Let's just say, it's a freaking miracle I lasted two years and four months, because the first two weeks and four days of nursing were a total shit show. I had low milk supply that required days of CONSTANT pumping in between nursing to improve my crap supply. My newborn would take FOREVER to nurse. Sometimes an hour! And don't get me started on the nipple cripple! My kid had no teeth, yet left me feeling like I'd spent an hour with my Nips in a meat grinder!
In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, here are 10 Things I Learned About Breastfeeding The Hard Way...
1. Nursing IS NOT Plug-and-Chug. It's still baffling to me how something so "natural" can be so damn hard! Between learning the proper latch and the best hold, it took lots of time, patience and pain to get the hang of it.
2. At first... Cheese Grater. Guys, want to know what a woman goes through in the first few weeks of nursing? Hook a vacuum hose up to your nipple for 45 minutes to an hour, and then take a cheese grater to it for the same amount of time. Voila... nursing tits!
3. MY nursing is apparently everyone's business. It's really amazing. No one cared about my boobs before I had a baby, but post baby, they become the highlight of conversation, sometimes with total strangers!
4. It. Takes. A. Village. Between doctors, lactation consultants, my husband's 24/7 support, a massive pump, and a bunch of creams, I FINALLY got the hang of it.
5. HELLO MASSIVE BOOBIES! By the time my milk fully came in, I was up THREE cup sizes! Those puppies got so big it looked like my armpits grew a set!
7. There is no time-limit to nursing. The start of my nursing journey was so rough, I was sure I would never be able to make it to six-months. Every day I would tell myself, just one more day... When I made it to a year, I was sure that would be it... Not. Even. I nursed my son until he was two years and four months old. And I am proud of it, even if I did get some of the shittiest comments and rude looks. "You are STILL nursing?" Damn right I am. It's my kid and my choice. I nursed him until the time was right for BOTH of us to stop.
8. Breastfeeding is NOT always a choice. I NEVER thought I would nurse. Never. I honestly didn't know anyone who did, however, thanks to the small village and contraptions mentioned in #4, I did it, and I am SO thankful and blessed for it. That being said, my heart breaks for my girlfriends who were determined, and could not. My heart breaks for the mother's of premies who never got their milk. My heart breaks for the woman who found breastfeeding was not for her, and got chastised and shit on for not "making herself" nurse.
9. Breastfeeding is one of the very hardest things I've ever done. In my case, it took a lot of work, pain, time, loss of sleep and selflessness to nurse my son for nearly two and a half years. Even though nursing became easy enough by the sixth month, it was a very hard fought road to get there.
10. Breastfeeding is one of the very best things I've ever done. Nursing my son will always be one of my greatest achievements in life. Hard work pays off, and I have one healthy, strong, incredibly smart, badass kid to show for it!