Every year during the first week of August, we celebrate World Breastfeeding Week. This is a time to bring awareness to breastfeeding and it’s benefits as well as celebrate our own journeys as mother's. This week has always been bittersweet for me because my news feed is flooded with so many success stories of breastfeeding women. Which is fantastic, but when I struggle to make even an ounce for my babes…it’s hard to see everyone being so happy about their success. So I wanted to do something to honor not only our success, but our struggles as well.
Ten mothers came together last weekend to celebrate the struggles we have overcome to breastfeed our babies. We wrote these struggles on our bodies and wore them like badges of honor. And I am SO proud of each of these women. I as well as a couple of other mother’s share our stories below.
I love that everyone has a different story to share. Everyone has our individual struggles that have formed us into the people/mothers we are today. And our differences make us unique and beautiful especially when we come together and STAND TOGETHER
I didn’t expect to get so overwhelmed with emotion when Ashley was writing these letters on my chest. IGT. I’ve shared about my experience before if you want to read more. But the emotions of all of my struggles just came over me and I couldn’t keep the tears away. IGT has defined so much of my mothering. Before children, I knew that breastfeeding was going to be what we did. There wasn’t even a second thought about it. And then when it didn’t happen, it broke me. I was devastated. And when I was pregnant with Isaac, I didn’t even want to breastfeed past 2 days because I knew how hard it was to make it work. I had been through the worst with Emersyn and Nora, and I didn’t want to experience any of that again. But those 2 days came and went and we persisted. And here we are at 13 months still breastfeeding. It’s just incredible to me that it’s actually “worked” this time around. Despite everything that was set up against us.
"Your baby isn't gaining weight."
"Your baby is losing weight."
"You need to syringe feed him."
"Your baby isn't getting taller."
"We don't know what's going on."
"You could always supplement."
"You might not be producing enough."
"His labs show he is very anemic."
"Have you tried pumping or formula?"
"Your baby is failing to thrive."
"Your baby is now anorexic."
It was a long road of hearing things no mama wants to hear. You want so bad to be able to nurse your sweet babe and you are desperate to keep going, but something isn't right.
After seeing numerous doctors, we founs out that my sweet little boy has Celaic Disease and multiple allergies. After cutting out wheat, barely, rye, dairy, and eggs from both of our diets my guy was so much happier. He was a different baby. By the time I found a doctor who would listen to me, he was so sick that his blood cells were being pushed out prematurely and shapped funky.
After months of high doeses of iron, adding feeding tube formula, and continuing to breastfeed he is finally growing.
We powered through all of the scary days and sleepless nights. We have been nursing for just over 2 years.
“With all of my children I have been blessed to produce enough milk to feed them, so I decided I would like to also pump and donate to those in need. I made enough for my little one to eat and was able to donate to some moms that needed milk. However I also dealt with clogged ducts many times, which is an issue I never had prior to pumping. The constant starting and stoping to pump while my little one roamed and got into things, sterilizing of bottles and pumping gear, replacing and buying pumping gear, and watching what I ate or medicines that I took so I could donate turned from something I truly enjoyed doing to something I dreaded doing. I am honored to have been able to donate and help others but I am also happy that chapter is now closed.”
Twin Loss, Tongue Tie, Tandem, Pregnancy Pain, Tongue Tie, Pumping, Laryngomalacia, Purity Culture, Postpartum Anxiety, Extreme Pain, Mastitis, Cracked Nipples, Celiacs, Allergies, Colic, Foster Care, Tongue Tie, Forced Separation, Bruised Tailbone, Insufficient Glandular Tissue.
We are not defined by these words, but instead by how we have overcome and endured.