World Breastfeeding Week is August 1-7 and is celebrated annually on a global scale. It helps promote, support and bring awareness to the many benefits it provides.
In honor of this celebration, I personally get to celebrate the fact that I gave my daughter something that money couldn’t buy, something straight from my body that was made specifically for her, and something with unbelievable health benefits, both for her and I. The best part was the intense bond we created since day one through this natural action between mother and child, which is the most incredible thing. I’m so fortunate she was able to latch soon after giving birth and how great she had been ever since then. I had planned on exclusively breastfeeding her until she was ready to stop on her own.
Breastfeeding is definitely a journey from beginning to end. It is also not for everyone for different reasons and each person has a different journey. This is simply my personal journey with my first child.
Before I gave birth to my child, I took a breastfeeding course just to get the 101 on breastfeeding. I simply wanted to have as much knowledge on the subject as possible before my daughter’s arrival. Did you know that breastfeeding delays menstruation for up to eight months after delivery? Or how it reduces the risk of viruses, urinary tract infections, inflammatory bowel disease, gastroenteritis, ear infections, and respiratory infections in babies? Check out the many amazing health benefits breastfeeding provides for you and your baby!
I was fortunate that my baby was able to latch shortly after she was born. As soon as she latched it felt as if the room went empty and it was only her and I in there. It’s a hard feeling to put into words. Maybe it has to do with the oxytocin release or the “love hormone” after childbirth, but it definitely kick-started our bonding journey with breastfeeding.
Even after participating in the breastfeeding class, you can fully gain knowledge from hands-on experience. I had a certified lactation consultant come into my hospital room the next day. She showed me how to latch her correctly. It really helped to have a specialist to personally show me the ropes for my beautiful breastfeeding journey ahead.
My daughter and I were definitely a good team when it came to supply and demand. My milk flow was nonstop because of her frequent feedings. It felt as if I was always attached at the boob 24/7 for the first couple months with feedings every two hours. Thankfully I didn’t have to pump or bottle feed her since she had her preference of only being breastfed. It actually made it easier for me. Since I didn’t have to clean any bottles, pump all the time, warm up the milk or measure every feeding. Of course, I did have to pump on a couple occasions when I needed a serious letdown. Boy did those hurt when the baby was asleep! Eventually, the nursing sessions became less frequent than the newborn stage as the months went by.
I’m also so grateful for having my husband and fur child by my side throughout this hectic but rewarding chapter in our lives. The support and help he offered when I felt like a zombie for that first couple of months will not be forgotten.
Even after she was introduced to solid foods, she was still consuming a healthy amount of breastmilk every day. When she reduced her feedings to twice a day at about 18 months, I had a feeling that the end of our breastfeeding journey was coming to an end. A little less than a month after that, at almost 19 months, she decided to completely stop on her own. My plan from the start of our breastfeeding journey was that I would let her stop on her own timing.
Was I sad that it had ended? Maybe at first because I was used to our routine and closeness for almost 19 months. But then I realized that we had an unbreakable bond because of those beautiful 19 months on our intimate breastfeeding journey. Now she is onto the next journey of her growth, and that is potty training. Just because one beautiful journey ends doesn’t mean there aren’t more awesome ones to come. But our breastfeeding journey is definitely very special to me and my baby.
I’m so proud of my body, myself and my child. The power of a woman is that she can grow life, birth life, and sustain life. This week (and every day) is to celebrate the parents that breastfeed, bottle-feed, formula feed and simply care for our little humans every day around the clock. In the end, you don’t need a cape to be a superhero!