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Breastfeeding: A Love Story

So many women think breastfeeding is a natural thing that will just happen organically after birth. I didn’t.

Maybe it’s my hypersensitivity or the way I always happen to run into the horror stories, but I was preparing myself for the worst.

I defended formula feeders because I was formula fed and really, who am I to care, much less judge someone for their decisions on how they feed their child? I’d expect the same respect.

Choosing to breastfeed started as an attempt, something I thought I’d endure through blood, sweat and tears just so I could save money. After my baby came, I waited. And the blood and sweat never showed up.

There were tears though–Oh there were tears. But not from the pain like I imagined it would be.

There was pain. In the beginning as I got used to her latching on. Then the cramping breastfeeding would cause in my uterus returning to it’s smaller size. But I made it through those moments.

The first night home was the worst. That’s when the tears came. My milk hadn’t come in and my baby wanted to eat all night. Looking back I guess I could have supplemented that first night home to calm her cries but then, I didn’t know they were because if hunger. Nevertheless we survived.

Now, her having nothing but food from me, and having made it through the proclaimed “Hell weeks” I have a little internal game going on. How long will my milk be all she gets?

stealthly nursing

I don’t plan on nursing past a year right now, but before, a year even seemed like an impossible feat. Mostly because of my job. Now I’m optimistic, though I know the day she finally eats something else will be a shot to my pride. My 13.5 pound 7 week baby came from me… I did that! It’s amazing to see.

I’m returning to work soon and I’ve been pumping daily to have a stash, and I hope to keep pumping when I start working. Hopefully enough to not have to supplement for a while.

I have a can of formula in my cupboard. Enfamil sent it to me and I didn’t throw it away like many suggested. It’s not like I don’t have will power, or like it’s poison. There may be one day I need it, or perhaps I’ll donate it. I know many friends who tried to breastfeed and couldn’t or didn’t for whatever reason, and it wasn’t an easy transition for any of them.

I cried when my baby had her first bottle at two weeks, fearing she wouldn’t breastfeed again.

Then I cried at six weeks when we tried to give her her second, third and forth bottle, but she wouldn’t take it.

I thought breastfeeding would be something I would just endure until I couldn’t stand to do it anymore, but instead it’s become something I love more than I could have imagined.


I thought I’d breastfeed for one year and not one minute more. Now, he’s nearing two and a half and I’m STILL nursing. Once it’s easy, it’s joyful. And I found it was one of the best parenting tools anybody gave me. Baby is fussy? Nurse. Baby is teething? Nurse. Baby is sick? Nurse. There’s really nothing it doesn’t cure.

I’ve recently suffered through some very painful sessions of nursing now that I’m pregnant (which often makes nursing painful) but I haven’t thrown in the towel yet because I’m afraid I won’t have any way to “fix” him when he’s upset. I’ll let him have this little “fix” as long as he needs it, and as long as I can stand it. I’d be lost without it.

Dianne says:

How sweet :0) It is amazing to think she grew on the milk your body made and only you! On occasion, I’ll feel little tingles in my chest and instinctively apply pressure (to stop the milk from leaking!)…only problem is I haven’t nursed a baby in 21 years. I think it happens when I get goosebumps :0)

Stam House says:

Breastfeeding is amazing and I love seeing little baby thriving on mama’s milk :-)BTW Good job, 13.5 lbs 🙂

For your first night at home and not supplementing, you did what was the best for make your body produce more milk, it is normal for baby to want to nurse lots before the milk comes in or just before a growth spurt, all those non stop feeding help you build your milk supply 🙂

Hoping for many more weeks and beyond of nursing love for you both!

Joyful Abode says:

It’s a good thing you didn’t supplement those first days… if you had, you might not have “been able to” breastfeed. Part of why newborns nurse SO much in the first few days is to establish prolactin receptors which are key to milk production.

So if you had fed your baby formula (or whatever), she wouldn’t have nursed as much, and your body would’ve produced less milk…

It’s a delicate balance and can easily be knocked off-kilter.

I do suggest you donate the formula – someone else may actually need it, and you really don’t! 🙂 And in the off chance that you ever did (like you were put on a medication you HAD to take, which you could NOT breastfeed on) the store has more.

I prepared myself for the worst with #1 too. I think actually it’s a good thing to do, to be prepared for ALL eventualities. Like you, I found the reality much easier than I anticipated and have enjoyed the journey!

