “it’s not fair! He gets to go out and I’m stuck at home!”
While I was feeding my girl, she unlatched, looked at me and said two or three very distinct babble. I don’t know what she said, but I knew she was talking to me. She was having a conversation with me!
I almost cried. To think that I was complaining about being away from this beautiful human being who chooses to show me love and affection and decided to speak to me! What is wrong with me?!
So after a year, she still breastfeeds. Not for food exclusively but to sleep, to be comforted. It’s not as much anymore either. She eats her solid, drinks her water, juice and milk. But if she hurts she wants ba (breastmilk), if she’s hungry she wants ba, if she’s tired she want ba.
This journey is soon coming to an end. I’m grateful to have had this experience with her. I’ve become more than just a breastfeeder. I’m a source of comfort and security for her.
I’ve had people share to me their thoughts about me breastfeeding. Some are afraid that I’m not weaning her off fast enough. Others believe I’m spoiling her. Some have shared with me that I need to be careful or else she’ll be seven and still want to breastfeed. Most of these comments come from mothers who never breastfed their children. It used to hurt, not anymore…
Every mother is entitled to do what’s best for their children. This is best for me and my daughter. I thank God everyday for that gift.
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