10:32 PM Posted by Erin
I was a breastfed baby. Photos of my mother laying down nursing me still exist and I fondly recall how endearing and emotional those pictures affected me even as a small child. Sadly, When I was 18 my mother passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. It was one of the worst times of my life. Sitting in the funeral home I can remember saying to my grandmother, "If I ever have a daughter, she will be named Rachel after my mother." My grandmother grabbed my hand with tears in her eyes, and without saying a word thanked me.
Fast forward three years and those darn genetic boob-blessing (curse) wore me down. At 38DDD I just could not take it anymore. I found a good plastic surgeon to perform a breast reduction and begged him, please make it so I can nurse just in case I ever have kids. No promises were made but I did it for my own comfort, appearance, and happiness. And I have never regretted it.
Then I met my husband. We quickly became pregnant and at twenty weeks, my prayers were answered, the ultrasound tech confirmed the baby we carried was a girl and she would be named Rachel Claire. I would get to have a mother/daughter relationship that was taken from me so many years before. Our pregnancy and birth was uneventful aside from pre-eclampsia and the fact that she'd not dropped making a natural birth impossible. But she was born healthy and strong and breastfeeding my newborn made me feel close to a mother who was so far away.
We struggled through our first several weeks which included flat nipples (resolved by shields) and a lazy latch not to mention negative lactation consultants who discouraged trying due to my surgery. However the BFAR (Breast feeding after a Reduction) was no issue and she was able to nurse without supplementation. And she still does. Yes, our breastfeeding story includes the fact that my three year old extend nurses. Which means she continues to breastfeed.
Now, I am aware this is a controversial subject and perhaps something many do not understand or agree with but I've finally come to realize it doesn't matter what others think. Say I'm perverted, say I need to cut the cord (but trust that I am ready to be done as soon as she is), and say I am harming my child but consider this...my three year old began child care at three months when I returned to work and pumped for over a year... this little girl has never had an illness last longer than 24 hours, never had an ear infection, is bright as can be, and independent to a fault. Add in the fact that I am reducing BOTH of our chances of certain breast and reproductive cancers and I just know Rachel and I have made the right choice for us. So judge me if you like. But I'll respect you for the choices you believe are right for your children no matter how you chose to feed them, how 'bout you do the same for me? I'm just so tired of women being criticized and made to feel like less of a mother for NOT choosing to nurse and at the same time having it thrown back at those of us who nurse "too long". These are our babies and we'll decide what's right for us and for them.