My inner hippie chick was released as soon as my pregnancy was confirmed. I made the decision early on to try breastfeeding, although the idea admittedly freaked me out a little. However, when Jackson was born, breastfeeding didn’t come naturally for either of us. I remember the first time I tried to nurse him, three hours after he was born. I couldn’t get him to latch correctly, and we both ended up crying and frustrated. I had my first new mom doubts about the decision I’d made.
But I’m a bulldog momma. Once I make up my mind about what I feel is best for my child, I rarely change my mind. I’d had pregnant daydreams of rocking Jackson in the glider, and nursing him gently to sleep. So I let myself be guided by instinct and I buzzed a nurse to schedule a visit with the hospital’s certified lactation consultant.
This was, hands down, the best parenting decision I’ve made to date.
The first time he successfully latched on, as the lactation consultant guided us, tears of joy sprang to my eyes and I knew I’d made the right decision not to give up during those first few frustrating days.
Months later, I was making breastmilk smoothies and pumping at work like a pro! The early days of tribulation had become a fading memory, thanks in part to the support team I’d assembled: the lactation consultant I met in the hospital and called as needed, my local La Leche League, the hospital’s in-person breastfeeding support group, a Facebook group of local breastfeeding moms, and a few coworkers who were also pumping in the office. With advice and support from these women, Jackson breastfed for 33 months.
Breastfeeding him helped us both in so many ways, in addition to giving him the best nutrition possible. Jackson was a high-needs baby, and nursing soothed and comforted him when nothing else could. As a mother who suffered from postpartum depression and anxiety, I, too, was comforted, as breastfeeding provided me with a few quiet and calm moments every few hours, when we would stop whatever we were doing and simply enjoy some skin-to-skin contact alone together. Further, once I got the hang of it, breastfeeding boosted my confidence—which, as a new mom, I desperately needed!
This post is part of BlogHer’s My ‘I’m a Mom Moment’ editorial series, made possible by Seventh Generation.