Nine months into breastfeeding my third baby and I’m all sorts of emotions about it all. Part of me can’t wait to be done, but there’s a small part that’s sad that the baby phase of raising my little boys is almost at an end. It’s weird this whole motherhood thing. Each phase and lesson learned, every day and passing year is filled with a dichotomy of emotions. Third time around and I’m still realizing that there’s never a clear cut way to feel right about anything when it comes to parenting.
This post is sponsored by Evivo. As always, all content and opinions are my own.
I’ve written before about my different experiences with breastfeeding, but the emotional part has been pretty much the same each time. I go through the ups and downs of breastfeeding and ride it out until the one year mark when the boys can have regular milk. I’m going to be straight up honest with y’all. There’s a huge freedom for me that comes with the end of breastfeeding. Three times around the breastfeeding block and I’ve never fallen in love with it. While I’m grateful that I’ve been able to breastfeed all three of my babies, I’ve never been the mom that’s been all about it. Don’t get me wrong, it was my desire to breastfeed and I was lucky enough to choose to do so all three times. But, it’s been more of a practical decision than an emotional one.
Here are a few lessons I’ve learned breastfeeding my three kids:
It’s hard and it hurts. And it’s totally normal that it can feel unnatural.
I’ve mentioned it before in my previous posts. But, as a first-time, second-time and even third-time breastfeeding mom, it’s never been “easy” or “natural.” I struggled each time in the beginning. At a time that it is most critical to ride it out to ensure a lasting feeding journey. Emotionally and physically, it took a lot out of me. No one tells you that in any class. And I was too laid back to read any books or articles about it to really have any insight into how any of my breastfeeding journeys would turn out. Keeping it real with you mamas, the struggle IS real. And this is coming from a mom who chose to breastfeed each time; who didn’t even endure the pains of any infections, like mastitis or thrush.
You learn new things each time.
My two older boys didn’t get the benefit of baby probiotic as part of their feeding during their infant years. I simply didn’t know anything about it. Did you know that the first six months of baby’s life are critical for his immune and metabolic development? Yeah, me either, not until I learned about it this third time around. With breastfeeding B, I’ve learned a lot about the good bacteria in the baby’s gut that creates a strong, protective wall and keeps out the bad bacteria.
It’s crucial to make sure your baby’s gut is on the right track from the very beginning, so it has all of the good bacteria it needs while it’s still in the development stage. By addressing the issue of gut health during this early window, it allows baby’s gut, digestive system and immune system to continue to grow, protect and thrive before introducing solid food around the 6-month mark.
I’ve learned with nursing each of my babies, that each baby is different, and that you need to go with the flow of what works (or doesn’t work). Don’t force it and don’t stress out over how well things are (or aren’t) going. There’s so much pressure on moms to be ON all the time. Especially when it comes to the topic of breastfeeding. Give yourself some grace and take it day by day.
It is okay not to love it all the time.
I love the quiet moments when I can escape to another room to just be with my baby. I love the extra snuggles and the way they fall asleep on my chest. But, I don’t feel that way all the time. And that is absolutely okay and perfectly normal. Being the sole food source after being pregnant is something that can be very wearing on a breastfeeding mom. It is okay to want a break. It is okay to be ready to wean. While I deal with mom guilt in other aspects, this is one where I’ve learned to give myself grace.
Be proud of yourself.
I’m proud to say that each journey met a personal milestone that I set for myself and my babies. I’ve shared in the past about my breastfeeding triumphs, but at the time, I viewed them more as expectations. Now that my third breastfeeding journey is coming to an end, I’m proud of myself for making it this far, (three times). It is quite a feeling to know that I’ve been able to breastfeed all three of my kids and that I survived the hardships I faced in reaching this point.
It’s hard to admit, without sounding like someone who takes it for granted, but mentally and emotionally, I’m mostly ready to be done. It’s definitely bittersweet, seeing my littlest babe grow and flourish so quickly (as they all tend to do these days ). I’ll cherish the next few months and hold onto these last nursing sessions as they swiftly pass me by. But, I will also smile knowing how fortunate I’ve been able to write this story with an honest voice. And I hope that it reaches anyone who feels like I do, to know that you are not alone. And that all of your feelings are valid.
Must Haves for Breastfeeding Moms: (aff links)
- Organic Bamboo Nursing Pads – Love these, helps saves my bras/shirts from leakage.
- Hakka Manual Pump – Must have to not waste a drop of liquid gold. Nurse on one side, use this on the other. This has a suction and catches all of the milk from leakage.
- Spectra Breast Pump – Hands down my favorite pump, over the freestyle, pump in style, etc. Hospital grade and the quietest pump ever.
- Bravado Nursing Bra – Comfy without being bulky. My fave nursing bra.
OTHER POSTS RELATED TO BREASTFEEDING:
- HOW TO TRANSITION FOR PUMPING TO NURSING
- HOW TO BREASTFEED A DISTRACTED BABY
- HOW TO ADD IRON INTO A BREASTFED BABY’S DIET
- BREASTFEEDING STRUGGLES FROM A THIRD TIME MOM
The End of Breastfeeding & Lessons Learned
Thank you for this post. I am weaning right now with my one baby, my husband does not want any more. Originally my goal was to make it 6 months and now that he’s 8 months old it’s longer than I anticipated. I feel soo lucky I was able to make it to this point but I am also exhausted and ready to not carry my pump to work with me everyday. I struggle with the decision to transition him to formula for these last few months and I’m keep saying each day that this will be the last morning I nurse him when he wakes up but I keep going as I struggle with the decision to let go. Either way, as you describe, it is an emotional journey and so different and yet the same for all of us. I want my body back and want to give him the best at the same time.
You are an amazing mama! We are our own worst critics. Good luck during the weaning process and please let me know if you have any questions! I know it’s a difficult process to end as well. Thinking of you, Caitlin!
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