My Breastfeeding Journey

ATTN Male readers (if any):  this post may make you feel uncomfortable or may contain photos you prefer not to view… read at your own risk!

I debated a post on this… but as our precious baby girl Xanthie has arrived, this what a lot of my day (and night) consists of.  And since this is not only a blog about health, and food and green living, I’m trying to add more about our family and family life in this home!  So here are some of my thoughts and experiences!

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Xanthie nursing within a few minutes of birth!

Thankfully I’ve been able to breastfeed all four of my little ones.  I know that sometimes isn’t a desire or sometimes isn’t possible for some.  I thank God daily for equipping me with the ability to nurse my children.  I also thank God that I’ve been blessed with more milk than my children need and with the last three births I’ve been able to share what God has given me.

It is additional work and time and effort and some minimal cost to pump extra to donate, but I also think it is very special.  I feel honored that I’m able to bless a little baby somewhere with healthy milk to help them grow, mature and develop.  I know the mamas who have received milk appreciate it and are very thankful they have some breastmilk to feed their children besides just formula.

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Breastfeeding Xanthie(3 days old) at an outdoor music concert.

But enough of that… it has been a special part of having babies for me, knowing that it provides a new time to bless others as well.  However, there is so much more than just that!

Breastfeeding does take a lot of time and I do need to be the one getting up with baby through the night, but sometimes even when baby is finished nursing I just sit and stare at them.  Enjoying their sweet smell, hearing their restful breathing and just enjoying the snuggles before time passes all too quickly and they are grown and running around.

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Breastfeeding Koa at Easter

I’ve known since I was young that I wanted to nurse my children… in fact I didn’t really think there was another option!  My mother breastfed me and my four younger siblings, so I really didn’t even know there was any other option!  I also remember other mothers sharing milk with those who were in short supply.  It was normal for me and just a natural part of living in close community with other families.

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Tonchi learning that breastfeeding is the natural way to feed babies!

Thankfully each of my children has been quick to learn to suckle (within a few minutes of birth) and it has come pretty easily for both baby and I.  My milk always came in on the third day after birth which always gave me a happier newborn!

Aisling at a few days
Aisling at a few days

I can’t say it’s all been fairy tales and roses though… I’ve had my share of the run of the mill issues as well, engorgement, blocked ducts, mastitis, sore and cracked nipples, babies with lazy latches that caused a lot of pain, unexpected letdowns, and other such excitement!  However,  we have been able to work through all of them and press on!

In fact, each time I get a blocked duct or mastitis it is usually early in the life of the newborn and I know it’s because I felt great and tried doing too much.  I usually feel almost 100% back to normal within the first week after birth, but that always seems to bite me in the boo boo…. I end up trying to fix dinners, do laundry, take a few trips too many up and down the stairs and etc and etc in the life of a mama!  Thankfully, taking a step back, resting and a few other natural remedies I’m able to get it cleared and healed!  It’s certainly uncomfortable in the process, but thankfully we have been able to get it cleared up and move on!

My children also don’t want to learn to take the bottle until they are 3 months old or older.  This has been tough since I have return to my job when they are 6 weeks old.  I feel bad for poor hubby as he has to fight them to take it and usually has at least 4 hours of a screaming little baby until I get back home.  Those days are hard, especially when I call home on break and hear my little baby crying and there isn’t anything I can do until I get off.  Those days are really hard…

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Breastfeeding Aisling during a trip to NYC overlooking the Manhattan Bridge!

But even with the struggles and hard work that it takes, the pleasure and bonding is so worth it!  With each baby I look forward to sitting and snuggling and taking that time that I HAVE to sit down to nurse the baby when I have 1000 other demands of the day.  It makes me sit, take a moment to put my feet up and enjoy this new little one that has joined our family!
The International Breastfeeding Symbol

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