baby proof: breastfeeding.

March 16, 2015

baby proof: breastfeeding | reading my tea leavesIt’s taken me nearly 10 months to write this post. Everytime I sat down to write about breastfeeding, I would stop.

There would be voices in my head telling me that no one wanted to hear another sappy story about a woman nursing her child. There were voices telling me that a post about breastfeeding would come across as insensitive to the people who don’t or can’t breastfeed. What about the new babies who have two dads? Surely, the world doesn’t need another post proclaiming the health benefits of breastfeeding. This isn’t a post meant to convince you that what you’re doing with your baby is anything but fine.

But if I’ve learned anything since becoming a mother, it’s that the world doesn’t  have enough talk about breastfeeding. Or natural childbirth. Or postpartum recovery. Or child-rearing generally. At the same time that we’re utterly bombarded with “mom” articles, I’ve found myself wanting more. So I’m writing.

There are days when I think of breastfeeding as my superpower. My impossibly tiny boobs are feeding a human being. I am purely mammal: a blue whale, a leopard, a kangaroo. Improbably pumping out a magical, nourishing elixir for my own human animal. It’s staggering.

But there are other days when breastfeeding feels like a burden. I can’t wear half the dresses in my closet. I had to wear breast pads for at least five months and still, when I nurse in the middle of the night, whatever boob isn’t being suckled spurts milk. I have leaked through my clothes in public. I have rushed home to pump with aching breasts.

I have cried when I couldn’t pump enough milk to fill a bottle. I have sat strapped to my electric breast pump wailing against the inborn patriarchy that means that I have to be the one to nourish our child.

I have cried because I can’t think of a single thing sweeter than the tiny hand of my daughter reaching back to play with her hair while she nurses. Or the way that she stretches her fingers to touch my lips when I look down at her. Or the way that her lips crack into a smile and she can’t continue nursing because her grin is too wide, laughing at her own private joke.

I’ve wept because I can’t wait to stop nursing. And I’ve wept because eventually I will.

In the first days of breastfeeding, the physical transformation was mind-boggling. My breasts were so engorged that I couldn’t put my arms down, like a bodybuilder whose bulging muscles keep his arms permanently lifted away from his sides. My nipples were tender. My armpits were lumpy. I texted friends for advice. I bawled to my sister who hopped on a subway bearing nipple butter and a breast pump. I drank cup after cup of tea to help with my milk production and fortify my spirits.

But eventually Faye learned to nurse and I learned to nurse her. Together we made it happen. The misery lasted for two whole days, which is not very many days. The slight discomfort for just a few weeks, which is not very many weeks. I’ll get to nurse this baby for a year or two, which is not very many years.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, all blessings are mixed blessings. But they’re blessings all the same.

This post was sponsored by Traditional Medicinals, whose Mother’s Milk and Mother’s Milk Shatavari Cardamom teas I’ve enjoyed regularly as a part of my breastfeeding routine. Thank you for supporting the thoughtful, sustainable companies that support this blog.

Photo by James.

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78 Comments

  • Reply Hannah S March 16, 2015 at 12:55 pm

    I think its great that you are writing about breast feeding and doing an honest portrayal of it. Those who dont care dont need to read it. I think its funny how most things you read about pregnancy and child birth and breast feeding seem so magical and something no one should say no to if they have the opportunity, but those people are holding back…. I like that you speak the truth. Thanks for the inspiration post. Your a great mama!
    http://www.southernfolly.com

  • Reply Sophia March 16, 2015 at 12:55 pm

    I love this. And I love hearing about what other women are doing when it comes to breastfeeding. Right now, my daughter is almost 17 months and I'm still pumping at work. I get anywhere from 2-4 ounces during the day now; I know, not much. But there's ritual to all of this. As mildly painful (or excruciating) as it is to wash those bottle parts every. single. night., as much as I yearn to jump into the "we just nurse mornings and nights now" pond, and as much as I don't want to worry about having less and less milk because of a decision I make, I'm not ready yet to change a thing.

    • Reply Emily C March 16, 2015 at 5:55 pm

      Oh, those pump parts! Why are they so awful to wash? I wound up using a hand pump because it meant that much less to clean every night.

    • Reply Erin March 16, 2015 at 6:28 pm

      I did the same, just a few weeks ago! What a difference!

      • Reply admin March 16, 2015 at 8:19 pm

        Thank you, friend!

    • Reply Sophia March 16, 2015 at 8:11 pm

      good idea!!

