Little Sunday Story Time Peach by Ayana

My Breastfeeding Journey 

My journey began 9 years ago when my eldest Daughter  Zakyrah was born. I was determined to breastfeed her and I was able to do so successfully. This was around the same time that Similac had a major recall on powder formula and my moms co- workers 4 month old died from exposure to tainted formula. Scary! I thanked myself everyday for sticking to my guns because breastfeeding is far from “cupcakes and rainbows”. There were nights I cried, there were days I was afraid to nurse in public because the side eyes and hard stares were overwhelming. I supplemented then, especially after the guy stared down my nursing cover on a public bus. I felt ashamed but I couldn’t deprive my hungry baby because in the end of it all her being fed was essential. Over the course of 14 months I found my groove but then I started to despise breastfeeding and my baby started to hate it too. She would spit out the milk and ask for food instead which made me that much more upset. But then it all made sense, I was pregnant again. Zakyrah ended up self weaning shortly after and I was actually grateful because I was so sick that pregnancy. Zaliyah was born In September of 2011 and I was back in the game. This time I was experienced and I knew what worked and what didn’t. Or did I? Zaliyah hated bottles, she never ever drank from one EVER! When she was around  7 months old, I returned to working full time.I was terrified of having to almost force my child to take a bottle.And that’s when I discovered my issues with pumping. I would pump for an hour and barely see half an ounce. I tried different pumps and still very little results. Back then I didn’t know about supplements and things I just tried the old fashion stuff like staying hydrated and pumping while baby nursed. Very little worked but believe it or not Zaliyah was fine without me .My little baby started solids and would drink water and baby juice while I had to work. Nursing became our time. She would nurse on demand when I was around and my husband would even bring her to my job to nurse if I worked a long shift. Again, we had found our groove. Obviously the older she became the more food she ate and nursing seem to be less and less. When she was 19 months I decided to wean. One of the worst decisions I feel I ever made. I was pressured by her age and the fact that she was eating mostly food but I realize now I possibly damaged her emotionally by forcefully weaning . She wasn’t ready to be done, I live with that now. My third child was born March of 2014. I went back to work after 6 weeks and this would be my hardest time breastfeeding. I pumped as much as I could but I worked full time and bringing her to my work was not an option for this baby. I typically could provide 2 bottles while away but never much more than that so I again supplemented. Breastfeeding Zariyah went on as normal and at 14 month PP, I was once again pregnant. Zariyah wanted nothing to do with me. She simply stopped and went about her life and never cared to nurse much ever again. Zaniyah was born November of 2015 and breastfeeding her was so easy. I felt like a seasoned pro. Nothing was stopping me. I didn’t work much this time so pumping was some what easy. I only did it when needed it and I used Mother’s Love ( supplement) to help produce more when I needed. I also made lots of lactations cookies and balls, me and brewers yeast were besties for 6 months straight. Fast forward to now, Zaniyah is still knees deep and turning 3 this year. Our nursing relationship is so cool. We talk and laugh and have a general understanding. There are days where we sit around and nurse all day, but also days where we don’t nurse at all. I have no intention of forcing her to wean. I’ve witnessed her slowly lose interest in boobie and evolve into a big girl. The overwhelming negativity surrounding breastfeeding has definitely become worst this time around. I’m in no shortage of hearing “ she’s too big “ or “ what your gonna wait till she 7 to stop”. Although this is super discouraging I put my best face forward. I stand my ground and maintain my beliefs, something no one can take from me. Sometimes I want to cry, I feel so alone in my journey but thank goodness for instagram and this community that makes me feel empowered.