Well, it’s coming up to one year of breastfeeding and I admit we have come a long way. Well that’s not totally true, Emsley hasn’t done all that much but I myself have come a long way. A lot has changed since day one of breastfeeding, right after giving birth to Emsley at the hospital. If you’ve been following along and reading my Truth About Breastfeeding updates, both part one and part two, you’ll already know that the journey has not been an easy one. Let me take this time to remind you of how the journey has progressed, because although I think you might already know theses truths, the fact of the matter is when you haven’t experienced it first hand yourself, you likely read it, acknowledged it and then forgot it. I however, cannot forget it. It feels as though it will always be burned into my memory…
It started off with a not so great experience when I didn’t get much supervision by the nurses in the hospital during my first few breastfeeding sessions, but began to look up when I met with the lactation consultant right before I was discharged. It didn’t go as well right when I got home as I felt the pain during feedings was worst than childbirth. It then took a horrible turn for the worst when my good friend mastitis came knocking on my door, not just once but TWICE. Once those hurdles were over it became extremely time consuming and frustrating when our sessions were lasting exactly one hour in length. That really cramped my style and my ability to pretty much do anything outside of the home.
Since then however, the battle has been looking more and more in my favor. There was a plateau period around 6-9 months, which I found to be fairly neutral. Not that bad, and not that great. What was more apparent and probably distracted me from the breastfeeding sessions themselves was how accurate those little cartoons are that float around Instagram and Facebook depicting a woman’s breasts pre-baby and post-baby. I now seemed to have what looked like two birthday balloons, which were beginning to lose helium and fade away a few days after the party was over. I’m not complaining though, just in pure shock. I am grateful to have been able to be pregnant, carry my baby to term and breastfeed this past year. Do not interpret this shock as a complaint as I would not trade my empty sacs for anything. Just interesting how you can laugh at something you see at a glance but assume that it won’t ever apply to yourself until you’ve experienced it firsthand. Call me naïve I suppose.
Shifting gears to a more positive note… here is my latest truth about the world of breastfeeding: summed up, it’s not that bad and it actually has a few great aspects to it. I have always loved the convenience factor – it’s the right temperature, ready to serve whenever, I never ran out, didn’t need to carry bottles or sterilize, etc. but now over the past two months or so I have finally begun to experience the part that everyone told me would come. The bonding. The true, quiet moments where my little pumpkin stares me in the face with her big, dark blue eyes with looks of admiration and love. It’s during these times that I realize how these moments are becoming fewer and further between as she explores the world, learns new skills and becomes sadly, but also excitedly, more independent. I am grateful for these moments together. Where her and I can escape the business of real life, the interactions with others and truly be with each other, even if it is only for a few minutes. For the first time I can admit that I will likely be sad when all this breastfeeding is said and done. For starters, because my ultimate goal was to keep going until she turned one, and that means that that time is near and that her baby days are coming to an end. But mostly because it means that these rare, bonding moments of cuddles, smiles, staring contests and giggle fests are also coming to an end. I know they will be replaced with new versions in the future but for now it seems like a loss. Who would have thought that something which begun so terribly could have had such a positive outcome? Not this girl.