“I am currently breastfeeding my newly turned 1-year-old, we made it to the one year mark…what a relief, an accomplishment.
Holdan has been my most difficult baby to date- tongue tie, gastrointestinal issues, intolerances to foods, elimination diets, constant crying (for hours and hours straight), and never wanting to be put down. That is very taxing on a mom of five who just wants five minutes to use the bathroom and regroup.
However, he has been an exceptional nurser from the beginning, and still nurses very well. To this day, he still likes to nurse every three hours throughout the night. I also, tandem nursed for 6-months prior when my fourth child Urijah finally self-weaned. It wasn’t easy, but I managed. It was quite an experience, especially with the aversions I was having with my toddler wanting to nurse. I will say it was pretty awesome that my body was able to provide for both though!
As far as my other three kiddos go… I tried breastfeeding my first two but they quickly developed a milk protein allergy so with a lack of education, support, and just following the pediatrician’s orders I didn’t make it very long and quickly gave up. My third I never breastfed. With my fourth, I gave it a go again and that is where the support of my local La Leche group truly helped me gain success.
Some days I didn’t know how I would get through it with all the breastfeeding obstacles I was faced with. I cried A LOT!!! I stressed, panicked, and let my anxiety get the best of me often. Breastfeeding is NOT easy!!! There have been so many times of despair from nursing strikes to clogged ducts to latch issues to low milk supply to endless hours of crying episodes at the breast. I wanted to give up so many times!
This breastfeeding journey has been an indescribable time in my life. I always say that breastfeeding has been the second greatest journey of life, the first being a mom to a special needs child. Both have been very lonely journeys for me because of the lack of support from those closest to me, so it is with great gratitude that my local La Leche League was there to provide the reassurance when I needed it the most.
I really cannot express how grateful I am for the amount of support I have received from the leader of the group, Adele McHeney-Koenen and the other group members. They are the ONLY support I have besides my husband, so I am extremely thankful they have been there when needed.
There were times when I privately messaged Adele in desperate need for help, and she respond in rapid speed and calmed all my fears. The group has helped me cope by providing helpful suggestions from personal experiences or directing me to reliable resources, so that I never questioned whether I was inadequate. They gave me a safe place to vent, be heard, cry if I needed to, and encouraged me to keep going even when I wanted to give up.
Because of this amazing community and the support of my wonderful husband, I now understand and value the worth of breastfeeding. It is so much more than feeding your baby. I feel empowered and confident that I can do anything because of the support I have been engulfed with. I can proudly say that because of this support I have been exclusively breastfeeding for almost four-years and will continue until the next one self-weans.
Breastfeeding has been a source of strength, selflessness, and unconditional love for me. It has defined my inner strength and has helped me to renew my faith in God and myself. Breastfeeding is not for everyone, and it may be very difficult to understand what I have experienced, but it is a vessel of a special kind of love and bond that makes you never want this chapter in your life to be forgotten. It is something I will cherish forever, and when it does end there will be heartbreak, but I will know I have experienced some of the most extraordinary blessings of my life that will never ever compare to what’s ahead.
Thanking God always for this life and these precious days I have spent with my babies, and for the constant reminder that my babies will always need me as much as I need them”
Stacy from Ashtabula Geauga Lake La Leche League
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