I breastfed my first baby until he was 15 months, only stopping because I lost my milk during my second pregnancy. I’m currently still breastfeeding my second son. I feel like I’ve experienced it all, from tongue and lip ties to cluster feeding for seemingly endless periods of time to babies ripping open my shirt during family gatherings because they just can’t wait. I never anticipated breastfeeding past 6 or 8 months, but here I am… 33 months in with no end in sight. I love my body and ability to do so, but being a breastfeeding mom can be full of so many ups and downs. I’ve questioned and doubted and laughed and cried and struggled and triumphed and lost all faith and yet felt so sure of myself, oftentimes all in the same day. I reflected on my journey as a breastfeeding momma and hope that other mommas can connect to my celebratory and cringe-worthy tales.
You know you’re a breastfeeding mom if…
…you think lopsided boobs are a good thing because then you know what side your baby needs to feed on next.
…you’ve squirted breastmilk purposefully into or onto your baby’s body (eyes, ears, skin rashes… it’s all fair game).
…you’ve squirted breastmilk inadvertently into your baby’s face as they unlatch and are impressed with your range.
…you’ve wondered if your milk is as fatty and liquid gold-y as another moms’ whose breastfed baby is totally out-gaining yours.
…you’ve considered using your bodily fluids to make soap and lotion.
…you’ve almost answered the door or a FaceTime call with a boob or two out.
…you shop with one thought in mind: Can I easily access the milk makers in this top?
…you schedule your entire day around when the baby needs to eat, and often miss important events or even small moments because you’re pumping or feeding.
…your work bag becomes a pumping parts and milk bags cooler.
…you’ve cried over spilled milk more than once.
…you realize months later that you’ve had stretch marks under the girls for who knows how long (They’ve been so many various sizes you didn’t notice before).
…your shirts are stained in very unflattering spots due to leakage.
…you have so many nursing pads you’ve used one as a coaster.
…your hands become raw from washing pump parts and your counter will never be uncluttered from them again.
…at least one person a day asks, “How long are you going to breastfeed for?”
…a pacifier or bottle just won’t cut it for the babe because it’s not the real deal.
…you accidentally roll over to your stomach when you’re sleeping and wake up with a clogged duct.
…you massage your boob in a totally unsexual manner to release the clogged lump.
…you’ve joined mom group after mom group on Facebook trying to find answers to “How long should I wait after a glass of wine to breastfeed?” or “Why do I have tingling pain when breastfeeding?” or “What color should breastfed baby poop be?”
…you’ve gotten mastitis and wondered if being put into a medically-induced coma would be acceptable until the madness ceases.
…you’ve attached a suction cup to your breast to catch milk from being wasted.
…you’ve wondered if it really does taste like cantaloupe juice like they claim in Friends.
…you’ve watched “The Letdown” on Netflix and screamed “YES!” over and over again.
…you’ve had to have sex with a nursing bra on so you don’t leak on your husband.
…you have to buy a second freezer just to store your liquid gold.
…you offer to put breastmilk in your husband’s coffee because you’re out of creamer (the answer was a hard no).
…you avoid your favorite Starbucks drink of a peppermint mocha with an extra shot because you’re worried the peppermint will lower your supply.
…you cut out dairy to see if it would help your baby’s colic (P.S. EVERYTHING has milk in it and nondairy cheese is NOT a yummy substitute).
…you fishhook your sleeping baby to make sure they don’t bite your nipple off when they’ve fallen asleep breastfeeding.
…you have to download a special app to see if the medicine you need to take is safe while nursing.
…you’ve wished your husband had functioning nipples.
…you’ve had to quit your job because your baby will not take a bottle.
…you have to wipe off your boob after swimming in the lake or pool because you don’t want anything transferring to your baby’s mouth during breastfeeding.
…you want so badly to resume your workout routine postpartum but are worried it will make our supply drop, so you just hope that breastfeeding weight loss is a thing (while also not caring about the weight loss because your body has done/is doing amazing things).
…you spend three times as much on groceries and have to get a Brita filter because you’re so hungry and thirsty ALL. THE. TIME.
…you’ve considered becoming a lactation consultant because you feel like an expert.
…you’ve felt envious of friends and family members who’s babies drink formula because you sometimes wonder if it’d be easier and less stressful.
…you feel supported and uplifted by both formula feeding moms and breastfeeding moms because women are powerful and amazing no matter what their baby drinks.
…you simultaneously wish your baby would wean ASAP and bawl when you think about never having these moments again as a breastfeeding mom.