We are searching data for your request:
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.
Lives in: Atlanta, Georgia
Breastfeeding experience: Slightly rocky start, then wonderful
Main challenges: Milk came in late; judgment from others about extended nursing
Breastfed for: 20 months and counting
Before I nursed either of my kids I expected breastfeeding to be torture. Internet searches filled my head with horror stories of cracked nipples, mastitis, low milk supply, and engorgement. Everyone told me how good breastfeeding is for the baby but at the same time, doctors, nurses, and online mommy forums were telling me about everything that could possibly go wrong.
With my first daughter, I had trouble with my milk coming in. The nurses didn't really let me try to nurse on demand and offered formula instead. I was very young and overwhelmed by being a new mommy, so I figured they knew best.
After we went home, I nursed every chance I could. Basically I carried my baby around with me. My breasts took the hint and by day 5 I was a fully functioning milk-making machine.
I didn't have a set idea about how long I would nurse. I decided that as long as the milk was there and my baby wanted it, I'd continue. My daughter self-weaned earlier than I expected and our nursing days ended at the 10-month mark.
My second baby, Emma, took to nursing right off the bat. This time I had no trouble with my milk coming in. I let her nurse when she wanted to so my breasts would make milk based on her schedule and her needs. Not being able to nurse my older daughter past the year mark motivated me to make it a goal the second time around.
Emma's almost 20 months old now and she still nurses. It seems she not only enjoys it, she still needs it. I think our bodies are fairly good at letting us know if something isn't right. If nursing is something we aren't supposed to do past a certain point, our bodies wouldn't let us keep making breast milk.
The only person who's ever given me a hard time about extended breastfeeding is my sister. She's older than I am and hasn't had any children of her own so she hasn't experienced the whole mom thing. When she makes a comment or gives me a look, I just laugh it off.
Everyone has an opinion and every opinion is different. I just tell myself that I'm doing what my baby needs right now. One day she won't be a baby anymore, and she'll no longer need to nurse. When that day comes, I can look back confidently and know that I provided my daughters with what they needed.
My biggest lesson learned
I'm no expert. All I can say is that being a mommy is a job in itself. Find positive resources, talk to people you trust who are supportive, and take it one day at a time.
Back to all breastfeeding essays