Our Bodies Are Wondrous Things, Let’s Trust Them

When I was pregnant with my first son, I always wondered what breastfeeding would feel like. If it would be ‘weird’ having another human ‘suck’ milk from my body. I thought it sounded nice, nourishing another human, but breasts are so sexualized. The more I thought about it, the weirder it sounded to me. I always knew that regardless of what the public thought, I wanted to breastfeed my babies. I hoped I liked the experience with my son.

When they handed him to me and he started looking for food naturally, I knew, this would be an amazing journey. He came out of the womb, already knowing what he wanted and needed – that my friends, was mummy’s milk! 🙂

In the first couple of days, because we were all so new at feeding, he dropped more than 10% of his body weight. We were then advised to be topping off with breast milk preferably, but if not, formula would work ‘fine’. This is where I went wrong. Totally wrong. I had no clue or understanding as to how the breast worked, supply and demand, foremilk and hind milk, or how my baby processed the milk in his tummy then let it out through the nappy. He was an hourly eater. I was certain I wasn’t enough for him. We cried and struggled. I fought mastitis what seemed like a weekly issue. Just as quickly as I would get rid of it, it would come back. I was trying to train him to eat every 3 hours, so I started skipping feeds and feeding longer. I’d fed for an hour…or I thought I was ‘feeding’ for an hour. Little did I know the placement, the latch, the angle, everything was all wrong. He was comfort sucking, This is why he was feeding hourly. Finally, after 5 months of persevering….he stopped feeding. 2 weeks later, we found out we were pregnant with baby number two. I still to this day am not sure if he weened because I was pregnant or if I fell pregnant because he weaned. Nonetheless, our journey was cut shorter than I would have liked, but a new journey would be beginning sooner rather than later.

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Our second son was born with a sweet little 15 month age gap between the boys. I really quite enjoyed it. I put him to the breast as if I were a pro. Weeks went by, and he was constantly vomiting up entire feeds. I was told the reflux was fine as long as he was happy and not showing he was in pain. He was such a happy baby that I was never concerned with more than what I was told to. He started to lose weight like our first did. I again was asked to give him formula. I refused and fed on demand this time. I began reading and listening to stories and consulting lactation consultants and finally began to have an understanding of how my body and my baby’s bodies worked. Then, everything started to click and I saw what happened in my first journey that caused us so much grief. We continued feeding, happily, without mastitis, without tears, and no formula. I was ecstatic. We powered through to 6 months, still breastfeeding, but we introduced solids at 5 months. I was still telling our nurse that he was still spewing up all his milk, but he was happy. I was still told as long as he is happy…….
At 7 months, I went in to see a different nurse about my older son, who had been head-butting when he was angry. I was concerned he would injure himself. Upon seeing my youngest and commenting on his weight, she sent us straight to the emergency department for undernourishment. I was then made to feel as if I was negligent by keeping my son on the breast for as long as I had, because obviously what I was giving him wasn’t enough for him to be healthy. I was asked to immediately stop breastfeeding him and to put him on a weight gain formula. We then spent the next 8 days being questioned about the day I found out I was pregnant, to the day we were admitted. They were wanting to know all the details as to why he would be so under weight. Mind you, I am not the biggest person in the world and he was reaching all of his milestones, so to me and the previous nurse, a little bit of a happy chuck never hurt anyone.
On day three, I found myself being watched to make sure I put the bottle in his mouth and he was eating before the nurses would leave my room. I cried. My breasts were sore. And we weren’t ready to end our journey there…in a hospital room because someone else told us we had to. So I decided to pull the bottle out of his mouth, and feed him. Immediately after his feeds, he would drift off into a deep sleep in my arms. Finally, that’s how it was supposed to be.
On day four, we got a test result back that he was ‘borderline’ Celiacs disease. I found that pretty crazy…to have a ‘borderline’ diagnosis. So I made them run more tests, assuring them there had to have been something that was wrong (that would explain all the spewing since birth) rather than assuming I was negligent in feeding my baby. More tests were run. I was caught breastfeeding him when a nurse forgot something in my room and walked back in to us curled up in the cot together sleeping and breastfeeding. I was fussed at and told that I was jeopardizing the weight gain plan the dietitian had put in place. I was so angry, everyone is told breast is best right? Here I am fighting for my right to feed my baby. I braved up and said, “until we can prove its malnutrition from breastfeeding, I will not jeopardize our relationship.” And so I continued to feed my little man. With no fear, in front of hospital staff.
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Day 6 hailed a positive test result for Salmonella. This explained the throwing up. This also told the hospital that I was NOT a bad mum. I was as glad as anyone could be to find out their was actually something wrong with their baby. Not to say that him being ill brought me joy. It didn’t. It made me sad that I had been speaking out for months and months that something was not right and my instincts were overlooked and pushed to the side. Yet when someone else finally noticed, I was being negligent. It brought me validation, that I was right. That I was not wrong in continuing to feed my baby, and that what I supplied him with was enough! A very quick round of antibiotics cleared it up and he was CHUNKY in a week. We continued to breastfeed until I fell pregnant again at 14 months.Now, we ‘re enjoying our third breastfeeding journey going 9 months strong.
Mums, don’t doubt yourself. No one knows your baby like you do. Be confident in your ability to feed your baby. Be confident that what you are supplying is enough. Our bodies are wondrous things….let’s trust them 🙂
Melbourne, Australia 
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Comments
  1. April Genung says:

