Kickoff: Breastfeeding Awareness Month & Our Story

10:32 PM Posted by Erin


A few months ago, my sister-in-law gave birth to a baby girl. Knowing how passionate and "experienced" I am on the subject, I was more than happy to offer my requested advice. I gathered up several brands that had gotten me through my early days of nursing and once I had a few awesome companies on board I learned it was actually Breastfeeding Awareness Month so I figured, let's do a blowout. Now, I've never held a carnival or giveaway theme in any way so I hope you will enjoy what my lovely and generous sponsors will bring you this week as well the guest posts I have planned. And now for my breastfeeding story....

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.


14 comments:

  1. Cat@3KidsandUs said...

    No judgments from me. I firmly believe in allowing your children to self wean, whether it be 4 months or 4 years. I nursed my first daughter until she was 14 months old, the last time was hard for me emotionally but she was ready. Feedings were down to once or twice a day and I nursed her one last time before bed and never offered again, nor did she ask.

    You'll know when your daughter is ready.

  2. Christine said...

    What a great story and I am sure it is hard to put yourself out there. My oldest was in the NICU for her first six months and I pumped the whole time and it never worked as much as I wished it had. My youngest breastfed for a full year and it was a beautiful experience, and she is a really bright healthy girl so I know how much she benefitted. My mother is from Europe and this is not uncommon there to go sevreal years or elsewhere culturally. I applaud you do what works for you and your family.

  3. The Petersons said...

    No judgements here. I breastfed all 3 of my kids for a full year. I really don't think it's up to anyone else to decide if you should still be breastfeeding or not. If it works for you and your daughter, great. (And now I have a confession to make, uh oh.) My 3year old still sleeps with a pacifier! I'm sure some people would think that's horrible. But honestly, I don't really care what they think. He goes to bed so easily with it and I'm not about to give that up! (hugs)

  4. Amanda said...

    I applaud anyone who has a successful nursing relationship with their child. Both attempts on my part didn't work out for us. You have to do what's right for you and your family.

  5. Whitney said...

    That is a beautiful story. I sorry you lost your mother at such a young age. I think your daughter's name is so pretty. I wanted to breastfeed my son so badly, but by 2.5 months I just wasn't producing enough. I hope to be better educated and last much longer with baby #2. I think each family should do what is best for them and not worry about what anyone else is doing or thinks. Love this post!

  6. Marianna said...

    Thank you for sharing such a personal story. No judgments from me either. I also believe that choosing to breastfeed and for how long is a personal choice and is no one else's business. Kudos to you! I breastfed my oldest for 1 year and my twins for 2.

  7. tara said...

    Thank you for sharing your story. I nursed both of mine until they were ready to self wean. My story is on my blog. It sounds like you and your daughter have a beautiful relationship, you'll know when she's ready. :)

  8. This Mommy said...

    Good for you! I wish I was more dedicated with my kids, both attempts were a failure due to lack of suppor, knowledge, negative lactation consultants, you name it! My daughter nursed until she was 3 months old... Very sad.

  9. Lizzie said...

    I wish more people knew about the benefits of extended breastfeeding, especially the ones involving cancer. It's amazing how something so simple and natural can do so much good.

  10. pantrygirl said...

    Hugs! Thank you for sharing your story.

  11. Frantic Holly said...

    You know I was powerless over our breastfeeding with both kids. But I applaud you for making it work with Rachel. Let her wean when she's ready to.

  12. Judy - MommyNewsBlog.com said...

    What a beautiful story. My son just weaned at 3 years 11 months. You can read our breastfeeding journey here: http://tinyurl.com/bfingjourney. Thanks so much for sharing yours and showing the world that "extended" nursing is part of the norm!

    Judy

  13. Anonymous said...

    Bravo, mama, for putting aside other's hang-ups for what you believe is best for your family! I'm not sure if you've ever attended, but I find a lot of support from my local La Leche League meetings. We have SEVERAL mothers who do extended nursing. It's nice to be surrounded by women who have similar values and not feel like you are the only one.

    Rebecca

  14. Lynn said...

    Hats off! Thanks for sharing your story with us. I say mom knows best and if I could still be breastfeeding I would be. Beautiful story and daughter as well.