First off, let me say that I always knew I wanted to breastfeed. My mother breastfed my sisters and I, and I guess I grew up watching it go down and so it became part of my world. When I first shared with others that I planned to breastfeed, I have to admit the reaction was mixed. I'm pretty sure some people I know were like,"really?! why?" or even "gross". But it felt right to me. I wanted that closeness, that nurturing experience, that bond that nursing really forms (even if it sometimes feels like that bond is pretty much between your boobs and the baby). I read a book on it. I took a class on it. I asked some of my nursing mama friends candid questions. But nothing can really prepare you for what it's like until it happens.
Anyone who has nursed their baby knows the first two weeks can be really tough (the nipple sensitivity, the cracking nipples, the crying, the wondering if you're doing it all wrong, the frustration and feelings of failure, the constant contact where you wonder why you even bothered wearing a shirt). But if you can hang in there and make it over the hump, it gets easier and easier. When Everleigh was one week old, I was struggling and asked some friends and family members for nursing advice. When my mom shared with me that she had nursed most of us girls until we were a year old, I just about fainted thinking about how much I was struggling and how long eleven months and three weeks more of this sounded.
All the pumping and the teas and the worrying about supply, all the leaks and accidents and discomfort and ugly bras. A year seemed like a lifetime.
But now? It's easy, pleasurable, and a really special time for me and Evie. She still nurses about 4 times during the day and 1-2 times every night. I have come home literally every single day for lunch to nurse her since returning to work when she was 6 weeks old. I have sacrificed in many small ways, but it has all been worth it.
Now as her first birthday approaches, I'm planning to continue with extended breastfeeding and baby-led weaning. Thinking about this special time coming to an end makes me sad, although I know the day will come (and no, I won't be like that British lady who's still breastfeeding her 8 year old or whatever).
So to you pregnant chicas or newly nursing mamas, I have to say--hang in there because it gets better. Try to slow down and enjoy the quiet moments because they are really gone in a heartbeat. Oh, and invest in some good bras. I actually kicked my nursing bras to the curb awhile back and found that Victorias Secret Incredible bra (especially the one with the front clasp) is so much prettier, more comfortable, and gives your girls a little boost which we can all appreciate, right?