    I’m currently breastfeeding my 20 month old son. His older brother is 3.5. I have been nursing and/or pregnant for over 4 years! I am an out and proud nurser and have never had any problems. I’m lucky!

  2. Shana Krings says:

    I love this movement and all it stands for. It is so important for women to have the support and courage they need to breastfeed anywhere and at any time!

  3. Esther Pelletier says:

    My breastfeeding journey started in 2013 but not how I expected. I had a preemie (34 weeker) who was taken straight to the nicu. A kind nurse expressed my colostrum for me while I cried. I then pumped every 2 hours around the clock and the nurses would tune or syringe feed my son. I was told they would probably supplement because there was no way I would make enough milk as the body isn’t always ready that early. I simply told them no. I would have enough. And I did! More than enough actually. After a few days I was able to try breastfeeding. After 2 weeks of breast, syringe and bottles of pumped milk we were discharged where I didtcjed the bottles and stuck to strictly breastfeeding. We continued until 22 months when he self weaned and I was in my last few weeks of my second pregnancy. I then welcomed another who I am still breastfeeding (even at the moment at 20 months) with no plans of stopping any time soon! We’ve had our issues with cracks, chronic blocked ducts, poor latches, and mastitis but I wouldn’t trade any of it for the magical bond that is breastfeeding!

  4. Emalee Hasek says:

    Breastfeeding has always been a challenge for us. My daughter was born with Gastroschisis and couldn’t eat for almost the 2 first weeks of life. (She had a central line and specific nutrition given to her through the iv) I pumped every day, around the clock, to make sure my milk came in and that she had enough.(we went home with our suitcase filed of frozen breastmilk!) The first colostrum she had was on a sponge that we rubbed on her gums. The first time she drank milk was from a bottle. Then it rotated between breast and bottle so we could mpnitor her intake. But it was my milk! By the time we left at week 4 (when we were told to expect to be there closer to 3 months!!) She was exclusively on the breast! Every day she got better at latching and nursing. She waneed to nurse and I wanted to nurse her! Our breastfeeding journey ended the day after her first birthday. I was so sick (pregnant with #2) and she was self weaning. I was sad to stop but she had decided it was time. I will always hold our breastfeeding journey close to my heart.
    My son was born almost 5 months ago and our journey was different and trying in its own ways. I had never fed new-new born, and felt very lost. He kept curling in his lips (which I didn’t catch) which caused a serious latch issue and resulted in very cracked and painful nipples. Not to mention he got thrush when he was 2 weeks old! But we didn’t give up!! We pumped the injured side while nursing on the healed, we saw breastfeeding counselors and LCs, we tried everything. After 3 months of hard work, tears, pain and worry I was finally completely healed and now our breastfeeding relationship at almost 5 months is blossoming! And I will continue to feed him as long as he wants!
    I love breastfeeding and I love the bond I get to have with each child as we go through our unique challenges and experiences together.

  5. Christy says:

    I dream of a breastmilk keepsake! Breastfeeding was hard work for me and I’m so proud of myself.

  6. Crystal Weil says:

    I’m currently breastfeeding my second child! She is 17 months old! I breastfed my first until he was 14 months. Unfortunately I had developed a horrible case of nursing aversion, and I didn’t know what it was until I had weaned my son, otherwise I would have tried to find coping methods. Thankfully he was pretty much ready to wean anyways, so it was not a traumatic experience for him. Though, I felt like a horrible mother until I realized what was actually going on. My daughter was a surprise pregnancy so I did not know I was pregnant, and that was why I had the aversion!
    Now, I am happily breastfeeding my daughter. She latched on right away when she was born and she hasn’t stopped since! She still nurses a million times a night and quite a few times during the day. I don’t see us quitting this gig anytime soon!

  7. Lacey Fitzgerald says:

    When I was pregnant with my first daughter everyone would always ask me if I was going to breastfeed or use formula. I hadn’t even given it a thought. Honestly it was the last thing on my mind. When she was finally born I had decided to breastfeed her but she was taken to the nursery and we didn’t get the chance to try until 8 hours later.

    Sitting in that hospital bed with my newborn baby at my breast, getting ready to latch made me so nervous. Just as I was going to get the formula out of her bassinet drawer something in me clicked and I decided right then to latch her on. It took some time but here we are 2 years later, tandem feeding with her 2 month old sister.

