Breast Feeding Journey
Updated: Jan 5
It is so crazy to me, our society. Wouldn't it be a crazy concept if we all just built each other UP, instead of trying to tear each other down. When was it scientifically proven that in order to build yourself up, you need to tear someone down? Imagine if that was erased. Imagine if our actions & our words were just solely to cheer on others? How would that change your life? How would that change every life around you & then those lives they are exposed to etc..... domino effect people!
I wish more than anything it was like that. Do I live my life 100 percent to that? Nope. I don't, but I sure have been trying my darnedest to do so. I am not kidding after I read You Are A Badass, it really shifted everything for me. I think that is really what drove me to write this post. My breast feeding journey was something that I will never forget. It was the most rewarding & most challenging at the same time. Our society was partially the reason it was so challenging & the people surrounding me as well were both building me up, while tearing me down. ( I will get to that later)
I came across a picture the other day that had been taken of me when Ainsley was 3 almost 4 months old. I was working on my school computer for things for the new year, while breast feeding Ainsley. That picture brought back so many emotions for me of unconditional love, bonding, accomplishment, tears of joy & then on the other hand tiredness, postpartum depression, loneliness & stress. Let me say that again
tiredness, postpartum depression, loneliness & stress
Why as humans are we so quick to not want to admit those things. Where is that shared? Why are we not bravely talking that up? For example, why do we not mention that you spilt the breast milk all over the place and cried because you had been up at 5 am pumping it in the first place! We don't want to share it. We think that the view is so nice from this "fake top" that we inevitably try and put ourselves on because of everything we see on social media & hear from others. Me included.. I have been guilty of that many a times. Especially during breastfeeding. I didn’t realize how they don’t just latch right away, the specialists to see etc. I’m a perfectionist.. it was hard to not be perfect at it. However, again, I felt I couldn’t really share that part, because to me it looked like a breeze for everyone else.
The crap you get from others is I think what makes it worse:
+You are breastfeeding? Really? How are you even going to have time for that during work.
+You AREN'T breastfeeding? Do you not care about your child's health?
+You aren't doing a natural birth? Have you heard what epidurals have been known to lead to in babies?
+WHAT..... (insert the craziest looks) you are going to do it natural?? HA they couldn't get an epidural in me fast enough
+So... you aren't going to be eating lunch with the people you work with? Instead you are just going to pump?
+She gets an extra 30 minutes at the end of the day now, like an extra plan time, because she pumps
+Gosh you are such a stranger I never see you anymore ( because I am pumping during breaks)
+So you are going to work & let someone else raise your kid
^^^ These are not even the beginning of things I heard during my pregnancy & post pregnancy with A.
It was interesting because in YAB (Your a Badass) she talks about how sometimes we discourage others thinking we are helping. "Oh don't do that, that is too risky" "Is that realistic? I worry you won't have enough money." We say all these things, thinking we are saving the person-- but you aren't saving the person. You really think that the things you are about to say never crossed their mind? Instead you are tearing the person down. Crazy to think, because I have been known to do this to others thinking I am helping. EHH WRONG. So I say this because, I think a lot of people who told me things above had the best intentions (some not), but in turn were not what you'd want to hear at this vulnerable stage. Yet, I heard them all the time when I chose to do the following two things.
1. To breast feed my kid
2. Be a working mom (so I'd need to pump)
I will preface that I was really lucky to have a really great Principal & Assistant Principal at the time I needed to pump at work. However, it is CRAZY how in our society the law just states that the employer needs to provide a place to pump. Nothing else. Just a place where you can plug in your device. Sooooooo when do you pump then? They are not required to give you time to go pump. So if you are like me whose supply was really low, just going during my breaks wasn't going to cut it. So my rockstar principal allowed me TA coverage during the time needed for me to pump at the end of the day that was our extra recess time anyways.
