Liam is five and half months now and still exclusively breastfed. Hallelujah! Breastfeeding has been quite the roller coaster for us. I'm not going to lie, in the beginning, it was pretty bad. Breastfeeding is definitely the most difficult thing I've ever done. And it took months before it got better. I know this isn't the case for every nursing mother, but it was the case for me. I thought the pain would never end. I was beginning to feel desperate. But one day the pain subsided and the nursing sessions became faster and more spaced out. It got easier. And I'm happy I stuck with it because I honestly love it. Even when I was dealing with the pain I still loved nursing Liam. There really is a special bond that occurs between mother and baby during breastfeeding. It's worth all the hardship.
I never thought I would be such a huge advocate for breastfeeding, but I am. I want to encourage every mother-to-be and new mother to make a commitment to breastfeeding. It is truly the healthiest option for your baby. I understand that there are sometimes circumstances beyond our control that can prevent breastfeeding from happening. If this is the case for you, don't beat yourself up about it. Thankfully there is formula for those cases. But I also believe that many times women are made to feel that their breast milk isn't enough and they have to supplement. It's discouraging and we believe the lies. But this is what our bodies were made to do. It's the next natural step in bringing a child into the world. Again, there are circumstances in which a woman may not be able to breastfeed due to an illness or a medication they are on, etc. If this is the case for you, don't worry about it. But if you are able to produce breastmilk, then give it a shot. Yes, it may be horrible in the beginning. You might have cracked nipples, plugged ducts, mastitis, thrush. You may be dealing with a baby who has a bad latch or who wants to cluster feed all day long. Stick with it, get a lactation consultant, seek advice from other nursing moms. And you know what? I know plenty of women who never dealt with any pain while nursing (lucky them!), so that could be you. Just don't give up. Set small goals. Say you will do it for one month. Once you reach that goal make two months your next goal, then four months, then six months. After you reach each goal you can decide if you want to keep going or if you're ready to wean.
Now that Liam is starting on solids I'm a little nervous about how our breastfeeding relationship will change. I wonder if my milk supply will drop. I wonder how often he will want to nurse. I wonder if he will lose interest. My goal is to breastfeed for one year because after that he can drink regular milk and won't need my milk (or formula). I don't know very many women who have nursed their babies for that long so if you are one of them please feel free to leave a comment and share your experience with me. How did your nursing relationship grow and change? What can I expect in the next six months? I know every baby is different but it would be nice to know other mothers' experiences. Thanks, friends!