I know there are many different ways to raise and love our children. All children are different. Their families, situations, and experiences are varied. As moms, we get to have a huge say in how that looks for our kids. If you are a mom who chose breastfeeding (and it worked out for you), I hope you’ll take some time to share your story!
Here’s my breastfeeding story…
First, (and most important) did it hurt?
Heck, yeah it did! But not forever.
I hurt and bled for a few weeks at the beginning. I once had to stop myself from throwing my baby to the floor because it hurt so bad. It was necessary to remind myself that he was just a baby trying to get milk. My small child was not attempting to maul me.
Did you ever feel that you HAD to breastfeed to be a good mom?
There was definitely pressure to breastfeed from family, friends, and medical providers. However, they did not make me feel as though I HAD to breastfeed. After my first pregnancy, they did a lot to help me try to figure out how to feed my twins. When I switched to only formula after six weeks, there was no negative judgement. With my second pregnancy, I struggled again to try to breastfeed. My baby and I didn’t get the hang of it until he was six weeks old. We used formula and breastmilk up until that point.
I think I felt more negative pressure at work about pumping for my baby than positive pressure to breastfeed. I had to fight for time to pump for my child. Administration definitely frowned upon it. I had to sneakily lock myself in dirty closets to relieve the pressure from my chest and provide food for my child. My co-workers were very supportive though. They even made a cute cow sign for the door of whatever room I hid away in, as a sign that good work was being done and no one should walk in.
Describe a time you fed your baby and things did not go as planned.
Once, my family went out to dinner at an expensive barbecue restaurant in the D.C. area. My one-year-old son was sitting next to me in a high chair. As I was lifting my fork to my face, he ninja-maneuvered his way out of his high chair. He then grabbed my shirt, pulled it down and let my boob fly. I had a fork of food in one hand and was trying to catch him from falling with the other. I had to let the boob go free! The moment didn’t last long, but it was long enough to showcase my goods to a portion of the restaurant who had turned in our direction when he screamed “I need milk!” as he launched from the high chair.
Name a time and place when you knew your baby was hungry, but you were nervous or terrified of what would happen if you whipped out their next meal?
On an airplane! After the airlines got into an argument with a lady for indecent exposure while breastfeeding on a plane, I was nervous to feed my child in the air. What if he pulled another one of those ninja-swipe-uncovering moves?
Also, there was a time I was shopping at Uptown Target, and my baby was screaming and hungry. Pushing a grocery cart through a store while breastfeeding is definitely not the easiest or most glamorous way to feed a child. My back was definitely sore after that one.
Did your baby ever ask for breast milk using words? What did he or she call it?
At first, he called it something that sounded like “milk” and then later he called it “boob.” I’m not sure where the latter came from. He has definitely embarrassed me by asking for THAT in public. No one wants a toddler screaming, “I need boobies!” in the middle of a grocery store.
Name the most exciting location you ever breastfed your child.
A few years ago, I attended a special mass at St. John’s Cathedral with my kids. Keeping twin four-year-olds and a small baby happy for two hours during mass can be a little tricky. The church was very supportive and the bishop was perfectly happy to serve communion to a mother while she nursed at the altar.
Were you a “keep it all covered” or a “let it all loose” feeder?
For the first few weeks, I attempted to use a cover any time we were in public. However, I found it was easier to wear an undershirt and an overshirt. Then, I only had an inch or so out at a time, which was covered with a baby’s head. That helped me feel like I wasn’t showing off my chest, stomach or back when pulling down or lifting up a shirt.
What is your favorite memory as a breastfeeding mom?
More than just one specific memory, is the memory that my baby wanted ME! No one else on the planet could share the same connection that existed between us in that time. I loved coming home from work, cuddling up with my baby, and knowing that I was all he needed in the world.
How many “this is the last time” feedings did you have? How did you know it was time?
I breastfed my little guy “for the last time” on his first birthday. I cried and snuggled him and did my best to soak him into my memory. The next day, I couldn’t bring myself to ignore his cries. I just kept right on feeding him whenever he asked for it. I was terrible at “the last time” thing. As time went on, he asked for it less and less. Around two years old, I realized it had been a few days since he had last asked. I wondered if that had been our last time and I hadn’t even realized it. It wasn’t. Now, I don’t even remember the last time. It all fades together in my mind.