Now this is where I WISH more than anything our society was as I mentioned above, a society of building others up & WOMEN SUPPORTING WOMEN. I'm not sure why when I made a choice to breastfeed my kid, that then it would cause a rift for others. I wish I would of had the courage to say my boobs, my babies food—NOT YOUR CONCERN. However, I didn't & it truly ate me up inside. I was paranoid that others were upset with me, because I "got this extra time to myself" in the day and that it "wasn't fair." I mean letting those words get to me though.. that is 100% on me. I should have just shrugged it off & looking back I see that. However, I was in a very vulnerable state of: going back to work, leaving Ainsley at daycare each day, living with my parents newly with a new baby, being a single parent, trying to balance work, being a mom, daughter, friend, money.. list goes on & on. So when I was trying my hardest to balance it all, hearing things like “you know you can just stop breastfeeding right ?” “you gave it a good shot!” Or “the extra time” I got during the day to myself was lucky... just really got to me. I’m human.
The extra time to myself consisted of this to clarify:
1. Gathering the tools: My pump & lunch box with the parts (because the parts need to be in the refrigerator after you pump. Unless you are washing in-between, which I probably should have at school, but where do you leave pumping parts to dry at school, let alone wash them when you have limited time)
2. Getting the key from one of our secretaries & go to the back hallway, in the supply closet.
3. Lock myself in, put on the double pumper bra, hook it all up, start it. (Which takes a bit)
Now I am not complaining, because my work found me a spot and I am very grateful. However, lets not get this grand idea that this extra time for myself was in a hot tub, with an adult beverage in hand. It was a tiny closet, where I sat on a school chair, next to the staplers, tape & marker supplies & only had my lap to balance things on if I wanted to work on something, because my pump was on the other chair. Half the time I was trying to stuff my face with one of the bars that I made, to increase my milk production. By the time I did everything 1-3 from above, when I sat down to pump I maybe had about 10-12 minutes left. For someone whose supply is low, let me tell you, it is HARD to get it done in that short of time unfortunately. Every day I would have just enough, just enough for her. However, when I'd sit there and google what I could be doing to up my milk supply, everything I read was SO UNREALISTIC, it made me want to chuck my phone at the supplies in the closet. These two were my favorite below:
"Set up your pumping station in your home with snacks, water, pictures of baby etc."
** hmmm okay... maybe in my own home or something along those lines? Just was not in my means.
"Get a good night sleep"
**you must not have children for putting this on there
Yet again though, there was no article on the REAL LIFE of pumping at work... tiny closet addition.
It was all like flowers, sunshine & pumping corners in your house decked out in snacks. That was not my reality.
So at this point you are like jeez, Alaina, you really are making this whole breastfeeding thing sound worth it. Making it sound too challenging is by no means my point here though, my only hope is that some mom to be or working mom or SAHM is reading this & is like here it is. Finally. An article that I can relate to, that isn't instagram perfect, but real world.
So would I do it again? I would do it ALL again in a heart beat. By now my confidence of who I am, my situation & everything in between has grown immensely. The bond that breastfeeding A created was something so special I can't even begin to explain. Also the fact that I was creating food for my own child, is pretty damn miraculous of the human body. Also I truly believe that because of the many benefits of breastmilk itself, that is why she only got really sick once her first year or birth, no ear infections, anything like that.
So if you are on the fence about breastfeeding, pick the best choice for you. Whatever choice you do choose, know You Are A BADASS mom.
Do not pick what you think society wants to hear or what you think would be the most convenient. Pick the choice that speaks true to you & your heart, because the people around you are not at the end of the day sitting there with you feeding your child whether by bottle or boob. It is so hard, but don't let them in to your mind. You are kicking butt & taking names, dont forget that! The time your child breastfeeds goes by so fast. 1 1/2 years later, I didn't even know when the last time A was going to breastfeed was. All of a sudden A weaned herself off & that was that.
So basically what is this rant in a nut shell:
1. Stop telling people what you think they want to hear & think if YOU'D want to hear it
2. Stop and think is what I am going to say something that would inspire or something that would set a fire?
3. OUR SOCIETY NEEDS TO WAKE UP and change regulations
4. Working mom, SAHM, new mom, mom to be--- we are all moms, we are all awesome women, lets stop COMPARING, lets stop saying things because of jealously & just love one another. If we are all going through life together, let us do it TOGETHER.
5. Love yourself, because you are the only you out there.
6. Read You Are A Badass, you won't be sorry
7. If you ever need anyone to sound board this journey with you, always know I am an email away. You are not alone!
XO-Alaina & Ainsley