    • Reply Erin March 16, 2015 at 8:17 pm

      Game-changer! (I've used this one)!

    • Reply Sophia March 17, 2015 at 12:59 pm

      ordered! I can't wait to try this.

  • Reply Miyabi_Na March 16, 2015 at 1:38 pm

    "The slight discomfort for just a few weeks, which is not very many weeks. I'll get to nurse this baby for a year or two, which is not very many years."

    Oh this line completely pulls at my heartstrings! The same could be said about every aspect of motherhood! Thank you for this beautiful post about breastfeeding… I'm glad you decided to write it!

  • Reply rachaeldiab March 16, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    Such a lovely post. ♥

  • Reply Sarah Stapley March 16, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    <3

  • Reply emily @ cabin fervor March 16, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    Yes to all this. I felt honored and empowered to nurse my first baby for 10 months, after which she lost interest entirely despite my best efforts. (She had learned to walk and has barely sat down since.) It was a bittersweet transition, one that came much sooner than I had planned. I would miss those sweet moments with her, but I was also relieved. Nursing was a grueling 10 month endurance race for me, a small person with a naturally large chest, which made it hard to find nursing bras in my size and comfortable and flattering things to wear in general. I endured an average of one plugged duct every 3 weeks and mastitis several times, despite doing everything "right" and seeking medical advice. I pumped 3 times a day at work from the time she was 8 weeks old–decidedly not as "natural" a feeling as actual nursing!–and thankfully my husband recognized how much I hated washing and sterilizing those tiny pump parts and made that task his own. It was a hard phase, but 10 months isn't so long. In 10 weeks I'm expecting another baby girl, and I'm looking ahead to nursing with tenderness–knowing how sweet and truly fleeting that season is–but also preparing for those days when it feels like a slog.

  • Reply tornyiildiko March 16, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    thank you for this heartwarming, beautiful, honest and wise post.
    +
    congratulations also to all companies which choose to sponsor such enriching writing!

  • Reply werejustdandy March 16, 2015 at 2:58 pm

    Beautifully written. I read this while I was feeding my 3 week old and it was like you were writing from inside my brain (but more eloquently ;)). I have seriously mixed feelings about breastfeeding, which has been making me feel a little guilty, so it's nice to know I'm not alone. I had just about given up on the motherhood "articles" that litter my Facebook and Twitter feeds (10 things every new mom should know! 18 things never to say to a breastfeeding mom!) so thank you for this.

  • Reply werejustdandy March 16, 2015 at 2:58 pm

    Beautifully written. I read this while I was feeding my 3 week old and it was like you were writing from inside my brain (but more eloquently ;)). I have seriously mixed feelings about breastfeeding, which has been making me feel a little guilty, so it's nice to know I'm not alone. I had just about given up on the motherhood "articles" that litter my Facebook and Twitter feeds (10 things every new mom should know! 18 things never to say to a breastfeeding mom!) so thank you for this.

  • Reply Anonymous March 16, 2015 at 3:10 pm

    This is so beautiful, Erin. I wish you all the best, taking your words deeply to heart while waiting, wondering, if this experience will be mine.

  • Reply moni.zuza March 16, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    Yes to all of this. We had a hellish few first month (until we clipped his tongue) but I am so glad I struggled through all the tears and pain and frustration. And even though not every day is easy (especially ones that require the breast pump which I consider to be my mortal enemy), the beautiful moments you mention make it so worth it. Thank you for sharing.

  • Reply Linds March 16, 2015 at 3:48 pm

    Such beautiful words. I love breastfeeding for the same reasons you outline, but there are moments when I imagine the freedom that comes with no longer breastfeeding. I nursed our first son for 13 months and am currently nursing our 17 month old son. I think we are done having children, so I am ultimately just trying to enjoy this deeply special and uniquely intimate time for as long as I can. The bond shared while breastfeeding has been like nothing else for me. Thank you for your words.

  • Reply Joy March 16, 2015 at 3:59 pm

    What others have already said – and, thank you to Traditional Medicinals for sponsoring this beautiful post. I'm home sick and am enjoying a cup of their Throat Coat tea now. It makes me happy that they are behind this.

  • Reply Amanda March 16, 2015 at 4:05 pm

    ALL BLESSINGS ARE MIXED BLESSINGS. BUT THEY'RE BLESSINGS ALL THE SAME.
    See also: Wishes come true. Not free.

    • Reply Erin March 16, 2015 at 8:18 pm

      Good 'un.

