adventures in breastfeeding

i breastfeed my son. i’m not embarrassed about it, either. i’m a modest woman, but you won’t find me hiding in a bathroom in order to feed the little pea. life is too short. at first i would always use a cover, even around friends. certainly part of it was that i didn’t want anyone to catch a sneak peak of something i didn’t want them to see. but a big part of my breastfeeding story is that it was painful at first. and when i say “painful at first” i mean about the first 6 weeks of keaton’s life were spent agonizing over whether or not to just give up breastfeeding altogether. breastfeeding was (and still is) important to me, but the pain of cracked open nipples was starting to outweigh any health or personal benefits i was seeing from breastfeeding. i spent many nights waking trevor up crying, asking him to hold the baby while i pumped milk out in order to help ease the pain. i am not overstating it when i say that my breastfeeding pain the first few weeks was more intense than labor. 100% truth right there. it was overwhelming and all encompassing. and i’m not forgetting what labor was like, it was one of my strongest and most cherished memories.

at the 6 week mark i took a break from one side and fed keaton intermittently on the other side and pumped the all-to-painful side every couple of hours. i was attached to the pump for that week and i hated it. but, my doctor told me that i wouldn’t heal any wounds until they had a break. so break i did. when the week was up, i was terrified to try again. i knew a big part of my problem was positioning. i watched breastfeeding “how-to” videos while feeding keaton for the first time back because i wanted to make sure his latch and positioning was perfect. i was amazed at the difference it made. i could feed my son without crying. i felt like a decent mother! and i felt like keaton could finally share similar sentiments as this guy:

i kept up the high level of awareness about my positioning for quite a while- i didn’t want to slip back and lose any of the strides i had made. keaton was a great learner, always patient and understanding when i had to break his latch to try again. i was thankful i didn’t have a screaming baby on my hands during an already potentially stressful situation. when feeding outside our house, i was sure to cover myself and spent an inordinate amount of time making sure everything was perfect. slowly but surely, i didn’t have to spend so much time worrying. it was freeing. and beautiful. and helped me gain confidence about the type of mom i was, and the type of mom i could be.

now keaton and i spend our mornings laying tummy to tummy on the bed, keaty eating his breakfast and me watching in awe at how far we’ve come. laying down to feed him, which didn’t happen till about the 4 month mark for me due to being a bit worried about the new position, is one of my biggest accomplishments. it sounds silly, but being comfortable enough in our feeding routine, and spending that incredibly precious time just cuddling in our bed … it brings me to tears to think about how far we’ve come. and not the type of tears i would have been crying had i not figured out how to breastfeed properly. tears of accomplishment, of pride, of love.

i am SO thankful i kept with it. amidst the pain, the frustration, the overwhelming sense of doom about impending feedings … i now look forward to that sweet time of giving my baby the best nourishment he could possibly have. i can nurse without a cover now because i feel a sense of comfort not only with the mechanics of it all (and not giving a peep show while i’m at it), but with my body and what it was designed to do. in some situations i will cover myself, but only when i feel like i want to- not because i am afraid of what other people might say or think. the oversexualization of the female body has gotten out of control, and i am taking my boobs back from society. these awesome pieces of me feed my son, and if you don’t like it … well you can look the other way.

i write this all not only for my own memories of keaton and i’s journey in breastfeeding thus far, but to encourage anyone out there who reads this … you can do it. i promise you. i thought i would be done breastfeeding at 6 weeks and felt completely defeated. but here we are, on the eve of keaton’s 5 month birthday, enjoying every minute of it!

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