In about two weeks, I am going to nurse one of my children for the last time. I’ve drawn the line at Issa’s birthday, and while I know some moms will chastise me and say I should let her wean on her own, I’m truthfully done. Two years is a long time to do anything on a daily basis, and I’ve nursed her multiple times a day, every day. We started off much smoother than her sister’s breastfeeding journey, but it hasn’t made Issa’s any less special.
(Note: If the idea of extended breastfeeding is weirding you out, read my post on why we made that choice here.)
Looking back, I’ve breastfed two babies for four years total, so I’ve lived and learned a lot through that time. I’ve shared my tips, my moments of frustration, and my joy in the midst of it all. But now that chapter is coming to a close, and I’m feeling oddly nostalgic. I know this will be such a short period in the grand scheme of my motherhood, but it gives me hope to know that there is another new mom who is just about to start down this path at any given moment. Here’s what I would say to her:
Can I call you that? You may be snuggling a newborn at the moment, or you may have just seen some faint pink lines on a pregnancy test, but regardless, you are a mama now. You may be thinking breastfeeding isn’t for you, or you may be thinking it’s what you’re looking forward to most, but wherever you fall on that spectrum, I want you to know first and foremost I support you. I just want you to feed your baby. I don’t care how that happens.
But if you are willing to give it a shot, if you are willing to endure a few weeks of discomfort and getting the hang of things, I can promise you you won’t regret it. Even if you stop within a few months. Even if you keep on trucking until your baby is five. Every drop, every time you feel your little one snuggle against you, it will be worth it. I’m about to wave farewell to that time in my life, and I can promise you I’m already so, so glad I didn’t quit on my bad days.
On top of that, I already know that there are things I wouldn’t change for the world. Some are practical, others less so. For example, invest in those good nursing pillows, girl. I love the My Brest Friend, but find what works for you. Just know that extra cushion in the first few months will feel like heaven to your tired little body. Also stock up on lanolin, nursing tank tops, and breast shells. Trust me, they are all lifesavers.
Second, schedule an appointment with a lactation consultant sooner rather than later. Save some money away in your baby budget. Call your insurance and find out if you’re covered. Do whatever it takes to make that happen if breastfeeding is really important to you. Because the moment you need help (and you probably will unless you’re part of the freakish 0.05% that gets the hang of breastfeeding right off the bat), you don’t want a silly thing like logistics to get in the way.
Lastly, tell everybody about your journey. This is important. Tell your family how much you’re looking forward to breastfeeding. Tell your partner how much you need their unconditional support to keep going. Tell your friends how amazing it is, and even tell them when it’s tough. Because everybody knows the benefits of this liquid gold. But unless they know how valuable it is to YOU, they can’t properly be there for your growing little family.
And who knows? Maybe someday you’ll be at the end of a long and happy breastfeeding journey, inspiring another mama to give it a shot. Maybe you’ll have tears running down your face realizing that all good things must come to an end. Eventually our little ones won’t need physical nourishment from us, but they’ll always need our loving presence in their lives. It’s bittersweet to be sure, but our babies are worth it.
Here’s to the journey, mama. You’re going to rock it.
P.S. Consider this my baby shower gift to you…a $50 gift card to Diapers.com! Enter below:
P.P.S. Thanks to Nakturnal for sponsoring this post. Don’t worry though, all opinions are my own!