Tuesday, July 16, 2013

I'd like to talk for a minute about breastfeeding.

So I always used to joke that I loved breastfeeding because it requires the least amount of work, but as I write this post at 2am while pumping, I know that to no longer be true.

Breastfeeding is hard. And I feel like not enough women talk about how difficult it can be. So if you're reading this right now and you're struggling too, there are two things I want you to know.

1. You are not alone. 
2. You're doing something amazing for your baby, and it's worth it. 

Okay, I lied. There are 3 things I want you to know. 

3.Things will get better. They will. 
It might not be a matter of days, or even weeks. You might work your tail off for months, but I promise you, things WILL get better. Then one day you'll feel like you just blinked, and your sweet baby is an incredible child with a personality you could never have imagined, and all the struggle, which once seemed neverending, will be forgotten. 

I say these things not from a place of judgement to those who were unable to breastfeed or chose to stop, but from a place of understanding that it can be a huge struggle, and a place of encouragement to those who feel like they may be alone. I say them because I know somebody out there needs to hear them. If you're struggling with breastfeeding, know that you're not alone. This is not abnormal. Your body isn't defective.

I'm also saying these things because right now I need to remind myself just as badly. I struggled at the beginning to be able to breastfeed my son. Maybe eventually I'll have time to write out our story. Emotionally, those first two weeks were quite possibly the hardest of my life. I know that last sentence will only make sense to other mothers, especially those who've struggled. But we learned, and things changed, and I breastfed him for two years. And. It. Was. So. Worth. It. When my daughter was born, the first two weeks seemed like they'd gone great! I was so happy that our breastfeeding relationship was going to go more smoothly. Little did I know, she has multiple anatomical issues that prevent her from getting enough milk.

So I pumped. After every feeding. Day and night. And I continue to do so. She is nearly 6 months old and I continue to do so. I continue because of all the amazing ways breastfeeding benefits both myself and my baby, as well as the ways it promotes toddler development. and because I know someday it will get easier. We may never have the breastfeeding experience I hope for, but things won't be this difficult forever, and right now I'm at peace with that.

If you're still struggling, or want more information about breastfeeding, find a local La Leche League leader and contact them. They're always willing to help, and never judgmental. The leader who helped me with my daughter was able to tell me more in one minute than I had learned from two months worth of visits to our pediatrician, 8 or 9 different lactation consultants, and two different otolaryngologists.

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