Like many of us, the moment I found out I was pregnant I started buying all the books, reading all the articles, and downloading all the apps. I knew I wanted to be very intentional about how I guide/raise my son. There are so many things parents have to decide to prepare for a baby, but the choice to breastfeed was a straightforward one for me. I didn’t think twice about it. I started researching, getting advice, and adding items to assist in my breastfeeding journey to my registry. On June 24, 2021, after 16 hours of labor and an emergency cesarean, my little boy came out and latched without hesitation, and the rest is history.
Breastfeeding was taboo to my family. Our village had to adjust to the vulnerability of my body because of this choice. If my baby was hungry, I was/am going to feed him. After a while, they started to joke about how often they saw me nursing him. My son is now 14 months, and we are still going strong. Though he eats solids, nursing is his comfort, and I am not quite ready to wean him off.
This journey is by far one of the best decisions I have made. Not only has it helped to create a bond between Zion and me, but it has also helped to build my confidence as a woman and mother. Sometimes I am still in awe at the amazing things our bodies can do.
Everyone’s journey is different, but I wanted to share a few tips/lessons I have learned along the way:
1. Do your research: There are so many things I did not know about breastfeeding before I had my son. I honestly was, and still am, learning as I go. If you are interested in breastfeeding, here are a few topics I suggest you research:
- Breastfeeding Styles
- Breastfeeding Supplies
- Dietary Restrictions
- Pumping Do's and Don’ts
2. Schedule an appointment with a lactation specialist: Breastfeeding is natural but also a science. There are always questions we don't think to research; that is where lactation specialists come in. They support and offer guidance in the actual process (the latch, feeding rotation, etc.). What I love most about lactation specialists is they can give you individualized support connected to your body type, baby, and lifestyle.
3. Trust your body: Though researching to be informed, I don’t recommend using anyone else’s experience as the standard. Every breastfeeding journey is different. From the breastfeeding style we choose to the amount of milk we produce, etc. Setting your standard ensures you do what's suitable for your baby and your body.
4. Above all else, enjoy the journey: Whether you decide to breastfeed or use formula, none of that truly matters. Enjoy your baby. Enjoy watching them grow. Enjoy this time. Don’t overwhelm yourself, enjoy it, mama.