Am I halfway to my goal, or am I halfway done? It’s a matter of how you look at things…On September 10, 2016, my son will be six months old. He’s halfway to one, and I’m halfway to a year of exclusively breast feeding. This post is not to gloat by any means, it’s more about not giving up.
My son was born two months premature, and we spent almost a month of his life in the NICU. My dreams of breastfeeding my son seemed like such a far away fantasy, when a feeding tube was down his throat, in his nose, and all I really cared about, was taking him home. In the NICU, you can’t take your baby home until they can breathe on their own, maintain their own body temperature, and eat on their own (and the list goes on)…
I figured I’d take my son home and be exclusively pumping, or that my son would be on formula. I didn’t think breastfeeding would ever happen, but I also never gave up. Some nurses took the time to help me, and some just wanted to get the baby fed. Today I can say, that it’s the hardest thing I’ve EVER done, but I 100% made the choice to do so, and stuck with it from very early on.
Every single second of the day, in the back of my mind, I’m thinking about feeding my son. I watch what I eat, drink, and do 24/7, because it effects my milk supply. When I think I need more, or need a little help to the supply, I attach myself to the pump after he eats. I’m connected to my son in more ways then I ever thought possible, and I’m also connected to a pump. It’s a very challenging task mentally and physically, but I didn’t go into this parenthood thing thinking I’d skate by either.
Looking back, I had no idea how hard parenting or nursing would be, and I’d be lying if I told you I was in love with nursing. I am however, in love with my son. Even when it feels like my life is 100% dedicated to him, and I forget my needs, I know that I’m nurturing and nourishing him the way I dreamed to do. Especially because of the NICU, my main concern everyday, is “feed the baby”. I don’t think one way is better then the other by any means either. If you use formula, or breast milk, we each have our own lives, and our own needs, and as long as everyone is happy and healthy, that’s ALL that matters.
Personally, I set out a goal to breastfeed my children, and here I am, almost six months into his life still going strong, when one week seemed nearly impossible almost six months ago. There are days quite often that I dream of quitting, getting my chest back to down to a “reasonable” size, not worrying so much about what I eat and drink, not being chained to a pump at my job, oh the list goes on and on. I ground myself by remembering my struggle. I spent every single day in that NICU “trying” to introduce my breast to my son. Some days he’d respond, some weeks he’d have zero interest, no two days were the same. I was consistent though, and motivated, and what is probably the hardest job of my life, finally clicked into place when the timing was right.
I write this to you again not to toot my own horn, even though I am proud of myself, it’s to tell you that it’s beyond hard work being a parent. It’s even harder being a mother and trying to decide how to feed your child. No way, and no mother, is better then the next, but my point is merely if you have a goal, never give up. It’s true I can’t wait for the day I get my body back, but I know when that day comes, I will miss the awkward and challenging days of breastfeeding my son as well.
I’m here to remind you that when your days are hard and you can’t wait for the next, just remember you’ll miss the hard ones down the road too. Always stick to your feelings and thoughts and opinions when it comes to parenting, and never, ever, ever let someone else decide how you will feed your baby. Never give up on you. Never give into society’s views…It is true that I can’t believe that I’m halfway to my year goal of breastfeeding, but will I make it to a full year?? I have no idea, but I’m almost six months into making it farther then I thought I ever physically and mentally could, and that’s all that matters today.
“Be the person you want your children to be”
Namaste, and Rock On!