    It’s one of the hardest things I’ve done since becoming a mother. But also one of the most rewarding. Knowing that I’m the one that’s sustained her life with my body and made her feel safe. It’s a very rewarding feeling.

    I know our time nursing is coming to end though. I feel myself getting touched out and aggravated whenever she asks too much. Which seems like everytime her sister nurses. And I don’t want our breastfeeding story to end on a bad note. I’d like to look back and feel nothing but joy about it. But until we figure that out, we’ll keep on keeping on. Nurse on mamas!

  8. Bethann says:

    Currently breastfeeding my 7th baby. So glad to be a part of the movement to help normalize breastfeeding again.

  9. Sarah says:

    I use my milk for the whole family. I give my 2 year old milk baths and make my own lotions to help with her eczema. I use it for cold sores, nasal spray, red and itchy eyes. I have proudly nursed three healthy babies but i couldn’t have done it without the support from my hubby so a shout out to him! I have truly been blessed to be surrounded by so much support.

  10. Currently breastfeeding my 2nd son, he’s 7 months old and I will be devastated the day he weans! My 1st son was 14 months when he self weaned, hoping this one keeps going a while longer! Both boys were naturals and took to it so easily (they were both almost 11lbs when born so I imagine they were hungry little nuggets). I’ve had comments made to me “you’re not going to go past a year are you?” or “when they can ask for a boob that means they’re too old” but I don’t care, I will provide comfort and nourishment for my boy as long as he wants.

  11. Rachel says:

    I’m hoping to breastfeed for a year or more but I don’t have a story yet 🙂

    1. Tell us why you support breastfeeding!

  12. Kimberly Messina says:

    Thanks to all you AMAZING groups and advocates of breastfeeding women! I’m priveleged to be part of this movement! Can’t wait for the emoji, I would be dropping it right here! ???

  13. Breastfeeding has been my life for so long but I love spending this quality time with my babies!!! I will be sad when it’s over(hopefully this baby and I can go at least to two years, she’s two months now). ??

  14. Rebecca says:

    BF for 16 months and no plans to stop till he self weans (and even then I may pump and give him human milk). Why would I stop BF to give my baby cow’s milk?????

  15. Stephanie Kelso says:

    I started breastfeeding my daughter in April 2014.
    It was sometimes hard, but always worth it. I became passionate about continuing our breastfeeding relationship until she was done and spreading the word about the wonders of breastfeeding to anoyone that would listen. I became pregnant with my son when my daughter was 18 months old and my new goal became nursing through pregnancy and tandem nursing if She wanted to continue.

    She did and we have just reached 5months of tandem nursing! They are so sweet together when they are sharing and it makes my heart melt. One of the best things I’ve ever done!

  16. Heather Leacy says:

    I’ve breastfed for the better part of 5 years. 🙂 3 babies till self-weaning (one current nursling). I prefer not to share my selfies, but I do treasure them. I don’t have qualms about nursing in public – just feel like that is more intimate of a moment than I want to share publicly (same with a lot of kissing photos of myself and my husband). Anyway. Such a gift. It’s definitely had some very painful and difficult points. I’m grateful to have found a lot of support and like minded mamma friends.

  17. Danya says:

    I was only able to breastfeed my firstborn for a month after I medication I was given that was “safe while breastfeeding” dried my milk in 1 day. I was devastated. Fastforward 3 years and I am now going on 4 months of combination feeding my son. It has been a beautiful struggle but some breastmilk (as much as my body will make) is better than no breastmilk! I am trying my hardest to up my supply in hopes to EBF my baby boy. I know we can do it! Thank you for this movement. It means the world to so many amazing mothers.

  18. Becky Ginsburg says:

    We are going on 28 months breastfeeding. My son has been through some medical issues, and I’m so grateful for the extra comfort and nourishment I could provide.

  19. Kaitlynn Diaz-Pons says:

    Currently breastfeesing my 2nd baby. My breastfeeding journey was unfortunately cut short when i got pregnant when my son was only 4 months. We continued until he was 8 months when i stopped producing milk. He comfort nursed until he was a year. I moved in with some family members and let their comments about how great it was that he wasnt breastfeeding anymore (he didnt need to past 1 year in their eyes) get to me and i stopped. I had hoped to tandem nurse but hes no longer interested 🙁 i hope my breastfeeding journey with my daughter lasts a lot longer. I hope to get to at least 2 years with her. Thats our goal

  20. Christina says:

    I have been breastfeeding for close to four years now!
    I’ve shared my brelfies on my Instagram account, and have had two moms contact me for support…no one talks about how hard it can be!
    I hope to continue to be a source of inspiration and support by sharing my #normalizebreastfeeding photos! It truly is a beautiful thing 🙂

Any thoughts?