My Breastfeeding Journey, National Breastfeeding Awareness Week | Denver, Colorado Motherhood Photographer
This is such a personal post for me, especially on a platform where my clients and potential clients can come to read and scout for anything their hearts desire that deals with my business. However, with it being the start of National Breastfeeding Week and the same month, where my little guy turns 8 days old here shortly and we've been on this road for a F U L L year! I am literally still in shock that we've made it this far, but I am soaking up every sweet moment! I wouldn't trade any of this for the world.
My mom did not breastfeed my younger brother nor myself. I hadn't had a clue about anything breastfeeding related and to be honest, I wasn't at all intrigued by nursing my little one much because I was so clueless. Joining groups helped me understand a little bit but then there were things such as how much it hurt or how miserable some moms felt. There were things about how mamas had milk drying up and couldn't produce. I was so scared in a sense that I didn't know what my body was going to be able to produce, what it wasn't going to be able to produce and more. I panicked a little, as we approached his due date. What if I couldn't produce any milk at all? I didn't have formula. What formula would he even use? When I finally came down off of that "formula panic", I told myself, I could do this! I set a small goal up to 6 weeks, then leading to 6 months. When we reached 6 months, I made a goal to 12 months. We are approaching that goal here in 7 days.
When my little guy was born. I ended up loosing more blood than I should've. This caused me to black out right after my delivery. The midwives and nurses respected my wishes of no formula in the room. I wanted to try and nurse him first. Unfortunately, with blacking out this meant that Tristan was fed by my husband, his father through a syringe, milk donated to the hospital from amazing mothers. I could literally cry, because I just knew that, ONE these mamas are giving their milk to mamas like myself who aren't able to nurse directly after birth and TWO, the fact that my midwives and nurses respected my wishes.
Our first skin to skin, I was shaking, still not really able to nurse him because I lost so much blood that I was weak. It wasn't easy at all, but each passing day in the hospital got a little bit better. Tristan latched great on the left side and the right side was a little bit hard.
When Tristan was finally home, we struggled the first few weeks. They were not easy weeks. There were a lot of sleepless nights. There were nights where I felt like Tristan was eating every 10 minutes and I could feel my eyes were getting so heavy. I was told that pumping before 6 weeks would cause over-supply so I didn't pump any. My husband wasn't able to help me with any feedings because I didn't have any bottles or milk stashed for him to help. The first 6 weeks, Tristan relied solely on me. Some nights, I would just leak milk. Some nights I would just feel like he emptied me out and there was nothing left for him to have. However, as each day passed, we both started to adore our bond even more. The nursing got easier. I would look down at my little baby boy and know that I was nourishing him with nutrients + vitamins to help him thrive.
Now, most of this sounds like it was pretty easy going when we got started, but for me, unlike many nursing mamas. I've had trouble pumping and producing milk via pump for the L O N G E S T time. I tried everything that was given to me, lactation consultants, lactation cookies, drinking water until I'm pretty much 100% water, haha, power pumping, etc. There was nothing that worked for me. Every pumping session, I would wound up getting frustrated and upset, to the verge of tears because I was producing less than an ounce from both sides, even when I would pump before nursing. I still to this day, ask myself how my body managed to produce enough milk to get Tristan to where he is today. During these rough patches, I have had the support of amazing friends. I've had friends donating milk to me, for times when I had to go to sessions. I've had clients that understand letting me sneak away 2-3 times during their births to go feed my little man. For this, I am forever grateful that I get to work with some of the best mamas. I am forever grateful that mamas stick together through thick & thin, meaning that no matter what the circumstance is, we all know we have to do whats best for our kids.
Now, we are approaching O N E full year of nursing, as my little's one birthday is in 7 days. We have some days where Tristan wants to cluster feed. We have some days where he doesn't want anything to do with the boob. He has been solely breastfed on demand. We have breastfeed in the house, in the car, at local parks, while walking around the stores, in restaurants and more. The best feeling in the world, is being able to hit each one of those goals and still to be able to continue going on. It's also such an amazing feeling, when I look down at my little man, him smiling up at me, looking me in my eyes and bringing his little hands up for me to kiss them. Him knowing that I am there for him whether he's hungry, sad, upset, hurt or just needing comfort.
We've had some pretty nasty comments. I've dealt with some horrible incidents as well (who remembers the ihop breastfeeding incident)? I've gotten people tell me that I should stop nursing him at 6-8 months because he started solids and should be able to eat 2-3 meals a day. I've gotten asked the million dollar question, about when am I going to stop nursing him? Truth be told, whenever Tristan is READY to stop, ready to wean himself, is when I will be willing to stop. I will not take his nourishment and vitamins away from him over someone else feeling like "he's too old" or "he can eat solids, so why nurse him". Those are selfish and as a mother, your child's needs always come before yours.
I am so proud to be where we are today and I will continue to feed/nurse my little one, regardless of the dirty looks, the snarky comments and rude remarks. I am so happy to be celebrating O N E full year this month, of nursing. I am literally so excited for what this new year has in store for us, as a mama + baby.
ALL IMAGES TAKEN BY: Wild Prairie Photography, based in Colorado Springs, CO.