In honour of World Breastfeeding Week, West Coast Moms decided to create a collective post on our experiences with breastfeeding, our hardest, fondest, funniest, most memorable moments.
We think it’s an important topic. It’s a topic that deserves attention (no wonder it’s being celebrated every year) whether ones experience with it was wonderful or not so great.
I’ll start. My most memorable moment with breastfeeding was when I made the decision not to do it. Or rather I should say when I was OK with that decision to stop.
That didn’t happen until after my second child, Audrey, was born. I had lots of difficulties the first go, with Jack, and then the same difficulties again right away with Audrey. I took a break. I tried a second time, I even sought help from professionals on many occasions, and still struggled.
Through many tears, a lot of resentment and a lot of back and forth thoughts on it… man I was hard on myself… I finally came to a place where I was OK with not breastfeeding. It just wasn’t meant for me. I know I gave it my all. And now, three years later, I’m no longer resentful and I have the most admiration for breastfeeding mommas, especially these bad-ass West Coast Moms (and the breastfeeding experiences they’ve shared below).
I seem to have babies who are frequent feeders. They feed when they are hungry, hurt, tired, bored, and I think to see how much damage they can do to my poor nipples.
So they have both spent a lot of time popping on and off the boob daily. With my son, it was easier to "right" myself after nursing. I had less distractions. Unfortunately this isn't always the case with my second.
Recently, I was trying to get out the door when the baby got fussy. I popped her on to calm her down and within moments took a toddler shoe to the side of the head. So, I unlatched the baby to address the toddler, then promptly got them in the car and headed to the grocery store. With the help of a smile faced bakery cookie the grocery store shopping went smoothly.
It wasn't until we were walking back to the car that I noticed my nursing bra was undone and my right nipple was exposed from several different angles. Awesome...
Breastfeeding wasn't something I always figured I would do. My husband was the one who encouraged it and supported me through it. It was hard and exhausting, and sometimes painful (first teeth!).
Over the first few months, I spent a great deal of time on breastfeeding forums asking questions, seeking support, and looking for answers. I always covered up when breastfeeding out and about, and never was fully comfortable nursing in public. Until we went to Europe.
My husband took a job in France and we lived there for six months with our infant son.
The Europeans view motherhood and all things that go with it as a matter of course, and over time I shed both the nursing blanket (he never really liked it anyway) and my concerns.
Ultimately, I would just feed him when he was hungry. He self-weaned at 14 months and I felt some sadness that a thing I hadn't intended to do in the first place, was now over.
When my daughter arrived, I left the nursing blanket in the baby box at home and would nurse her wherever it was convenient, while my toddler son played at my feet. The European's open and accepting view of a nursing mother helped me to approach my second child with self-assurance and a calmness that I wish all mothers could feel. Nursing both of my children, from BC to France, and back is a journey I am glad to have taken.
Amber Regamey Marsh
I am one of those people... the extended breastfeeder.
I have had a beautiful, amazing, hard, challenging, and long breastfeeding journey. I have nursed for almost 7 1/2 years straight with just a four month break at one point, two of those years tandem feeding a baby and toddler.
I could go on and on about my experience, and that may come in another post. But for now I will share one of my favourite memories of breastfeeding.
It was when I was tandem feeding my girls. One was about four months, one was just over two. It was an ordinary day at home on the couch staring at the mess around me and laundry that needed to be folded. I was exhausted, feeling overwhelmed and that I was failing on all accounts. But then I looked down and saw that my girls were both staring so lovingly up at me and they were holding hands.
When we were first asked to write about our breastfeeding experiences, my initial reaction was that I had a pretty typical time and wasn’t sure I had too much to say. This must be like the whole “you forget the pain of labour” phenomenon.
My breastfeeding journey began when we had our daughter. I exclusively breastfed her until she was about 15 months, but it wasn’t an easy road. When she was five weeks old I noticed a lump on one of my breasts. After seeing my doctor and trying literally everything, it eventually turned into full-blown mastitis. Though incredibly painful, I kept nursing my daughter. I ended up in the hospital where they decided to aspirate the abscess. For those who don’t know what that means, it’s essentially being stabbed with a large needle and having the fluid drawn out.
When that didn’t work, I was sent home to return in the morning for surgery. I again continued to nurse my daughter, making sure she was swaddled so she couldn’t bump me wrong. Post-surgery was even worse, and I had to go daily to have the dressings changed and repacked, then every few days for about two months. Thankfully I had no further complications after that healed.
Nursing twins could be a book in itself! With the twins, I started coaching hockey when they were 11 months old, which meant A LOT of pumping when we were on road trips (often four or five days long).
I was very proud that I was able continue nursing them for as long as I did with how many challenges we were faced with.