10 Things I Learned About #Breastfeeding The Hard Way

Without a doubt, my biggest accomplishment in life next to having my child is exclusively breastfeeding him, well past his first birthday. Like every other major accomplishment in my life, it didn't come easy.

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!

6. There is no rest for the weary nurser. Nursing is 24/7. Every two hours without fail if I wasn't nursing, I was pumping. It took nearly 6-months to get everything to level out! Needless to say, I was one tired, cranky big boobie bitch!

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!

April is an award-winning writer and blogger. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more on April, Visit AprilMcCormick.com


Morgan @ Morgan Manages Mommyhood said...

I loveI've love nursing. My son is almost 15 months and I'm still nursing him to sleep. It's such an incredible bond to have someone rely on you and only you for the first six months of their lives. I do agree with so many of these.. especially the 24/7 part! My son never took a bottle so it was all momma all the time and still is.

Andrea said...

It is awesome that you nursed him that long, way to go! We made it to 15 months which I am proud of. You hit all the highs and lows in your post. It wasn't easy, but worth every moment.

Tasha said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE this. Baby M and I are "in the thick" of our breastfeeding journey and it's been tough as hell. Happy to know that others struggled through it, but were ultimately successful!

April McCormick said...

My kid was anti-bottle too. Breastfeeding is such a special gift. Sure it's hard, and totally 24/7 for like 365!!! but OMG, SO SO SO worth the struggle.

April McCormick said...

15 months is PERFECT! I think I may have gone a little too long, but we moved during the last 6 months of nursing, so I didn't want to shake up his life too much. Towards the end, nursing was more about comfort than nourishment.

April McCormick said...

THANK YOU! Yes, I think way more struggle than not. In fact, I RARELY hear of the 'plug and chug child', especially from first-time nursing mommies. It may be natural, but it sure takes some time to get the hang of the latch and hold. Congratulations, keep it up momma, you are Solid Gold!