This past week was National Breastfeeding Week. YAY!
It was awesome to get to celebrate breastfeeding. As I blogged about earlier, breastfeeding has been so rewarding for me in too many ways to count.
An old friend from high school told me about an event happening in the area for breastfeeding mamas to come together. While it was a bit of a drive for me, I am really glad I went to be a part of it. Even though I only knew my old friend and that’s hard for me (to be in a huge area and know few people) I am still really glad I went and got to see just how many women have committed to breastfeeding. A local photographer organized the event and offered photos for every mom to get with her little one feeding. I opted not to do the individual photos, but I did get to partake in the group photo.
Here’s the whole group picture from the event:
Look at all these mamas! I am so encouraged by this group! After the picture, the photographer asked questions to get some stats about the group. Here’s what she found:
There were 124 mamas, 127 babies and 1 baby in heaven.
Youngest baby: 6 days
Oldest: 5 years
Youngest mama: 19
Oldest mama: 44
Tandem: 4 mamas
Donated milk: 44 mamas
Exclusively pumping: 2
SNS feeding: 1
The most babies one mama nursed: 7
Farthest distance traveled to attend: 2.5 hours
Wow!! I love the diversity and the commitment by so many women to attend and to give such a beautiful gift to their babies.
Breastfeeding is natural but it’s not always easy! It takes dedication, hard work, perseverance and often times sacrifice. With the right support and knowledge, most women can have a successful journey. I think support is probably the biggest key though; finding women who have been there and are ready and willing to share what worked for them and why they chose to breastfeed.
While I blogged about having a pretty easy breastfeeding journey (which I am so grateful for), there are things that are still hard sometimes. I think it’s OK and normal to admit that it’s not always easy. For me, it’s been the dedication to always be available to my son for feedings. He’s a quick eater and he’s a snacker. Even now, at 11 months old, he wants to eat every 1.5 – 2 hours. Most babies his age go longer stretches, but that’s just not what works for him. He eats when he’s hungry and he stops when he’s full. It works for us, but it can be limiting in terms of my schedule and my plans. I can always pump for him, but pumping is sometimes a bigger pain in the butt because it messes with my supply. I start to over produce and it can just be annoying to keep up with it. (However, pumping would allow me more time away and now that’s he older, I have considered starting to pump more.)
I’ve always just enjoyed feeding him and since I was around, I didn’t build up a huge stash of breast milk. I don’t regret that because that takes a TON of time and dedication – and I didn’t want to do that. BUT, I do think I will start pumping at least once a day, so we can some milk on hand.
Another thing that’s hard is that we decided to not introduce a pacifier. We read a lot about it and how it could interrupt our breastfeeding relationship, his weight gain, my supply and it could be a huge pain in the butt to get rid of later. So we didn’t do it… (We did try to give him one when he was around 4 weeks old because we could NOT soothe him at night for like 2.5 weeks straight. We were trying anything. Lucky for us (if it’s luck?), he spit that pacifier right out when he realized no milk was coming out. So he’s never taken a pacifier and I became his human pacifier – which is essentially what breasts are for. As the La Leche League says, “The breast was the original pacifier…” BUT, being a human pacifier is not always easy. Most days I’m 100% fine with it, but there are moments, when I want to take a break and he needs me. It’s on those days that I remind myself, there will come a time when this season is over and I so desperately want to relive those moments. Oh motherhood… when you wish for one thing and then change your mind as soon as it happens.
Regardless of the obstacles and challenges when breastfeeding, I am still so glad that I made the decision to gain knowledge, find support and keep troubleshooting as issues arise. I love the gift I’m able to give him and I am so thankful for the way it has solidified the bond I have with my son.
Happy National Breastfeeding Week!