At this point, I have been breastfeeding since 2004. Ten years into this journey I have learned so much about not only myself but what it means to be a mother.
It’s more than just feeding your baby, it’s about giving them so much of yourself, that’s it literally a sacrifice. And although there are times where it wears you out, you know that every bit of it is worth it.
Here are a few lessons that breastfeeding has taught me about being a mother:
Love my body as it is and to be confident
I have had four kids. My body is not in the same shape it was before my first or even after my third. There are times throughout breastfeeding that my boobs are awkwardly huge, but it doesn’t matter because that just happens. There are days where it leaks when I am in the grocery store, and I am hella embarrassed. But it’s apart of this journey.
It’s also taught me that when I put my all into something, there isn’t anything that I can’t accomplish. Breastfeeding didn’t start out easy for me. I was only 20 when I had my first child, and when I say breastfeeding was hard, it was hard mentally, physically and emotionally. On top of not having the support that I needed, I struggled so much that I there were times that giving up seemed to be the only option.
What I learned during this time was that I had to trust the process and just be patient. I learned more about what it means to be patient and to trust myself even if I don’t know what I am actually doing. Ten years and four kids later, there are still things that I don’t know and things that I am learning daily.
It’s okay to switch things up
With my oldest I strictly breastfed, then when my son was born, it was hard to breastfeed, so I exclusively pumped and he was bottle-fed. I knew I wanted to breastfeed, but at that time in my life, it was too taxing on me and time-consuming. There was a lot of guilt initially because I felt that I wasn’t offering him all of me like I should have been. Eventually, I learned that it was okay to pump and bottle feed. I was still giving him something amazing, just in a different form.
Taking time out to be in the moment
At the time I was a single parent of two young children. There were days where I was literally ripping and running from sun up to sun down. I felt like I never really got to actually just sit down and enjoy the special moments with my kids. Except for when I was breastfeeding. It was the only time where I was able to actually focus on what was in front of me and just be. Eventually, I was able to carry that on to other parts of my life, but it was something that I had to learn to do, and it didn’t come easy.
Love of impromptu dance parties, 80’s cartoons, and horizontal life pauses (aka naps); Natasha Brown is a stay at home mom of 4 kids, and wife to one lucky guy! In her spare time, she is co-editor of Grits & Grace, as well as editor for The Mother Hustler Blog and Creative Director for the Mother Hustler podcast.