Breastfeeding has become a popular topic. The pressure to breastfeed is everywhere. It’s in the media, it’s the old lady at the YMCA asking if you breastfeed, it’s the latest article stating the immense health benefits, it’s your acquaintance on Facebook that has proudly breastfed both of her children until they were 3, it’s everywhere. If you haven’t felt the pressure, you’re lucky. If you have, you’re not alone!
I’ll be honest, I’ve become a breastfeeding pro and am proud of it! And by “pro”, I mean it’s working this time. But geesh, this did not come easy. Let me repeat: THIS DID NOT COME EASY! You see, 8 weeks ago I delivered our third child. He’s my breastfeeding success story. But this was simply not the case with our first two children. I wanted to breastfeed. I was determined to breastfeed. Quite simply, my children had other ideas for feeding. Breastfeeding didn’t work for them. It was months of stress, anxiety, forced feedings, and an insane amount of failure driven thoughts. Finally, after months of forcing something that wasn’t working I stopped. And guess what? My children were still healthy, happy and thriving! It all turned out ok.
With my 3rd child I promised myself I would not fall into the same stressful and anxiety-driven journey. This time I got lucky. It worked and it worked well! This little bundle of joy nurses like a champ. Third time’s a charm. Cue my Rocky impression, hands held high, victory dance to Eye of the Tiger! I did it! Finally! After 2 failed attempts at breastfeeding and finally 1 success I wanted to share what I’ve learned.
To the Mommas who aren’t nursing:
Whether you tried to nurse or never wanted to, good for you! Though you may hear “Breast is Best”, the truth is YOU know what is best for your child!
If you feel like you failed, that is not the case! In a few years when your children are attending elementary school and thriving, it will not matter, nor be discussed, how you fed your child. Trust me, my daughter is entering the 2nd grade and not one of her teachers has asked if she was breastfed.
If you have a friend, acquaintance, or someone you see on social media thriving at breastfeeding, don’t compare yourself. Let me repeat this, do not compare yourself with others who are doing things differently. You can admire someone else’s journey without questioning your own.
To the Breastfeeding Mommas:
Breastfeeding is hard business! If someone hasn’t given you a big “Great job, Momma!” then consider this yours for the day. It takes commitment and dedication to be a breastfeeding momma and you my friend are doing awesome!
Try not to stress! Keep doing what you’re doing. If it works for a month or a year, you did it! You nursed your little one and that’s a success.
Don’t compare yourself with others. Whether your breastfeeding journey is easy, difficult, enjoyable, miserable, or something in between, it is yours. Be proud.
Recognize your accomplishments. Whether you pump and get an ounce or pump and get 8 ounces, you’re doing great things.
Be yourself. Whether you are a mom who can proudly nurse in public or a mom that uses a nursing cover even inside your own living room, you are beautiful and doing great.
You see, at the end of the day, breastfed or not, what really matters is that you love your little one and do what’s best for them and for you. You’re a rockstar mom, whether using a bottle or a boob and don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.