Celebrating World Breastfeeding Week 2018
August has become one of my favorite months, not because the kids return to school, but that women across the world get to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week. This fantastic celebration is also to raise awareness about the importance and education of breastfeeding. Breastfeeding offers both baby and mom so many benefits! There are plenty of resources out there to explain them, but that is now what I am focusing on this week.
To celebrate this week, I reached out to my local community of mothers who are breastfeeding to share their experiences in hopes that other women will feel empowered and relate to their journey in breastfeeding. Each day, I will post a small blog about a mom and will share some of the highlights from their nursing session that I photographed.
As a mother of two children, I had the opportunity to breastfeed my youngest child. I wish I would have taken the time to book a nursing photography session with my little one before he stopped breastfeeding. Those moments, I will always cherish! You might ask why I only breastfed one and not the other? I hope by sharing it help those that are going through the same struggles.
I knew when I was pregnant with my first (a baby girl) that I wanted to try breastfeeding. I knew it was inexpensive, excellent for baby’s health, and you had a food source for the baby no matter where you went. What I had not prepared for were the post-partum struggles I would encounter.
After the birth of my daughter, I was like many new moms, sleep deprived, hormonal, and self-conscious! I had no clue the different nursing techniques but kept hearing how instinctual and natural it would be. I was visited by a lactation consultant the afternoon after I gave birth to assist with the latch and methods of holding. Although I practiced, I kept feeling something was not quite right. Two days in and finally back at home, I had a baby who often cried, hard to settle, and did not want to be laid down. Within a week I had chapped, bleeding nipples, which even the best over the counter cream or homemade remedy could not bring comfort. I visited another lactation consultant who confirmed my hold was correct; however, her latch was off. Once again, I was reassured all would go well. Unfortunately, that was not the case. Week two came and went, and my daughter began refusing to nurse. After reaching complete exhaustion, I eventually gave up and started bottle feeding. Formulas still did not cure the panicked crying or the constant swallowing and choking sound she would do day and night.
As she approached a month my daughter refused to drink the formula, and I began to worry something else was not right. After taking her to the doctors we later realized she was suffering from silent reflux also known as “Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)” which was causing her discomfort. Silent reflux is also harder to diagnose for physicians as they generally associate it with the projectile spitting up and weight loss. Another contributing factor to her pains and colic cries was she was allergic to the formulas which contained dairy and soy products. Our daughter was prescribed a hypoallergenic liquid formula which she immediately drank and was on till she was one year old.
Through the entire process, I would get feelings of guilt, resentment, and jealousy even though it was no fault of my own. When baby number two came around, I was worried that the same thing would happen again. Thankfully baby number two was not allergic. I still had latching issues and this time was advised to try a nipple shield. For the first two months, I used the shield which protected my nipples from cracking and becoming sore. It also helped my son be able to grasp the nipple better till he developed a better latch. There were moments that I wanted to give up, however, once we found our way, I was able to get rid of the nipple shield and breastfeed just fine. I successfully breastfed my youngest till his first birthday when he self-weaned. Breastfeeding provided terrific benefits that I was able to experience this time around. I am thankful to the women who kept encouraging me to not give up as well as the lactation consultants who provided helpful tips and tricks to make nursing easier.
This week I want to focus on breastfeeding in a positive environment and uplift those who are struggling on their journey. I want to encourage those who are thinking of breastfeeding to do so. Not everyone will have the opportunity to breastfeed whether by personal choice, medical issues, or other factors. The invention of baby formula was created to offer the next best option. Please enjoy the blogs which will showcase some of the highlights captured from their motherhood nursing sessions. Enjoy!