Breastfeeding is one of those topics others do not talk about much, unless they talk about it all the time. Then they are the kind of freaky people who are so hardcore and overzealous about breastfeeding that you really do not want to talk to them because you are already scared to death about breastfeeding! Can anyone relate? You know who I am talking about-those people who are always saying, “Breastfeeding was the best experience I have ever had with my child.” I don’t know what kind of pills you ladies are taking, but I wish someone would have shared them with me!
I recently weaned my one year old son from breastfeeding. Before that, I breastfed my daughter for a little over a year until I got pregnant with my son. They are 21 months apart. You can do the math if you want.
My daughter was a nightmare to breastfeed. It all started at the hospital when the nurses freaked out because I was not “doing it right.” The whole year+ I breastfed her was horrible! Neither one of us ever learned a good way or the “right way” for that matter. I almost became obsessive about the way I fed her and often became upset when it did not go the way I thought it should. But I was determined because when my daughter turned 7 months old, we planned on moving to Haiti, and she needed the immunity. However, I grit my teeth and beared the pain and made it a little over a year. Hooray! Sometimes I felt trapped though, and I felt like I should not talk about it because of the somewhat hushed attitude around it. I was embarrassed, and, honestly, I did not really want to talk to anyone after the way I was treated at the hospital.
So when I had my second child, you might imagine how nervous I was to breastfeed. However, I knew the benefits and wanted to try again. Also, we were moving again. This time to Bangkok, Thailand. So once more, I wanted to make sure he got the same, good immunities his sister received. It was easier this time. I think because I was more experienced, but also he just did better too. However, again, I became very systematic in the way I fed him. I only used one position because I was not confident feeding any other way. Each time, I was scared to ask for help.
I write all of this not to terrify you, but to encourage you. If I would have just faced my fear and my pride, I probably would have been much happier at each feeding. It is too late for me to reach out, but I want to embolden you to reach out for help if you need it. Do not just settle for complacency.
Also, I want encourage those of you who have successfully breastfed to reach out to a mother you know is breastfeeding and inspire her, even if it is a bit awkward for you both. I guarantee you will both be fulfilled. Also, if amazing breastfeeding is your reality, please try to keep your boasting to a minimum because most of us breastfeeding moms are not having the same experience; we are struggling.
So my plea to you is seek help when you need it and encourage when you can. I believe you will not regret it. Furthermore, your child will thank you too!