      • Reply admin March 17, 2015 at 12:39 am

        Respectfully, I disagree. I think it's awesome that I was able to write about something that's deeply personal and meaningful to me and to be supported financially at the same time. I think that's sponsorship at its very best.

  • Reply Baltina Hong March 16, 2015 at 4:33 pm

    Erin,
    Thank you for writing this post and sharing your stories about motherhood, babies, and everything in between. It is empowering to her about other women choosing natural birthing choices, and to see that it can be done. I am looking forward to one day being able to share my own stories.
    Thank you!

  • Reply Heather March 16, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    Beautifully written. I'm still nursing my daughter and I share ALL of these feelings. There are many ways to bond with your baby, but for me, nursing has been the sweetest. We're close to my goal of 1 year, but I'm not ready to give up my super power just yet 😉

    Thanks for this post!

  • Reply Julia March 16, 2015 at 4:52 pm

    excellent post, thank you. i stopped nursing my son at around 15 months (i definitely thought we would go longer) and it was the right time for both of us. i had heard that your relationship with your child changes (not necessarily for the worse) when you stop nursing and i was afraid of that. but we got to the point where i didn't actually think that it was an integral part of our relationship anymore- i felt that lying down together and reading books or cuddling and singing songs was more meaningful for both of us. and so it was. looking at your photo i do miss it deeply, but i am also glad to be finished. it is such a conflicting issue for so many of us and for so many reasons. and it is truly an amazing power to be able to feed and grow a tiny human! good for you and thank you for sharing this post.

  • Reply Anonymous March 16, 2015 at 5:04 pm

    A lovely post. I am a first-time mother to a now 18 month old, who still nurses once in the morning and at bedtime. We had a few tough weeks at the beginning; pain, discomfort, latching trouble, etc., but it has been, and continues to be, a generally wonderful experience for us both. I share your feelings completely- some days, nursing is inconvenient and uncomfortable, but I'm not at all ready for it to be over either.
    I am glad you chose to share this.

  • Reply Kim Johnstone March 16, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    I don't have children (yet), but I so appreciate the way that you talk about pregnancy–birthing–baby-rearing–breastfeeding–all of it… in a way that is personal, and not littered with advice. Not meant to place one thing or choice above another. Advice is wonderful, and for most, wholly welcome. But it can often feel one-sided, and this, refreshingly, is not.

    Thank you for posting and going with your gut on this one.

    Kim

  • Reply Emily C March 16, 2015 at 6:05 pm

    Breastfeeding is such a superpower! (And with great power comes great responsibility…) My daughter is 15 months old, and we're still nursing in the morning and evening – and through the night, on some nights, as she's still sleeping with us more often than not. It's been such a wild ride. I dealt with an overabundant milk supply for a good long time – I was wearing those uncomfortable breast pads up through a year – and it took a while for my milk to balance out with what my daughter actually needed. For a while I was passing on frozen breast milk for a friend's daughter, too. It is so hard to balance the knowledge that it is an amazing thing to be able to sustain the life of a little baby solely with your breasts, and such a beautiful relationship, and yet such a battle. I remember when I was back at work starting to pump wishing that we lived in a place where a mother had the choice to be paid to stay at home at least until her infant wasn't only eating breastmilk!
    Breastfeeding is hilarious, too. Those are such great smiles to share with your child, and it's a guaranteed laugh when I spray her in the face with milk, which I mean, is so funny and weird.
    I did pull out a favorite dress that I decided it was time to wear again, as we're not nursing in the day often anymore, and it was an amazing taste of the normal-bra-and-clothes days to come.

    • Reply admin March 16, 2015 at 7:52 pm

      You will. In abundance. Without doubt.

  • Reply evencleveland March 16, 2015 at 7:38 pm

    What a lovely post. I am not planning on breastfeeding my baby, but I hope we find our own wonderful moments of connection.

    • Reply Erin March 16, 2015 at 7:52 pm

      You will. In abundance. Without doubt.

  • Reply Amelia March 16, 2015 at 7:49 pm

    Oh by golly, Erin. Whether it's a post on deodorant, or a beautiful essay like this, you gracefully hit the nail on the head every time. I'm so glad you're sharing your thoughts on stuff like this. And stuff like deodorant, too.

    • Reply Erin March 16, 2015 at 8:19 pm

      Thank you, friend!

  • Reply Anonymous March 16, 2015 at 9:55 pm

    It's a shame your honest thoughts are tied into a sponsored post.

    • Reply Erin March 17, 2015 at 12:39 am

      Respectfully, I disagree. I think it's awesome that I was able to write about something that's deeply personal and meaningful to me and to be supported financially at the same time. I think that's sponsorship at its very best.

