I am a 28 year old woman with three beautiful, yet difficult children. I gave birth to my first at 19 years old. Even being young and uneducated on many aspects of parenting, I still pumped my breastmilk for a little while. My first born, who is now 9, has severe ADHD, ODD and mild depression. He was born at about 38 weeks gestation. These days, I often wonder had I made more of an effort to breastfeed, if that would have impacted the struggles he faces today? While I try not to dwell on the “what if’s”, I do believe it would have. I was young, and yes… naive. I made bad choices and didn’t have the best parental figures to learn from. I gave birth to my second child when I was 27. I still had a lot of learning to do, but at this point, I understood just how important breastfeeding was. To be perfectly honest, the first few weeks were heartbreaking and painful. I struggled with engorgement and latch issues. I tried a nipple shield to help with her latch and also my discomfort. Sometimes it helped, but sometimes it didn’t. I supplemented with formula when my daughter was still very young. I cried many times over what, at the time, I thought was a failure. I got back on track and my sweet daughter was nursing and doing great. Around 10 months old, her teething began. Oh, how my sweet girl would bite! Once again, I found myself crying. I thought was a failure, yet again. I resorted back to formula and by the time she was 11 months, she wasn’t breastfeeding at all. I was so disappointed in myself. Now, I realize how great I actually did. I did the best I could, and that’s all anyone could ask for.
I am now 28 years old and my youngest is 9 months old. I didn’t mention this before because it is off topic, but my first two children were c- sections. My first 3lbs 14oz and my second 5lbs 11oz. Since then, I have educated myself about vbac’s and was attempting a vba2c (vaginal birth after 2 cesarian sections). I remained pregnant until 41 weeks and 3 days. My body did not progress, so I opted for a repeat c-section. He was delivered at 8lbs 11oz! This was a huge difference for me. I was very nervous when it came to breastfeeding. Could I really provide nourishment for a child who was so much bigger than my first two failed attempts at trying to make it to one year nursing? The answer is YES! My little guy is currently 9 months old and exclusively breastfed! We practice baby led weaning, which basically means he still relies on the breast, but samples table foods he is interested in for fun. I am confident we will easily make it past one year breastfeeding!
The way I see it, there are two morals to the story. The first one being; when you know better, you do better. The second being; practice makes perfect. Well, at least as perfect as humanly possible. Being a Lactavist ranks top priority above all my other causes. My personal breastfeeding journey, like most women, has been full of trials and tribulations. But, at the end of the day, when I look back at my children and our breastfeeding journeys, I feel one thing… PRIDE.