{Liquid Love: My Breastfeeding Journey}

Breastfeeding was something I was really determined to give my best shot at, but I knew it might not be easy considering there are so many factors that play a role in a mother and baby’s ability to nurse. Before having Lyric I did my best to learn as much as I could to give us both the best chance at breastfeeding. I researched nipple shields, tongue ties and anything else that might hinder us from having a successful start so we could correct it right away.

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There is nothing in life quite like motherhood. It is quite simply a very long and eventful journey consisting of ups and downs, plenty of twists and turns, breathtaking views and even some smooth sailing. But even the most incredible and overwhelming beautiful moments come with challenges and surprises. There are aspects that pack more punch than others though. As mothers we fret about some things far more and have higher hopes or expectations for the way certain things will play out. We also know quite well how to fly by the seat of our pants when the time calls for it. Feeding our kids probably ranks pretty high whether we admit it or not. We all have that picture in our minds of how we’ll feed baby and for how long. The trick is to be able to roll with the punches when it doesn’t play out exactly like you had hoped, because motherhood (and breastfeeding) is full of surprises!

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Right after Lyric was born I had time to nurse before they moved us out of the delivery room. Our little lady practically came out rooting so latching seemed to be quite easy for her. When we tried nursing again later in the day, the nurses were there to ensure she had established a proper latch and that I was comfortable. In a matter of minutes though they led me to believe that she wasn’t getting anything since she was struggling more than she had earlier that day. Minutes later in walks the nurse with a bottle of Enfamil and a breast pump.

I was so confused! I felt like I had barely had a chance to get used to the feeling much less be a pro at it before they made me feel like I had already failed and needed to supplement… I made sure not to let it get to me though and kept at it. By the time we were discharged the next day we were much more comfortable and I was feeling confident enough to go home.

The next 3 months, 6 months after that and all the way up until well after her first birthday, were filled with more ‘phases’ of breastfeeding than I thought possible! Once we got the hang of things, everything was great and I got to experience the joy and privilege that it is to nourish your baby. Those feelings of euphoria are something I will never ever forget. Besides getting used to succumbing myself to cluster feeds, the beginning months were likely the easiest. Feeding on demand quite naturally goes without question for any mother with a newborn, so I fed her anytime and that was that.

But as the months pass and you attempt to get yourselves into a routine that’s when you’ll notice what habits your babe has and if they’re working for you or not. For me, Lyric’s nursing schedule was quite regular and very predictable throughout the day. But it was when she developed the habit of insisting on nursing to sleep and couldn’t fall back asleep any other way, that breastfeeding suddenly became more than just feeding and bonding with my baby.

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I stressed about it — a lot. As much as I cherished that time with her more than anything else in the world, the insane demand of it started to weigh on me. It meant that Davin couldn’t get up with her at night, even when she was waking every 45 minutes turning me into a walking zombie, and it meant I had to be privy to her every beck and call even when I felt like I really needed a break. What about when she was with family and friends and I couldn’t be there to nurse her to sleep? Was I making it harder on her?

I felt insane pressure from myself and others to teach her how to fall asleep without a crutch. Suddenly now nursing for comfort introduced me to the world of sleep training which wasn’t necessarily a party that I wanted to attend.  I had to make the impossible decision whether or not to nurse every single time she only wanted to for only comfort (when comforting your baby is a damn hard instinct to ignore) and trust that I knew 100% the difference between hunger and comfort. Attempting to break the habit was so hard, especially considering I wanted to breastfeed for as long as possible. But here I was, feeling like there really was such a thing as “too much of a good thing.” Luckily, she broke the habit naturally when she started attending Dayhome and Davin started to get up with her whenever she woke at night. We were back to a comfortable daytime nursing routine and continued to nurse until she was 16 months old which is something I am so proud of!

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You might get thrush, mastitis, plugged ducts and days where your nipples feel like a pack of wolves had a hay day with them. A breastfeeding mom will stress about her supply — over supply, under supply or both! She’ll push through the pain of being engorged and pump in places like cars, storage rooms, bathrooms and at work. But even through all of that, breastfeeding is just another extension of motherhood.

Breastfeeding brought me some of the most physically, emotionally and spiritually challenging days of my life, but without question was one of the best experiences I have been so blessed to have had. Being able to see and literally hear your body nourish your baby and continue to give her life even though I was no longer pregnant was the closest I have ever felt to Mother Nature. It was something I did without question, no matter how hard it was at times, which is what being a mother is all about. I cherished every single second and never once took that ability for granted. Even after writing this, I still feel that the whole experience was more challenging, fulfilling and in a way that’s hard to truly explain.

There are so many ways to nourish and comfort a child that will undoubtedly make every woman’s journey different which I love. I treasure the fact that my journey with Lyric is our own and we figured it out together.

My advice to any woman hoping to breastfeed her baby would be to give it all you can. It might be hard —really, really hard, but I promise you, it will be so every worth it. Every tear, every pain, every milk stain, and every time your arm falls sleepy won’t matter. If things don’t work out, you’ll rest easy knowing that you and your little one put everything into it that you could, and that’s all that matters. Even now, with our second baby girl arriving in a few short months I find myself preparing for a completely new and unique experience with her; one that I can only hope is just as fulfilling and emotional as the first.

Photo 2016-01-29, 3 31 46 PM{These photos are from the very last time we nursed. Thanks to my darling husband for giving me such a beautiful reminder of one of my favorite parts of being a mother.}

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September 4, 2016 - 7:02 pm

Lindsay of Kiddo Korner - What a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing your journey! I breastfed my first for 2 years and 2 months. My second is still going strong at 1 year and 1 month. It really is a different experience with each child.

September 6, 2016 - 10:11 am

Lisa G. - Thanks so much Lindsay, I really cherish that time I had nursing my daughter. You should be so proud that you’ve do so successfully, for so long, too! That’s amazing! I’m hoping for another successful experience this time around, too. =)

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