This week is World Breastfeeding Week (August 1-7) and coincidentally not too long ago it was finally made legal to breastfeed in public in all 50 states (don’t get me started on how ridiculous this is. Utah and Idaho, yes I’m talking to you). This week will also make the 8th month that I have breastfed my baby!
It hasn’t been all sunshine and butterflies, especially lately. I will admit I was extremely blessed to not have an overly difficult journey in the beginning. We had a few struggles like suspected low supply when my son first had weight gain problems but other than that we had minimal issues. Recently I’ve been dealing with Mastitis, chapped nipples, clogged ducts, milk blisters, you name it. It’s been extremely painful. Like I recently just told my husband that if it had been this hard in the beginning I might not have stuck with it. The amount of money I’ve poured into this whole, “Lord Jesus please make my boobs stop hurting,” fund is a little ridiculous, but we’re working through it.
I also went back to work as a bartender this summer, which is a whole other feat in itself when you’re breastfeeding. I’ll be really honest with you; I hate pumping. Of course there’s just no way around it when you’re working. And don’t even get me started on building a supply… You just have to sit tethered to a machine for what feels like hours of your day. It never fails, the second you sit down to pump the baby decides they want to nurse. To me it felt as if I’d never get there. Thankfully I now have a few little gadgets that help make it more bearable, but before I figured it out, it was rough. I really have a whole new respect for working moms, it’s so hard. That being said, I was also a stay-at-home/work-at-home mom for about 5 months, and let me tell you, it’s so hard. I honestly can’t tell you which is more challenging for me. There are definite up-sides to both, but the struggles are so different it’s hard to compare. My decision to go back to work came shortly after I was diagnosed with Postpartum Depression after hitting my all-time low. I thought it was important to do something that reminded me of who I was before the baby. I really had no clue the emotions that would evoke (we can talk about that later).
The real purpose of this post is to celebrate breastfeeding, whether you’ve had to pump to feed your baby or you’re able to nurse your baby. It is so much work, but so rewarding. One of my doula friends recently posted a link on social media with the cute little ribbons like the one above and I love love love them.
I’ve shared before that I was the first to breastfeed in my family, and that makes me extremely proud of myself. I really didn’t have a whole lot of support in the beginning because no one understood why I was so adamantly for it (and to be honest I think they doubted me a little, knowing full well how difficult it can be) but now that 8 months has passed people have started to accept it. So I have to say, this is by far and wide my personal favorite, because I really didn’t have anyone backing me and cheering me on (besides my lactation consultant- have I mentioned lately how amazing she is?). It was a pretty lonely journey for awhile, but I’m so glad I didn’t give up.
Please go check out the whole slew of these little metals on La Leche League’s Facebook page and share your favorite with me in the comments! We really do deserve a metal for this stuff. It’s hard work. Don’t be afraid to give yourself a pat on the back. If you need some support, check out www.LLLUSA.org. They host all kinds of events all over the country as well as have some inspiring blog posts that will keep you going, in addition to being a great resource for all kinds of breastfeeding information. And remember; you’re amazing, you’re beautiful, and you’re a badass! Just keep at it!