The Rogers says:

I am so glad to hear that it is going so well for you. Your success gives me hope that for my baby (which is due in 2 weeks) the whole breastfeeding thing will work out. It didn’t with my first baby. Maybe you remember me telling you about it. I don’t think its fair at all to judge others about how they feed their baby. No one knows your baby better then you. Thanks for the great post. It was just what I needed to read.

Blair says:

I’m glad that your experience has been so good. I hear a lot of women say “Nursing isn’t natural. It’s not like they tell you!” I feel that nursing IS natural, but sometimes a lot of unnatural stuff (that is not our fault) can get in the way of it. I was thinking about that earlier today when you mentioned that you were formula fed. I was FF, too. In fact I had barely seen a woman breastfeed at ALL before I became a breastfeeder myself. My first experience getting started was really tough. My baby lost too much weight (15%), I supplemented, she rejected me, etc. It took about a month to get her back to the breast. But this time (second baby), with more knowledge and experience behind me, I have to say it WAS pretty natural. I know that there are uncontrollable issues that can crop up like tongue tie, nursing a preemie, etc. but for the most part nursing is natural. But it’s not treated as the biological norm that it actually is.

As far as the formula in the cabinet–I’m glad you didn’t use it since you didn’t want to use it. But I have to say, the WHO Code is evidence-based. It’s not just about whether or not women have willpower. There are good reasons for it to exist, not that anyone in the US follows it.

If you do decide to nurse through toddlerhood, it’s a very different experience than nursing a young baby. I enjoyed it quite a bit. It was wonderful to have that connection, and to have her be able to tell me in so many words how much she loved it. It’s also much less demanding on the body (for most people–my daughter was down to just one or two sessions a day her last year or so of nursing).

Toni says:

I’m so glad it is working so well for you. 🙂 Breastfeeding is a wonderful gift to your baby, and as another poster pointed out, it is a great parenting tool. 🙂 I’ve been following your journey a bit on Twitter, and I’m so happy to read that it is all going so well. If you have any breastfeeding questions, let me know. I’ve got 8 kids and have been breastfeeding them for a total of 19 years. It really helped make those years a lot easier than they could have been. You can contact me at my blog: http://atmybreast.com.

Jenna says:

I do love nursing, but I’ll still defend the formula feeders until I die. Sometimes, it just doesn’t work out. It didn’t for my first child. But I grew to appreciate the man-made gift that is formula.

Thankfully, #2 has been a different experience and I’ve been able to nurse him.

Today, I was just snuggling my little guy while he ate, thinking, “Soon you’ll be all big and running around like your sister. But until then, you’re FORCED to snuggle with me every time you eat! Bwahahahaha!”

And for me, that’s what breastfeeding is about. Yes, formula is plenty nutritious and a whole lot of people who eat formula turn out great (myself and my daughter, for example). But breastfeeding is just so … God-given. And special. And that’s what I love about it.

Jenna says:

Also, I always keep a can of formula in the house, just in case I am in a terrible car accident or something and my baby needs to eat. I know, morbid. But practical. (You don’t have to publish this comment if you want — I just thought I’d mention that.)

Mammatalk says:

This just proves you don’t really, really know some things until you actually experience it yourself. I felt the same way. I had no idea what a bonding experience it would be, what a feeling of satisfaction I would experience and how I would finally learn to relax! I couldn’t go fidget with this or that b.c I needed to sit and rock and feed her. I needed to focus on eating right and sleeping and relaxing…Kinda put things in perspective.
No disrespect to bottle feeders. I had to give my first a bottle to supplement, so I know both sides of the fence. Enjoy!

Gramee says:

I always thought I would breast feed my babies for a year, none of the 3 lasted for a year for various reasons.. I was sad. but glad I got the time I did.

Brandy says:

Breastfeeding has been a journey for me…with both of my girls. It is so encouraging to hear that some people don’t have much problems because it wasn’t so easy for me. I nursed for about 10 months with my first and she pretty much weaned herself…just not wanting it anymore. I will just let my baby lead and see where things take us…but I think a year would be a good time to stop. Fortunately I don’t have to go to work so that makes it much easier to do.

Tooje says:

The journey of breastfeeding is certainly a long one. You will be able to successfully nurse while working too, I promise! It CAN happen….I’ve done it twice now and can encourage any way you need it. 🙂 What’s wild is that it took me to baby #3 to fully realize that all my babes GREW and developed in those formative first months because of ME. It was a wow factor just a few weeks ago…a bit overwhelming, and I’m not the mushy type.

