I grew up hearing about how my mom breastfed my sister and I. As a pre-teen, I watched my Aunt breastfeed my youngest cousin. Breastfeeding was a natural and normal part of child rearing in my mind. I had always planned to do it. As I learned more about breastfeeding, I wanted to do it for as long as I could. I’ve always said, “I want to nurse one until he or she is old enough to tell me (using words) that they are all done.” Putting that desire into shoe leather has been a journey.
- The First Born: I’d always been an active person. I got married just before turning 26. I then immediately got pregnant. In mid-spring we had our first born, a beautiful little girl. Breastfeeding here I come! However, on my end of things, I found having a baby was more constricting then I had realized it would be, and breastfeeding only compounded that. For her end of things, she wasn’t super great at nursing. I nursed her exclusively through the first month and then we added a bottle of formula each day in the second month. By five months old she was done nursing and I was dried up like a dessert. The new mama life was overwhelming, though joyful, and while I knew “breast was best” I also felt that being emotionally healthy was important too. When I look back with the sight I have now, I wish I had stayed the course, but I did what I could at the time and that is the important lesson I have to share from The First Born: Don’t beat yourself up for doing what you can with who you are at any given stage of life.
- The Middle Child: I was a crunchy mama ROCK STAR with our second born, our first son. I was more informed, had 4+ years of parenting under my belt, and I was empowered! There is something to be said for being 30. I was way more confident and capable. I breastfed like a pro, and so did he! It was a good thing I was empowered because this time around I kept getting mastitis. Had I not been super mom I would have abandoned breastfeeding after the first round of that! Our “little” boy started eating at around 5 months old. He breastfed until 11 months, then he stopped on his own. The important lesson from The Middle Child: Push past the tough stuff. It is worth it, and you will not look back with any regrets.
- The (current) Baby: I had a second trimester miscarriage in between the middle son and the babe. I was not a rock star this time around. I had time to properly morn the loss of that angel baby, but knowing the fragility of pregnancy first-hand wiped my empowerment out. This baby came into a functioning, homeschooling family and, three children later I’d grown accustomed to having my feet planted squarely at home. I also became more informed about baby food- more specifically, holding off on introducing food until much later than I had ever done before. With the delayed introduction of solid foods, this baby is still breastfeeding at 20 (going on 21) months old. By “still” I mean he doesn’t drink from anything other than me. He only eats one organic yogurt, one organic puree pouch and, sometimes nibbles on organic, non-GMO cereal as finger food during the day. He is growing and thriving just fine, and he shows no sign of letting up. I believe this child will be the one to say, “Mama, I don’t need booby juice anymore.” when he’s all done. The important lesson from The (current) Baby: Keep on keeping on- you are on a journey, and eventually you will get to where you want to be!