Let me just start by saying that society says "breast is best", but as long as your baby is fed that is all that matters. No mom shaming here!
When we announced our pregnancy my mother in law made it very clear that I needed to breastfed to ensure the baby‘a health. She provided me so much information on the benefits of nursing such as protecting against allergies and eczema, healthier digestive system and reducing the risk of SIDS.
Although I was open to the idea of nursing I had told myself that if it didn't work out I wouldn't force it.
For me breastfeeding was like a rollercoaster ride. A ride that I rode way too long.
Yes, there were some amazing moments but just as all rollercoasters do they take you to the highest of the high and when you least expect it... there goes the drop. In my case the breastfeeding ride lasted way longer than I expected. 15 months longer than expected to be exact however it wasn't all that bad below is what to expect.
The Bonding: One thing I will always cherish is the bond that nursing provided for my son and I. For the 1st year of his life I exclusive breastfed him. Every two hours I was his only source of nutrients and food. During those feedings I looked into his eyes, sang to him, he listened to my heartbeat it was magical. This is why he LOVES his mommy like no other and I honestly believe it's because we were attached for months. This is also why I can't leave the room without him running after me screaming mommy.
The Snap Back: It's no secret that mommies who breastfed snap back like a rubber band. On average when nursing you burn between 200 and 500 calories a day. If you combine that with exercise (which I did not, ain't nobody got time for that) you can burn but to 1,200 calories. Now I understand that every mommy is different but for me I was back to my pregnancy weight a couple of days after I stated nursing.
Chapped Nipples: Y'all chapped nipples are no joke. The pain from swelling and cracking was unbearable. In the moment I swore that I would never be able to get past the bleeding. I kept telling myself that it wouldn't get better and that I couldn't do it. That was a lie. My saving grace were my nurses who kept encouraging me, the lactation consultant and Boobease. It's an organic nipple balm.
Without that I would have thrown in the towel. Ladies is you suffer from chapped nipples order it.
Cluster Feeding: I was blessed that my son latched right away but, with that came cluster feeding.
For all of the new mommys reading this cluster feeding is when your baby is breastfeeding non stop. It's pretty much on the hour every hour. They just suck the life out of you. lol It was in that moment that I realized that breastfeeding was going to be a full time job. Although cluster feeding lasted a couple of weeks I now realize that those weeks were my ramp up. Cluster feeding allowed me to increase my milk supply and store it. And once my supply was gone it was time to start weaning.
Weaning: I literally had to send baby Yury to visit his grandparents in Michigan for two weeks to wean him off of me. I know it was dramatic but it was the ONLY thing that worked. It was tough but so necessary!
I've heard that many mommies do baby led weaning which is when the baby decides that it's done nursing. If I would have gone down that path baby Yury would still be nursing today. Honestly, when it comes to weaning I have no advice. All I can say is do what's best for you and make sure your consistent.
As I mentioned earlier as soon as Yury was born the nurse placed him on my lower chest. I remember him crawling up to my nipple and CHOMP. He was latched, and stayed latched for 15 months.
Even as I write this I'm trying to remember more things that I enjoyed about nursing and I can't. Yes they say it's much healthier than bottle feeding but I think at long as your baby eats he or she will be fine.