|At 35 months|
Now why did I continue to breastfeed my daughter if it wasn't as easy as pie? Because I believe that to breastfeed my daughter is to let her know how much I love her. I wrote about it here B-R-E-A-S-T-F-E-E-D-I-N-G is the Longest Spelling of Love.
How then was I able to sustain it?
It is through God's amazing grace. Without His strength and grace being given to me everyday as I nursed my daughter at that time, I wouldn't have been able to go on. I would have just stopped and told myself and others that I had all the reasons not to do it. During those days, I would ask Him to enable me to give the best I could give my daughter. Prayer really works. :)
I have a very supportive husband. I felt so blessed to have been married to this man; I felt doubly blessed to have him as my daughter's Dad. During the first 3 months of breastfeeding our daughter, he would offer his hand so I could press it hard and somehow transfer the excruciating pain I was feeling at that time. Now that breastfeeding is easy peasy, though he is not holding my hand anymore as I nurse our daughter, he upholds what I believe in, that is, to breastfeed our daughter for as long as she needs and wants Mommy's breastmilk.
Our daughter's pediatrician continued to encourage us. I have heard some of my mommy friends say these words which unfortunately came from their children's pediatricians: "You don't have enough milk. Use formula so your baby will grow (or something like that)." Sad, isn't it? When these mommy friends told me about it, I couldn't believe what I heard. Really? Those words coming from the "experts"? My reaction was like that because I have never ever heard any discouraging words regarding breastfeeding my daughter from her pediatrician. It was she who enlightened and encouraged us to exclusively breastfeed our daughter. At that time, while others (including my husband and I) were so concerned about having a "cute and big" baby, she would divert our attention to the proper nutrients and antibodies our baby was getting from my breastmilk alone. She was the one who made us realized that a healthy baby is not necessarily "big or fat". A healthy baby could be slim but heavy and doesn't easily get sick. And that's exactly our daughter!
I stay focused on my goal. My goal is to be able to breastfeed our daughter for as long as she needs and wants my milk. Well, that is my ultimate goal now. It was not my goal at first. As I've mentioned above and in my first post about breastfeeding, the first step I took in traversing this path was not easy. So what I did was, take one step at a time, a bite-sized goal if you will. My husband and I were like, "Okay, I'll breastfeed her for a month, let's do one month." And one month passed by like what? A breeze? Yes! It was that quick. So, we took another step. "Okay, let's do it for another 2 months. Breastfeeding her for at least 3 months will give her so much benefits already." Then before we knew it, we're already on our 6th month. It still hurt at that time, but I was "obstinate" and told my husband, "I want to breastfeed her until she's one year old. I believe by that time she'll wean by herself." With God's grace and my husband's support, yes, I was able to do it when her first birthday came. But she didn't wean. She'll be turning 3 next month and she still loves Mommy's milk!
As I write this, I am in tears. Tears of joy. I never knew we would be able to do this, this long. I am so grateful to God for giving me the grace to breastfeed; grateful for my supportive and caring husband; grateful for our daughter's pediatrician's encouragement; grateful that God helps me stay focused on my mini, monthly goals which have become now my uttermost breastfeeding goal.
Fellow moms, being able to breastfeed our babies is a gift. Let us cherish this gift; enjoy it and celebrate it! Happy Breastfeeding Day (everyday)! :)