"Some Days I Cried Through It" by Tia R. Reid

"My decision to breastfeed was an easy one. I come from a long line of breastfeeding mommas, and I remember being excited to join the pack. My children latched on like they'd been preparing for months, and despite the initial pain, I don't regret my journey. That isn't to say it was easy!  

With Malrey, my oldest, nursing began very painful and then turned into a mild form of boob abuse!!! I felt like I was on call as I was summoned with screams to nurse every 30 minutes. My daughter never gave me a warning whine...she nursed like it had been ages since her last feeding! Malrey's need meant that I could never be too far away, and the attachment that followed birthed an amazing connection. It took us a couple of months to get into an agreeable rhythm where we were both calm, comfortable, and used to the process, and by the time she was 5 months old, I could nurse, cook, and hold a decent conversation simultaneously…without burning the food. Breastfeeding for us became a time of bonding, and it produced an unmatched and marvelous feeling to be able to provide so completely for my baby. Malrey loved when I sang to her while she nursed, and sometimes she would even hum along while twisting her curls around her tiny index finger. My first experience was breastfeeding bliss.  

My Maijor was much like Malrey in his interest and demand to nurse, however, I couldn't thoroughly enjoy the process as I had with his sister. A c-section infection left me bedridden and under home-nursing care for several months after my son's birth. My days were spent on the couch in a great deal of pain while pushing through each feeding. The pull made it very challenging to enjoy, but I was determined to provide my son with the same start I had given his sister. Some days I cried through it while he nursed and soothingly tugged at my earlobe, having no idea of my pain. I remember being so disappointed when I eventually had to introduce formula to supplement Maijor's feedings. I felt like a failure with a task that had been so easy for me as a first-time mommy, and I couldn't shake the defeat. At first, I was afraid that he would despise the bottle like his sister before him, and initially, he did, but within 3 days, I think he developed the grace to accept that breastmilk in bottle form was our next best option. I pumped as often as I could so that Maijor could still reap the benefits of my breastmilk, and after a while, he didn't even seem to mind if it was formula or mommy milk. Maijor was just happy to have a full belly. On some occasions, as the pain eased, I could nurse him, and I was blessed because he always latched on excitedly even if there wasn't much to meet his need. Sometimes it would only be enough to settle his crying, and he would fall asleep with his little hand on my earlobe. I was so sad when my breastfeeding journey ended. Maijor was only 9 months old, and my last baby.  

While my breastfeeding experiences were very different with each of my babies, I feel blessed to have even had the option. The connection and attachment developed during those moments are immeasurable, and I will always treasure the impact it had on me as a mommy."