    • Reply Lynn March 17, 2015 at 3:32 pm

      YES. Good grief. It was well-written and honest. Why do we expect people to entertain us for free, with hours of unrewarded hard work?

    • Reply Angela S March 17, 2015 at 4:23 pm

      Yet another criticism from "Anonymous". If you don't even have the guts to leave your name why don't you keep your comment ( to yourself:).

      Great post as usual Erin and I love Traditional Medicinals, so glad they got some exposure here. Moms need to know how good their products are.

  • Reply Nancy Cavillones March 17, 2015 at 2:16 am

    Sweet. And I understand. I nursed all three of mine to past a year and each time I weaned, it felt a little bittersweet. My third, a boy, is my most affectionate baby, so I feel like we still have a bit of our breastfeeding relationship still even though I weaned him two months ago.
    (Also, I fully support your perogative to write a sponsored post about breastfeeding! It's not much different than a magazine and its relationship with advertising!)

    • Reply admin March 17, 2015 at 2:58 pm

      Love you, my friend.

  • Reply Annie Johnson March 17, 2015 at 2:38 am

    I LOVE this post for everything unique and so perfectly TRUE about it! Everyone else has hit it spot on for its beauty and perfection and I have to add my voice to the masses that you were speaking my exact experience as well. My daughter (first child) is 11 months and I think we are trying to decide if we are weaning or going through a growth spurt. I envy those that can wear whatever without the thought of "breast access" for nursing but just like you, I also cringe with the thought of it being "over." Thank you for writing this post. There aren't enough of THESE *honest from the trenches* posts. 🙂

  • Reply Beth March 17, 2015 at 3:36 am

    Of all the many, many breastfeeding posts I've read, this one is my favorite.

    • Reply Erin March 17, 2015 at 2:58 pm

      Love you, my friend.

  • Reply thefolia March 17, 2015 at 7:01 am

    I agree…we don't talk enough about breastfeeding, natural birthing and encapsulating…yes we are the only mammals that don't consume their placentas. I have had three children and of course I knew in some cultures that it is common, however, it wasn't until last month when my third was due that the doctor asked me if I wanted to encapsulate. Thankfully his patients usually do take it home, so the process at the hospital was quite easy. I stunned the staff there as well with my natural birth…the key is to go at the very last minute and throw them off where they have no choice but to get ready for the catch. Enjoy your little one…these are the best time when she looks at you and you look at her in awe!

  • Reply thefolia March 17, 2015 at 7:02 am

    I agree…we don't talk enough about breastfeeding, natural birthing and encapsulating…yes we are the only mammals that don't consume their placentas. I have had three children and of course I knew in some cultures that it is common, however, it wasn't until last month when my third was due that the doctor asked me if I wanted to encapsulate. Thankfully his patients usually do take it home, so the process at the hospital was quite easy. I stunned the staff there as well with my natural birth…the key is to go at the very last minute and throw them off where they have no choice but to get ready for the catch. Enjoy your little one…these are the best time when she looks at you and you look at her in awe!

  • Reply EmmyWebby March 17, 2015 at 11:45 am

    I am breastfeeding my 3 month old. In France, because women return to work so early, my doing so is seen as some kind of British quirk. It has been easy for us and for that I will be forever thankful. She grins at me when feeding too, amazing. Thanks for the post.

  • Reply Anonymous March 17, 2015 at 3:22 pm

    This is such a great post, thank you. Erin, a question re: baby stuff for you: I think I read in an earlier post of yours that you did not have a baby shower. I feel the same way–it doesn't really fit in with my desire to simplify, simplify, simplify 🙂 But I've also heard that not having a shower and a registry can also result in even MORE stuff that you do not want or need, because family and friends still end up buying gifts. Was this your experience? I'm wondering whether it would be better to just say yes to kind relatives who want to host a shower and create a small registry of things we would actually use? I'd love to hear more about your experience and any tips you have for politely declining the generosity of well meaning friends and family!

    • Reply Erin March 17, 2015 at 3:26 pm

      Hi there: true! No baby shower for me (no real wedding shower either, though my sister did manage to wrangle a few friends for a little gift-free tea party). In both cases I did make a small registry of gifts (largely so my mom would have something to direct people to in case they asked). I'm writing a lot more about this in my book, but the no shower/small registry was a system that mostly worked for me! Good luck in finding the right solution for you!