Krista says:

Beautifully said!

B&U&I says:

The last sentence of your post completely described how I initially felt about breastfeeding. I knew it was best for my daughter but being that no one in my entire family nor my husband’s family had ever breastfed, my real motivation (at first) was the money I would save by doing it.

I ended up breastfeeding for 15 months and I was deeply sad when she nursed for the last time. The bond that is formed between mother and child is so amazing and I loved each and every minutes of it. Especially in the months before solids are introduced and I know that I am able to sustain my child. It’s also comforting to know that you’re passing along your antibodies to your child which could help them get better faster should they get sick.

AmyRyb says:

I nursed for a year and decided that we’d start weaning around that time, but take it at our own pace and see how it went. Since I worked we only did mornings and evenings and weekends anyway, plus my pumped milk. Slowly we dropped the morning feeding so he could eat a regular breakfast at daycare, and then somehow the pre-dinner feeding disappeared. Finally we were left with just bedtime, and I managed to get down to pumping once a day. And eventually I just decided to end it. He seemed ready, and I decided I was too. I knew he was growing up and he’d be ok, and I was happy to get my body back. I never went through any engorgement issues and it was just a peaceful process. Do what feels right, but keep in mind if you go too long it might be harder for her to quit, so there’s a balance there somewhere. Oh, and I supplemented with formula all along once I went back to work because I just couldn’t pump enough. The formula keeps for a while, so keep it on hand in case your supplies run low. If you get to that point you may have to try a few different ones out anyway, so a free sample is handy to have. I also had to go on antibiotics while I was nursing, so that cut down my frozen supply unexpectedly and formula was a big help. You just never know. Breastfeeding is a gift, but so is having a backup 🙂

YUMMama says:

Breastfeeding for me has been one of the best parts about motherhood. Of course it takes a few weeks of getting used to, but if you stick in there it is really rewarding not only health wise, but it helps with bonding. I’ve bonded with Moo so much more.

Wolf says:

i just wanted to say i’m glad you didn’t supplement that first night home. i had my little one almost 6 months ago and one of the first things i was told when i was getting ready to leave the hospital was be prepared for a 6 hour nursing session within the next 24 hours. my nurse told me that she sure hoped it didn’t happen at night, but expect it to. and sure enough, that first night home, i nursed for pretty much 6 hours straight. i was exhausted, but thought it was normal since my nurse told me what to expect, so i didn’t worry that my daughter wasn’t getting enough to eat.

i’m surprised that more women who breastfeed aren’t given this advice/told this will most likely happen, as you are not the first new mama who i’ve read felt the same way/went through the same thing.

glad you are enjoying it so much. we are still EBF, but she is showing signs of being ready for solids, so we will probably start child led weaning once the 6-month mark hits. i really want to make it to 6 months of EBF (what i always said was my stop nursing date before i had my baby…now it is a year).

ashalily says:

I thought i would breastfeed for a year..that ended after two weeks lol. With my first son I lasted 6 weeks so this time I was determined to last longer! I realized it just was not for me. It was never painful, and he always got enough milk it just wasnt for me. It never made me happy only really anxious at the idea of doing it and to this day i still dont know why, I think maybe my stint with the baby blues had something to do with it. However I am so happy for you and any other mother that it has worked wonders for! good job for sticking through it.

I’m nervous about BF’ing – I’m going to try it but I’m going in like you – expecting the worst and hopefully adjusting to it. I’d love to be one of those women who just “get it” right away and all is well. But I’ve known too many women who have cried about how hard and painful it is. I guess I’ll just have to wait & see.

Charma says:

This is a beautiful post! Keep up the great work on nursing your daughter. I too, remember those tears at first especially when we introduced the breast milk in the bottle (after 3 weeks of exclusively nursing). But this creates such an awesome bond for you two that no one (except for other nursing mothers, of course) can understand. Unfortunately, because of health related issues, I could only nurse until my son was 7 months but I definitely wouldn’t trade those moments for the world!

Stephanie says:

Thank you so much for sharing this! I am looking forward to trying to embark upon that journey very soon now, and I am extremely anxious about it! Just like you, I think, I am focused on the worst. Maybe it won’t be so bad!

