Lavinia and I officially finished breastfeeding earlier this week. I always thought I would be sad when this day came but she weaned so slowly that I’ve had time to adjust to the idea of being done. I am so thankful for the 15 months that we got to share this experience but I’m excited for the next stage and to watch her take this additional step into toddlerhood.
Breastfeeding is hard, no matter how naturally it comes to you or if it’s relatively easy for you and your baby. The support and encouragement of those around you is necessary directly related to your breastfeeding success and I know that my experience wouldn’t have been so enjoyable without the support of my friends and family. There are so many times that being a mom can make you feel isolated and alone and I think breastfeeding can be one of the most triggering experiences. I personally loved breastfeeding and it wasn’t until I started working full-time and had to pump more regularly that I struggled. I never felt like I could keep up with the amount she wanted to drink from a bottle and to be honest, pumping at work and on work trips is just such a drag.
As I reflect on my journey of breastfeeding my first there are moments when I felt supported and encouraged by women around me that are vividly stuck in my mind. Before time passes me by and I forget all of these experiences I wanted to share a few and thank the women that took the time to encourage a new mom like me!
To the older woman sitting at a nearby table during lunch last September – thank you for saying “oh, you don’t need that, we’re all eating, it’s ok for your baby to eat” when you noticed me wrestling with my nursing cover. Yes, it was a little awkward and, yes, I still chose to use my cover but I really appreciate you speaking up. I’ve found that many in your generation think us millennials are *weird* for breastfeeding so your words meant a lot. In fact, months later I would take strength from what you said in a moment when my baby was hungry and my cover was nowhere to be found and just fed her proudly (in the middle of a Target no less).
To my coworker who saw me pumping in the locker room – thank you for being outraged for me when I explained that they designated pumping room was all the way across campus. Thank you for offering up your office for me to pump in any time I needed so I didn’t have to use the common area. I got my own office soon after that so I never took you up on your offer but your support meant so much to me, and I totally gushed about you to my pumping-mama friends.
To the mom who I met while pumping in the airport on a team trip – thank you for your encouragement. You shared your experience as a traveling-working-pumping mom while your daughter, who was about 5 or 6, held your hand. You told me that I would survive and promised that on the other side of this are fun family vacations, like the one you were on with your girls. You didn’t have to take those few minutes out of your day to say “oh, I’ve been there” but you did… and that helped me get through the rest of that 5 day trip.
To all my fellow mom friends walking this breastfeeding journey with me – thank you for always being there… to text me back during those random, middle of the night feedings, to offer reassurance when I doubted myself, to vent to about the hard parts of breastfeeding/pumping. Thank you for researching laws about traveling with breast milk with me and for sharing your personal experiences. Thank you for making me feel comfortable enough to send you nursing-selfies of Lavinia’s funny, new nursing habits… like those few weeks when she just wanted to hold onto my nose all the time. Thank you for finding the hilarity in my lopsided milk production and laughing with me over that picture of my pumping bottles with 6oz left/1oz right. Just thank you for all of your support and encouragement, I couldn’t have done it without you!
Since I became a mom I’ve really come to realize how important it is to surround yourself with a supportive network. I know I couldn’t have made it through pregnancy and the first year of motherhood without my network which is why my friend, Michele, and I are starting the Fit Mama Community. FMC is a health and fitness site dedicated to the specific needs of busy moms. We will be providing resources, support and community for women that wish to live a healthy, active lifestyle while raising their little ones! We’re getting really close to our launch on 12/4/2017 – so make sure that you’re following us on Instagram to stay up to date!
Do you have any similar story of women supporting you in any type of mothering moment? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!