Breastfeeding. The most natural and beautiful way to nourish and bond with your baby. Breastfeeding was probably one of the things I was most excited about to experience before becoming a mother. Everything about it just fascinates me! I mean think about it, our bodies are able to produce this “liquid gold” that has basically the perfect amount of nutrients that are intended for our babies little bodies. I know not every woman has the time or capability to breastfeed and that is okay. It doesn’t make them less of a mom, or woman at that. I just knew that breastfeeding was going to be my main priority once my little Elijah was here and it definitely is. Breastfeeding is my thing. This is my story.
The moment I reached down, grabbed Elijah and placed him on my chest was a magical one. The connection, love and bliss was there. It was as if we were waiting for each other since the beginning of time. Not gonna lie, a part of me was so nervous that I was responsible for the life of this tiny little human, but as soon as he looked into my eyes, every worry in the world had vanished. Upon Elijah’s arrival, I made it known to my nurses and doctor that I wanted to have the “golden hour” between Elijah and I. Basically, what that means is that the first hour of Elijah’s life is spent on my chest uninterrupted: No tests, measurements, cleaning, etc. for the first hour+. Research has shown that what happens during the first hour of a baby’s life can maximize the bonding experience between the mother and child and is shown to be critical to the child’s growth and development. That was something I knew I definitely wanted as part of my birth plan. About ten minutes into our “skin to skin,” Elijah started lifting his head searching for mamas milk. It was incredible. Here is this fresh baby 10 minutes out of the womb and he already knew exactly how to inch his way towards moms milk. Once he started opening his mouth, my doula helped place his little mouth on my nipple and he latched instantly. It was as if he’d been doing it his entire life (well, the whole 10 minutes of it). He was a pro!
Too be honest with you, I never got any of the chapped or bleeding nipples that everyone scared me with prior to breastfeeding. For a while, I almost felt guilty to answer when people would ask me how breastfeeding is going and if I was having a hard time or struggling. The truth is, I wasn’t, other than the lack of sleep that every parent I know warned me about. Breastfeeding just came so natural for us. We are enjoying it. So why did I feel guilty telling others that? I think a part of the reason (actually the entire reason) was that I didn’t want others thinking I was bragging about how natural it has been for us or how much I enjoy it. I mean, if you read any of my other blog posts, then you know how many difficulties I had during my pregnancy. So why is it so easy for us to express the negatives instead of focusing and being proud of the positives? I know that’s something I myself need to definitely work on.
Elijah is still exclusively breastfed, going on 5 months strong (whoop whoop) and he’s showing no signs of giving up the boob anytime soon! We haven’t introduced solids to him just yet (we’re waiting till he’s 6 months to embark on that adventure) and I’ve pumped probably a total of 9 times since Elijah was born (I know, I’m crazy. I get that a lot). We’ve tried introducing a bottle to him, but he’s just not a fan (our fault for not pushing it), but to be honest with you, I don’t mind. I love that breastfeeding is “our thing.” Our bond that we share, just him and I. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to just get out of the house one day and experience life like I did prior to having a child, but I have the rest of my life to do that. I do my solo Target runs here and there which are AHH-MAZING, but other than that, I have my little sidekick right by my side at all times. He’s my little trooper and loves running around with mama (definitely my child). Nursing in public is something that I still get a little tense about and it bothers me that I feel this way. I mean I totally cover my tatas up while I’m feeding Elijah, but I still get that insecure feeling like someone out there is watching me in an uncomfortable manner. I’m crazy, I know and for you mamas out there that can whip the tit out with full confidence, I admire you! I’m getting better I swear, but I still make sure to be super discreet and slick about my breastfeeding lol.
Mine and Elijah’s breastfeeding story is not over yet and I’m grateful to have the opportunity to share this experience with him, as well as with you guys. We have worked hard to get to where we are since day 1 and I’m proud that I am able to say I exclusively breastfeed my son. In the end, we are all women striving to be the best mothers we can be and do what’s best for our children. Just know, you are not alone! If breastfeeding didn’t work out for you, that’s okay! If you love it, then you go girl! If you’re having a rough pregnancy, stay strong and you’ll get through it. If you’re breezing through your pregnancy, then AMEN to you sista! All of our bodies are unique in their own ways. Not everyone is the same, but regardless of your struggles or successes, you should be able to hold your head high and be proud of your journey! Because in the end, it’s each individual story that makes it special.
Photography: A SIMPLE STORY PHOTOGRAPHY