In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, we wanted to share some unique and inspiring breastfeeding stories.
These stories are beautiful and spark up quite a bit of emotion while reading them.
Perhaps more importantly, they are a reminder that each and every story is different and empowering.
These 4 mothers were kind enough to share their stories with us.
I run Semi-Crunchy Mama® and admin an 8300 member local breastfeeding support group on Facebook. I've been breastfeeding for 7.5 years with only 6 weeks off, including nursing through 2 pregnancies and 20 months of tandem nursing my oldest two kids.
The biggest challenges I faced were a lack of helpful information before my baby was born.
I took a hospital lactation class which was taught by a nurse who had never breastfed. Two of my babies were tongue tied, and luckily I knew where to go since most pediatricians aren't trained to diagnose them, or think they're a fad.
My oldest nursed until a month before his 5th birthday, so I got more pushback over NOT weaning, but I was very confident that it was the right choice for my child and me, so I mostly laughed off criticism.
Me breastfeeding my child doesn't impact their lives. My husband is also very supportive, which isn't always the case, since a lot of dads blame breastfeeding or co-sleeping for a loss of intimacy with their partner.
Normalizing breastfeeding is so important! Having friends and family members breastfeed helped a lot.
The best thing I did was attend a weekly breastfeeding support group so I could meet other new breastfeeding parents to connect and share stories.
Parents who were still attending with older babies made a big impact on me since we didn't have any close friends with kids near us, and just seeing the change in that relationship was helpful.
I breastfed our son for 13-months and had severe anxiety when it was time to stop because it was becoming too taxing on my body.
As a lesbian that identifies more masculine, breastfeeding was difficult for me. I struggle with femininity, so after giving birth to our son, I knew I wanted to breastfeed, but I was scared of how it would be perceived.
The biggest challenge I faced was the myth that black moms do not breastfeed, and we should rely on formula.
Even the delivery nurse made a comment about black women breastfeeding that may be uncomfortable.
She said I'm sure he'll be on baby formula in a few months. That statement was the motivation for me to continue breastfeeding.
I ended up breastfeeding and pumping for 13-months. Along with providing enough milk for our son, I was able to pump enough milk to donate over 1,000 ounces to other babies in need in San Diego county.
I pumped in Beijing on the Great Wall, on the beach in La Paz, at an airport in Cabo, and while watching the sunrise in Oahu.
Before my son was born, I thought breastfeeding would come naturally, so I didn't do the amount of research I should have before my baby was born. My son was born full-term, but he struggled to latch on to my breast properly. Although he was gaining weight appropriately, I was struggling with intense pain every time he latched on.
I had to practice breathing techniques to get through the nursing sessions. The pain didn't let up at all, so after a few weeks of this pain, I decided to seek help.
Thanks to my doula's suggestion, I reached out to a local hospital support group that hosted a lactation meeting weekly for new moms. It took a lot of effort to get there with a brand new baby, but I did it.
It was at that meeting that the lactation consultants agreed that my son had a posterior tongue tie and upper lip tie.
They referred us to a pediatric dentist. Once the dentist assessed and lasered the oral restrictions in my son's mouth, his latch improved dramatically.
It was through this experience that I realized I loved helping other moms with peer breastfeeding support and sharing the importance of education and knowledge before their baby is born so they know what they can expect and where to turn for support. After my experience, I decided to pursue a certification to help breastfeeding moms. So now, that's what I do!
Through my business, Lactation Mamas, I support new moms in their breastfeeding and health journeys as a Certified Lactation Counselor and Certified Health Coach for Pregnant and Postpartum Mothers.
At the start, one of my challenges was coming to terms with how time consuming breastfeeding can be.
Before having my daughter, I was always on the go and staying busy. During the first few months, the frequency and length of feeding puts the breaks on getting other things done. Looking back now, I wish I had been more relaxed and embraced the experience as one of the most intimate and special ways to bond with my baby.
Now that my daughter is one, I have a whole different set of challenges. I’m still breastfeeding but just in the mornings and at night. It’s been hard to wean her onto more cow's milk and water.
Breastfeeding is the only thing that really calms her down quickly and I love the fact that it’s so convenient!
Becoming a mom has helped me hugely in my work as a Registered Dietitian. During my pregnancy, I was struck by how little information I received about the connection between nutrition and breastfeeding. I now specialize in working with high risk pregnant women and love that I can provide information and support for them throughout their entire motherhood journey.
We'd like to thank these mothers for sharing their stories with us! We'd like to hear your stories as well. Submit your story here.