    • Reply Anonymous March 17, 2015 at 3:46 pm

      Thanks, Erin! The no shower/small registry option sounds like a good balance. Looking forward to your book!

    • Reply Erin March 17, 2015 at 3:49 pm

      Welcome! (and thank *you*!)

    • Reply Angela S March 17, 2015 at 4:33 pm

      I agree with Erin on registering for a few items. I didn't want a shower either but my 80 yr old great aunt insisted on giving me a family-only one (total of 10 people), you don't say no to your elders in the south:) Even with so few people I still got things I would never use and even one duplicate! The only useful thing I got was a set of towels, so maybe register for that? You will need them;) Also, if you want lingerie definitely pick that out, I got some from another elderly aunt and it was awful! And a little creepy.

  • Reply Lynn March 17, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    I exclusively pumped for 2 months. That's how long it took my preemie to learn how to nurse. Sure, I could have gone to formula, but I felt awful for delivering her two months early. I was insane about it. When I weaned her at 18 months, God, I was so relieved to be done with it! And then I cried because I was sad it was over.

  • Reply catie March 17, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    beautiful post, erin.
    breastfeeding is so intimate, but so universal.
    i remember those milky grins.

    —————————————————-
    {and i love your sponsored posts – because you've selected only the most amazing sponsors}
    {traditional medicinal teas helped me over 2 decades ago, nursing my first baby – love them}

  • Reply Barb March 17, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    Lovely!

    I've long thought that being an adult means understanding that all blessings are mixed blessings and also that there are no unmitigated disasters.

  • Reply Rachel March 17, 2015 at 5:20 pm

    This was probably one of the most honest written piece on breastfeeding that I have read in quite some time. I agree, there really isn't much out there on breastfeeding, natural childbirth, post-partum, etc. I was very fortunate enough that I didn't have a problem getting pregnant but I struggled with post-partum depression. My son spent a week in the nicu and because of that it made breastfeeding a struggle. He also has rare genetic disorder and because he had trouble latching and then I wasn't producing enough, the doctors agreed formula would be in his best interest. There was a lot of emotions I struggled with because I wasn't able to breastfeed because I desperately wanted to. I completely agree with what you have to say that all blessings are mixed blessings. This piece was beautiful! Thank you for being brave and sharing your story!

    xo
    Rachel

  • Reply Emma Adkisson March 17, 2015 at 11:05 pm

    This was such a beautiful post. Thank you for writing it.

  • Reply My Little Bungalow March 17, 2015 at 11:20 pm

    Beautiful subject, beautifully written. I am not a mother, but I am strongly in favor of breastfeeding. If a woman is able to do it, it's the greatest thing for the baby and probably for the mom as well. I love the way you expressed your emotions about it — so real. And the last line about mixed blessings? So true!
    Claudia

  • Reply Julia Mallett March 18, 2015 at 12:27 am

    beautiful, thank you!! I agree with every word x

  • Reply Diane March 18, 2015 at 12:56 am

    My daughter will be 17 in May. I still remember those first days of engorged breasts – oh so painful. But I mostly remember those tender moments, just mama and baby and I wouldn't trade those memories for anything. Cherish it!!

  • Reply Sarah March 18, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    I love this post. I am having a child in July and I feel like this is one of the more important parts of motherhood but also one that I'm having the most trouble with finding resources/personal anecdotes on the subject.

  • Reply Alexa March 18, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    Wow, so beautiful, Erin. I am not a mama yet but these sentiments tugged at my heartstrings and I am really grateful that you'd share such a sweet, personal glimpse into your motherhood. This, right here, is my favorite thing about the internet—the sense of community it helps build. It really does take a village!

  • Reply Elysabeth Ratto March 18, 2015 at 5:05 pm

    You captured my sentiments exactly. I have a 4 month old daughter and despite the challenges of engorged boobs, plugged ducts, and soaking the sheets as soon as I change them, the smile she gives or the intense unbreakable gaze while she breastfeeds makes my heart burst over and over again. So glad you decided to post this. Thank you.

  • Reply Anonymous March 19, 2015 at 12:08 am

    What a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing.

