In honor of World Breastfeeding Week and National Breastfeeding Month in the US, I reached out to mom friends and asked them to share their breastfeeding stories. Breastfeeding often has a woman look at her own breasts in a new light. Here is Holly's story.
My breastfeeding story is something I am especially proud of. I will admit, I did not do enough reading before birth about nursing, because I just figured it would all work out. I watched my stepmom nurse my three brothers when I was growing up and somehow I thought that was enough. I didn't have a real plan other than to feed her when she needed for as long as she needed. My own mother did not breastfeed me, it was the early 70s and out of vogue, but I always knew I would breastfeed my child.
My daughter was born on a Friday evening after 3 days of induction. After an easy birth and a quick touch to my belly, the nurses took her across the room to check her out. As my husband and I learned later she came out with the cord wrapped around her neck. In a few minutes she was in my arms and, honestly I am not positive, but think she went straight for the boob right away. This could very well be made up by me because that girl loves her boob! She latched on and rarely let go. Until well after a year she would nurse 10 to 12 times a day. She is now 3 and a half and nurses around 5 times a day still.
Like I said, I never had a plan. I just figure she will nurse until she is done. I've been very lucky. It hasn't been hard, but it hasn't always been easy. Sure, my back aches most days from her waking up at night to nurse and I am so sick of nursing bras, but I feel very fortunate that I never had to feed her any formula. I am a thrifty gal and it was a point of pride for me I suppose that even though I never felt like I produced a ton of milk when I went back to work and had to pump, she was full and happy. I am also lucky that I work evenings and could nurse her all day as long as she liked.
The greatest gift breastfeeding, especially extended breastfeeding, has given to me is a sense of power in my own body and the ability to over look it's "faults."
To see a life being nourished and sustained by the breasts I've always felt self conscious of, let those negative body image issues fall away.
Who cares if one of my boobs points down?! I have nourished and soothed an amazing little girl for almost 4 years with these breasts. I am doing it now as I'm writing this. The hardest part for me was nursing uncovered in public. It took me 10 months to throw that blanket off and just let my child eat. Since, I have nursed her anywhere and everywhere: art museums, pools, airplanes, even right on the sidewalk in downtown LA, where not one person noticed. When it comes down to it I've learned that I breastfed as much for her as for me. I'm not sure how this story will end or when, but I'm grateful for being able to give her part of me. And to be able to have looked into those sweet eyes peering over my breast for as long as I have.
Holly documents her motherhood journey on Instagram as @mrstheclassical