The Wild & Wonderful World of Breastfeeding


It’s Black Breastfeeding Week, and I knew I couldn’t let this week fly by without sharing my experience. More than sharing my experience, I want to share my upspoken truths about the wonderful yet wild world of breastfeeding.

Each mother has a different experience. Some opt to bottle-feed; others go the breastfeeding route. My motto? “Fed is best!” You are the expert on nourishing your child.

When I found out I was pregnant with my first child, I knew I wanted to breastfeed exclusively and for as long as possible because of long-term health and emotional benefits (not to mention saving a ton of money on formula). I spoke to my mom about my decision to breastfeed, and she shared that she didn’t breastfeed for long because it was painful. Many other moms have said the same. So, I knew this journey would be challenging, but I was ready to embark.

In preparation for breastfeeding, I took a day-long breastfeeding course with certified lactation specialists and nurses. In hindsight, that informative course laid the foundation for what has now been over five years of breastfeeding three children.

Five years. Whew!

Parker nursed until she was around 18 months. I successfully weaned her with few issues after finding out I was pregnant with Ava. Shortly after Ava was born, Parker underwent major surgery and started nursing again (mostly for comfort), which led to tandem nursing for about six months. Nursing Parker was a breeze, but nursing a newborn and a toddler became exhausting. I successfully weaned Parker again, only to struggle to find enjoyment in nursing Ava. Now I realize that tandem nursing made me feel like I didn’t have control over my body. I felt like someone always wanted to nurse and be in my space, on my body, and twiddling my nipple. This posed an emotional and mental challenge for me.

As we adjust to the changes of motherhood, not only do our schedules completely shift, no longer having the freedom we once enjoyed, but our physical circumstances change, too. And those changes heightened when I became a breastfeeding mother of two. Gone were the days when I was the only one to control my body. Now, my children exercise control of it, too, and that was something no one could prepare me to face.

Although Ava nursed until she was 18 months, I spent the latter six months of our breastfeeding journey feeling quite annoyed and guilty about being annoyed. The only way I could wean her was to take a vacation, and so we did. When we came back, I simply didn’t offer the boob, and she didn’t ask. It was the amicable ending I had hoped for us.

Fast forward to almost two years later and a brief break from nursing, my one-year-old son is still breastfeeding, and I’m enjoying the bond we’ve formed. I am back in the world of breastfeeding, and it’s a wonder. Although my breastfeeding journey has been relatively smooth, I’ve hit bumps in the road in the form of emotional challenges—lack of control, exhaustion, and physical pain. (Mom, you were right about experiencing pain.)

The world of breastfeeding is wild and wonderful. Yes, breastfeeding is a major feat. But this feat is not without pits and peaks, no matter what picture social media paints. As an exclusive club, the club of breastfeeding moms, we will certainly become better together when we share our experiences. You are not alone, mama, and I applaud you, breastfeeder or not, for keeping your baby safe and healthy.