  • Reply MoeNia March 19, 2015 at 6:01 am

    I understand exactly how you feel. I breastfed my son from birth. I drank Mother's Milk tea in bulk – two bags three times a day, drank a BlueMoon or dark Guiness every night after the last pump to stimulate milk production and ate carbs like there was no tomorrow. I tried exclusively breastfeeding and then moved on to pumping. Despite my best efforts, my milk production was always just enough but never more than a bottle or two ahead. My dream of having my own milk bank in the freezer never came to fruition. But what kept me motivated were the blogs and the forum posts and moms like you posting about their experience. I stopped BF when my son turned one and cried for weeks but felt relief to be back to "normal". I miss it though. It's important to talk about BF and being a mom and the good and the bad that comes along with it. This is our moment to transmit this information to future generations of young moms, older moms, and new moms so that they don't feel inadequate, or question their sanity, or feel that they aren't doing enough. This is important. The time for sharing is now. Thanks for sharing your story. I love your blog and I'm so happy you posted. 🙂

  • Reply Anonymous March 19, 2015 at 7:05 pm

    Thank you for the lovely post. It took me 11 weeks to establish breast feeding with my daughter (she had a tongue tie that was not diagnosed until she was 6 weeks, then it took awhile for her to figure out nursing). I had to pump during that time and it was terrible and disheartening, but I'm so glad I didn't give up. She is almost 2 and still nursing – after what we went through, I don't have the heart to wean her 🙂

  • Reply Anna March 23, 2015 at 9:11 pm

    I. just. love. your. writing. I cannot WAIT for your book, Erin. xox

  • Reply Anonymous March 25, 2015 at 5:57 pm

    Erin! This piece is so lovely and sweet. Thank you for writing. May your days continue to be filled with every kind of blessing.

  • Reply LuLu April 3, 2015 at 6:25 pm

    I do not belong to the IBT club (itty bitty titty) but I did have the leaking and engorgement. At 13 months my sons till nurses 4-5 times/day. And today I stopped the 1 pumping I do at work bc of the hassle and from here on out will feed on demand when we are together. I NEVER expected to enjoy nursing so much. The first few months it felt like a hassle and MAN I wish my husband could have done all of the middle of the night feedings some nights. BUT now I cherish our one night feeding. Nursing has been the easiest thing I have done as a mom. Literally zero pain or problems from day 1. (The lacto-consultant at the hospital called me a unicorn). And it has created this weird fierce mama bound with my guy. He just REALLY like nursing. So we will just keep on keeping on. 🙂

  • Reply Rebekah April 13, 2015 at 11:29 pm

    My nursing days are behind me but your words still ring so true and so close to my heart that they brought tears to my eyes. I felt all of those feelings when nursing both of my daughters, and I still feel them without trying too hard if I allow myself to think about those precious months. Our babies grow so quickly. Those quiet moments — just us two — are few and far between in life. They are a gift that I will treasure all my life.

  • Reply Anonymous April 15, 2015 at 5:05 pm

    I loved your post. I couldn´t breastfeed for more than a month with both my kids, and I feel it was both a blessing and a curse. I definetely agree with you, all blessings are mixed blessings.
    xoxo
    Agustina

  • Reply Beth R June 24, 2015 at 3:39 am

    Thank you Erin, I met you at Jess's wedding and have a 5 month old now who I'm nursing. I have experienced this many times and you describe it so well: "… the way that her lips crack into a smile and she can't continue nursing because her grin is too wide, laughing at her own private joke."
    I have to say, it's not easy to shut my door 3 times a day at the office to pump and hang a sign that says, "Physically unavailable right now, but mentally available by e-mail, phone and text" … but it also seems like a superpower, as you rightly say, worth preserving for awhile…

  • Reply Louise April 9, 2016 at 10:03 pm

    I wasn’t able to breastfeed, and I still enjoyed this blog post. I pumped for four months, tried to get my daughter to latch for six, and I still hand express small bits of breastmilk for her just because of the guilt and the feeling that I cannot let go. I loved your intro, and your honest feelings. Honestly? If more people talked about breastfeeding like this, then we wouldn’t have so many moms giving up and feeling lonely, without assistance. Many women cannot afford LCs or doulas (who need to be covered by all insurance carriers, including Medicaid imho), and I was one of them. Many feel alone and sad and guilty and depressed and awful because they don’t have help or knowledge, and the plethora of articles portraying bfing as only easy and beautiful are not helping us as moms! Of course bfing is BEAUTIFUL. Feeding and nourishing your baby in general is, but there is, of course, something innately magical about doing so with your own body, but it is hard, just like you said. It doesn’t always come naturally and women need to know that going into it, so they don’t feel like it’s just them. So thank you <3

  • Reply Sophie November 14, 2016 at 8:29 pm

    I was thinking about this post today while nursing my 2 week old son. Although last night was a night of very little sleep and a lot of feeding and nappy changes, I won’t get to do this for very long at all.

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