On breastfeeding

By Published On: February 25th, 2016

It’s hard to believe that it’s already the end of […]

It’s hard to believe that it’s already the end of February. My baby boy is no longer a newborn and hasn’t been one for sometime now, but I can’t seem to wrap my head around the fact that in less than six months, he’ll already be a year old. How does time go by so fast?
During this time, he’s learned how to soothe himself, roll around, laugh, communicate and play alone in his crib. These seemingly small tasks are enormous milestones, given the fact that they seem to be instinctual. It still boggles my mind when I watch him accomplish something on his own. I feel like his personality is really coming out now and, maybe it’s just me but, I think he’s a pretty happy baby. He’s outgrown his colic and usually doesn’t cry unless he’s uncomfortable or tired. It’s a relief to look over at him and have him smile back at me simply because he knows who I am.
nursing_akiraIn these six months, I’ve diligently nursed him and love that I am able to have that bond with him. It’s our time together that’s so primal and natural, sweet and peaceful. It’s something I know will calm him down and/or fill his hungry belly. It’s special and really gives me pause at the realization that I have, quite literally, been sustaining him using my body. It’s an incredible feeling.
I gave myself a goal of nursing Anaïs for a full year when she was born. She, however, had other plans. I was devastated when she weaned herself at exactly 10 months old. I desperately tried to get her to continue, but she just wasn’t having it. I felt defeated, and—to be honest—I was pretty hard on myself for not being able to meet my goal. My sister and friends told me I did a great job, that some moms either can’t nurse that long or choose not to. I took their words to heart, but there was still a part of me that felt like I had somewhat failed. With Akira, he seems to have a voracious appetite with no signs of slowing down. I have, once again, given myself that goal of nursing for a full year, but I have also told myself that if I don’t make it because he chose to wean, I wouldn’t be as hard on myself as I was a few years ago. On the other hand, if he continues to want to nurse after a year, I’d be thrilled to oblige. It’s been such a beautiful bonding experience for me that I’d like to be able to continue.
It’s been interesting (to say the least) to be in the camp of women who breastfeed in public. I’ve gotten a lot awesome support and encouragement from family, friends and strangers alike, and although I’m still shocked by it, I guess it shouldn’t come as a surprise to me that there are still people out there who believe that breastfeeding—quite possibly the most natural thing a mother can do for her baby—can still be stigmatized to be “abnormal” or “gross” because a body part has been misconstrued into something solely sexual and not accepted and celebrated for what their original function is.
There are tons of blog posts or news stories of mothers who have been shamed or berated for nursing in public, and it makes me so unbelievably sad that it still has a long way to go as being accepted as the norm. While I feel grateful that my children are exposed to breastfeeding and that my husband is my biggest advocate when it comes to it, some mothers make the choice not to nurse, while others struggle and can’t. And no matter what, how a mother chooses to feed her baby, whether it’s formula or breastmilk, she should never feel less than because of her decision. At the end of the day, we’re all moms doing our best to feed and take care of our children. And that is a feat in and of itself.