Lindsey says:

I went through the same torture you did at first, but it was worth it! My husband gave my daughter formula from a bottle twice (while I was out for a very short time) but she didn’t like the bottle. And I hated that it made her smell sour instead of sweet like after breastfeeding. Now I wonder if she just didn’t like the Enfamil stuff (like maybe it didn’t settle well with her).

I nursed her until a little over a year when she really wasn’t getting enough milk and wanted to eat more and more. I also gave her rice milk to supplement her. It was wonderful but since she had started biting I was happy to stop. lol I’m pregnant with my second so going to go through all of this again soon!

S. Belle says:

Breastfeeding was/is my favorite part of motherhood. It’s such a great bonding time. The best memories are of my babies waking up in the morning and I get them and nurse them, and we both fall back to sleep while snuggled in the bed. Oh! What joy!

Kelly says:

Breastfeeding is one of the most amazing parts of being a mother. I nursed my first for about 4 years when she weaned herself. My second is three, and still very occasionally has “milks”… but is essentially weaned.

It makes me sad that I won’t breastfeed another infant, but so happy that even through the difficult times (which now through the lens of time seem so insignificant and trivial and tiny), I was able to share the wonderful nutrition and bonding of breastfeeding with my children.

I think it is absolutely wonderful that you’ve made it this far, that you’re still nursing, that you love it! I hope you’ll continue through returning to work and even through the one year mark – I did it, and many, many, many other women do – its a wonderful way to reconnect with your baby after a day of being away work, and breastmilk’s benefits continue beyond the first year, as I’m sure you’ve discovered in your research.

Congratulations, and thank you for sharing your positive breastfeeding story – women need to hear MORE stories like yours!

-kelly @kellynaturally

Miss Sophie says:

My two and a half year old daughter is only 7 pounds heavier than your daughter haha. Anyways. I am glad to hear breastfeeding is going well for you two. I am also glad it’s something you’re loving.

Breastfeeding was a struggle/pain for me, and I am sorely disappointed in myself for not trying as hard as I possible could. I hope you have a seamless breastfeeding journey from here on out!

Dagmar says:

Oh, I’m so happy to read how much you love breastfeeding! I can’t get enough of it — literally — I’m still breastfeeding my almost 4-year-old although I never had intentions to do it this long.
Your post is a great blend of showing that breastfeeding is a learned skill and that it feels so empowering to know that you are the one who’s milk is feeding this little being. I so wish more moms would be able to experience that, that’s why I started my blog, to be a cheerleader and resource for moms who want to breastfeed.
My son didn’t have anything else but breast milk until he was 9 months old. He’s the only kid in preschool who isn’t constantly sick, actually he hasn’t been sick once during the whole preschool year.

Aw, I’m so happy for you!
All the best from New York,
Dagmar
Dagmar’s momsense

That’s great! I just went to a breastfeeding class last night and loved it. I am really committed to breast feeding. One thing the kept reminding us is that your body will produce the amount of milk your baby needs…that your babys tummy can only hold 2 tbs full of milk when they are born..so I am sure you were feeding your baby enough in the beginning! I too just want to make it through the hell weeks.

So beautiful. I am glad you were not defeated and that an experience that was previously daunting became a joy

Alex says:

I absolutely loved breastfeeding as well and when my son self-weaned at 8 mths I was devastated! I still try and get him to nurse at 2 now! Not seriously but I ask him and he always looks at me like I’m crazy.

Jennifer says:

Yay for you and lil J! I’ve just finished week 3 back at work and pumping. 😛 Gonna be a long year, but I do love bfing!

I had a lipase issue with the first, so I scald my milk before freezing. Not sure if you can read the thread on llli http://forums.llli.org/showthread.php?t=297

I’d hate to see people not be able to use their stash!

Nichole says:

I love the title of this post. BF is TRULY a labor of love. . . and a love story all in one. It was a TON of work, but I also feel like my boobs fulfilled their destiny! LOL. Now, I’m just hoping #2 will actually be able to bf, because I lied when I said it didn’t matter. I’d love nothing more than to experience that (instead of just the pump!)

