world breastfeeding week

When i was pregnant with Poppy i decided early on i was going to breastfeed. I knew the benefits of breastfeeding far surpassed that of formula feeding and i wanted to provide the best for my baby. i researched & read as much as i could about it, i attended a breastfeeding class, i talked to my girlfriends who successfully nursed their babies, & i picked out my pump provided by my health insurance - (thanks affordable health care act!). I was committed to the fact that i was going to be a breastfeeding mama.

And i am one. Poppy has been breastfeeding for over nine months now, & that makes me so proud. Proud of myself & proud at how well she has thrived off my milk alone. I'm proud that she is perfectly healthy and has always been in the upper percentile for height & weight, proud that she continues to hit all her developmental milestones early, proud that she has (knock on wood) never been sick - despite being exposed to a sick mama, dada & nana multiple times. I'm proud of baby boo & so proud of my determined/stubborn self for not giving up.

Breastfeeding has been an incredibly wonderful and equally challenging experience. The human body continues to amaze me with what it is capable of. I think back to the first few weeks postpartum and remember crying my eyes out while she nursed, curling my toes in tremendous, excuriating pain. It was terrible, but i was determined. Sometimes, my sweet husband would come in the room and quietly suggest that maybe we try an alternative for feeding Poppy, and i would lash out at him for suggesting an "alternative" which really meant formula. Didn't he know i had basically likened formula to poison in my head!? How could he suggest that for our girl?? Ha. Those were dark days, but I swear it got so much better. Sure, I'm a working mom who at times felt like a milk machine with the constant pumping, and sure i have spent countless hours stressing over how many ounces of milk are in the fridge/freezer BUT i continue to be so glad that i stuck it out. She nurses at night/morning and happily takes bottles of my milk through out the day.

In those first weeks i didn't know if i would make it to my original goal of 6 months exclusively breast fed. But we got our routine down... it became so natural, and easy. And now? Well now, i feel like an advocate for it.

There is so much negativity surrounding breastfeeding in our country. People have actually responded with "ew" when they learn i breastfeed. When i was pregnant and people would ask me if i was going to breastfeed or formula feed i would always honestly say my goal was to breastfeed. The responses varied, but typically, & often ,it would go one of two ways - I would either be commended for it, or more frequently, i was questioned why & told i wouldn't be able to do it. How's that for support? Why is it ingrained in us that nursing is near impossible even though most women can do it? Why is formula often considered the first option when nature and science tell us it's greatly inferior? Why is it when you advocate breastfeeding mothers who formula feed often become irate because they believe you are suggesting they are bad mothers?

When you breastfeed you are giving your baby the best possible start in life: physically, emotionally, and intellectually. Science supports this. It has been a wonderful journey for us thus far & in honor of world breastfeeding week i felt inclined to share my own experience. I'm not comfortable enough to post a brelfie (see: breastfeeding selfie) but i do stand behind the #normalizebreastfeeding movement.