The Perfect End to My Breastfeeding Journey
August is breastfeeding awareness month, with the last week of August dedicated to Black Breastfeeding Awareness Week. If you had told me six years ago that I would have breastfed two children over the age of one, I would have laughed at you. I knew I wanted to breastfeed, but I also KNEW I wouldn’t do it longer than one year of age because….EWWW GROSS( So said childless Amber lol)
Like all things parenting, I was humbled very quickly when my oldest wanted milk longer than the age of one and when I researched and found out the amazing antibiotics, vitamins etc. that are in your breastmilk that is perfect for a growing toddler. I had a lot of hurdles to overcome over these last six years. When my son was born, I had gallbladder attacks, and I had to wait to get surgery. My son was five weeks old, and I had to go under general anesthesia. I was a nervous wreck because I couldn't get enough pumped. I remember breaking down sobbing at my surgeon's office while he was in the room, and I will never forget his face. he was so uncomfortable but tried to comfort me by saying “ Hey, that's why there is formula for these instances.” Imagine my surprise when The anesthesiologist who was working saw my new baby, and we talked. It turned out HIS wife just had a baby the same day as me, at the same hospital, around the same time lol. We reminisced on how packed the hospital was that day, how hard it is to establish breastfeeding. He made sure I was given meds that I would be able to nurse as soon as I was done with surgery. He also asked me my feeding schedule so he could put me on the list for my surgery to coincide with my feeding schedule. It was a blessing and one I prayed about, and I was sooooo happy.
Fast forward after dealing with overactive letdown and different hurdles, and I was able to breastfeed my son until he was 2 1/2. By that time, I was expecting his sister, and I would get a little bit of a break before I would start all over again. When Kiera was born, it was different. This thing I once loved to do; I was doing it because she needed to eat; I was not attached to her like I was her brother. I was her mother, I loved her, but I just felt like I was going through the motion. When she was about three months old, I remember thinking as she nursed that I wanted to violently throw her off of me and have my body back. That thought scared me, so I immediately went to my doctor (after speaking with my husband because I wanted to make sure he was in the loop and he never judged me when I shared my scary thoughts) I was diagnosed with PPD(please speak up if you believe you are suffering, do not suffer in silence. I share my PPD story here) and with meds, therapy and support from my husband I was able to continue breastfeeding.
Some days were better than the others, but I made a promise to myself to get the help I needed. I found a pediatrician who was breastfeeding friendly, I joined a mom support group that met at the hospital every Tuesday that was lead by a lactation consultant, The hospital I gave birth at had lactation consultants on hand that could help while at the hospital as well as after, I joined online groups that had nursing mothers to help me out (also run by lactation consultant and I visited credited sources online to help me in the late-night hours (Kellymom.com I am looking at you and if you are looking fro more tips you can check out my video here)
I have given up sleep, my body, sanity, clothing choices, and more to be able to do this for my children. Now, this is not to say IF you choose not to go this route, you are less than me. If you can nurse for ANY amount of time that is an accomplishment and you should be proud of yourself.
Monday, August 26th was the second day of Black Breastfeeding Awareness week, and little did I know that would be the last day that my second child would nurse from me. She was already down to one feed a day as her brother before her. We nursed, read our bedtime story, and those beautiful brown eyes slowly started to close as she drifted off to sleep. It’s has been five full days since she has nursed and I know we are done. She just cuddles now when she is hurt, no tear-filled eyes looking up at me asking me for milk. She wakes up in the morning and smiles bright telling me to get up, and there are no cuddles in the morning with just her and I as she drinks her milk and I sing to her. She stopped at the LAST week of breastfeeding awareness month, and that to me is perfect closure. We are both ready to move on to the next chapter of our lives.