AmyRyb says:

I nursed for a year and decided that we’d start weaning around that time, but take it at our own pace and see how it went. Since I worked we only did mornings and evenings and weekends anyway, plus my pumped milk. Slowly we dropped the morning feeding so he could eat a regular breakfast at daycare, and then somehow the pre-dinner feeding disappeared. Finally we were left with just bedtime, and I managed to get down to pumping once a day. And eventually I just decided to end it. He seemed ready, and I decided I was too. I knew he was growing up and he’d be ok, and I was happy to get my body back. I never went through any engorgement issues and it was just a peaceful process. Do what feels right, but keep in mind if you go too long it might be harder for her to quit, so there’s a balance there somewhere. Oh, and I supplemented with formula all along once I went back to work because I just couldn’t pump enough. The formula keeps for a while, so keep it on hand in case your supplies run low. If you get to that point you may have to try a few different ones out anyway, so a free sample is handy to have. I also had to go on antibiotics while I was nursing, so that cut down my frozen supply unexpectedly and formula was a big help. You just never know. Breastfeeding is a gift, but so is having a backup 🙂

Brandy says:

Breastfeeding has been a journey for me…with both of my girls. It is so encouraging to hear that some people don’t have much problems because it wasn’t so easy for me. I nursed for about 10 months with my first and she pretty much weaned herself…just not wanting it anymore. I will just let my baby lead and see where things take us…but I think a year would be a good time to stop. Fortunately I don’t have to go to work so that makes it much easier to do.

Toni says:

I’m so glad it is working so well for you. 🙂 Breastfeeding is a wonderful gift to your baby, and as another poster pointed out, it is a great parenting tool. 🙂 I’ve been following your journey a bit on Twitter, and I’m so happy to read that it is all going so well. If you have any breastfeeding questions, let me know. I’ve got 8 kids and have been breastfeeding them for a total of 19 years. It really helped make those years a lot easier than they could have been. You can contact me at my blog: http://atmybreast.com.

Blair says:

I’m glad that your experience has been so good. I hear a lot of women say “Nursing isn’t natural. It’s not like they tell you!” I feel that nursing IS natural, but sometimes a lot of unnatural stuff (that is not our fault) can get in the way of it. I was thinking about that earlier today when you mentioned that you were formula fed. I was FF, too. In fact I had barely seen a woman breastfeed at ALL before I became a breastfeeder myself. My first experience getting started was really tough. My baby lost too much weight (15%), I supplemented, she rejected me, etc. It took about a month to get her back to the breast. But this time (second baby), with more knowledge and experience behind me, I have to say it WAS pretty natural. I know that there are uncontrollable issues that can crop up like tongue tie, nursing a preemie, etc. but for the most part nursing is natural. But it’s not treated as the biological norm that it actually is.

As far as the formula in the cabinet–I’m glad you didn’t use it since you didn’t want to use it. But I have to say, the WHO Code is evidence-based. It’s not just about whether or not women have willpower. There are good reasons for it to exist, not that anyone in the US follows it.

If you do decide to nurse through toddlerhood, it’s a very different experience than nursing a young baby. I enjoyed it quite a bit. It was wonderful to have that connection, and to have her be able to tell me in so many words how much she loved it. It’s also much less demanding on the body (for most people–my daughter was down to just one or two sessions a day her last year or so of nursing).

Joyful Abode says:

It’s a good thing you didn’t supplement those first days… if you had, you might not have “been able to” breastfeed. Part of why newborns nurse SO much in the first few days is to establish prolactin receptors which are key to milk production.

So if you had fed your baby formula (or whatever), she wouldn’t have nursed as much, and your body would’ve produced less milk…

It’s a delicate balance and can easily be knocked off-kilter.

I do suggest you donate the formula – someone else may actually need it, and you really don’t! 🙂 And in the off chance that you ever did (like you were put on a medication you HAD to take, which you could NOT breastfeed on) the store has more.

I thought I’d breastfeed for one year and not one minute more. Now, he’s nearing two and a half and I’m STILL nursing. Once it’s easy, it’s joyful. And I found it was one of the best parenting tools anybody gave me. Baby is fussy? Nurse. Baby is teething? Nurse. Baby is sick? Nurse. There’s really nothing it doesn’t cure.

I’ve recently suffered through some very painful sessions of nursing now that I’m pregnant (which often makes nursing painful) but I haven’t thrown in the towel yet because I’m afraid I won’t have any way to “fix” him when he’s upset. I’ll let him have this little “fix” as long as he needs it, and as long as I can stand it. I’d be lost without it.

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Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget

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I'm a former journalist, and lifelong creator striving to make the world a better place. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day by cherishing our individuality and celebrating our differences.



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