A few stories about “what the books don’t tell you”. I’m a firm believer (and honestly, that belief is the whole motivation for this project) that we don’t typically tell the whole story about breastfeeding. In the media and our culture, we’ve gotten wrapped up in either the breastfeeding story that tells you it is gross, terrible and not worth the effort or the opposite story that tells you that, if only you will try hard enough or be committed enough, everything will go perfectly and the heavens will open up and the angels will sing while you blissfully feed your baby. Neither of these is the reality for most mothers. Telling both of those stories as the “norm” only serves to communicate to mother’s that they aren’t worthy of our honesty.
The books never mention what happens when it takes six days for your milk to come in. The books also never mention that you might burst into tears when the nurse asks you about supplementing with formula since 4 day old baby has lost over 10% of her body weight. Or how relieved you are at hearing a pediatrician tell you not to worry, the milk will come in and no, there is no need to supplement just yet. And nothing prepares you for the contented look and feel of a baby getting that milk for the first time.
From Nilijah of The Birth Well:
First week of nursing was nothing like I read in the books. Breast engorged … skin peeling…nipples raw… I am naked. Called my birth buddies…” take a shower and let the warm water sooth your breast, ” here drink this herbal lactation support concoction”. Nothing worked. I sat quite and that little voice (AKA womanly intuition) told me to call my Auntie. Auntie said, “Tell that man run get you some cabbage leaves and lay them on your breast.” Fell asleep,woke up flowing. Some wisdom will never be found in books, it’s just passed on from woman to woman.
Brady gazes into my eyes as he is latched on to my breast. He smiles and milk dribbles out of his mouth. I think, “I can’t believe I almost gave this up.” How come more women don’t talk about how difficult breastfeeding can be? I didn’t know how much I didn’t know about it. Thoughts of giving up. But then…a little encouragement, the confidence to continue, someone saying “This is whatever you want it to be…there are no rules.” SUCCESS! It is the most amazing thing I’ve ever done in my life. I can’t believe I almost gave this up!
I have extended the submission deadline for stories and because of the overwhelming response to this project, I will take stories indefinitely. There is power in your stories. If you have a story of your breastfeeding journey that you’d like to share in 100 words or less, please send them to me using the Contact Page.