Congrats to you on succeeding—because whether you hit your goals or not—you succeeded. And I really hope you can see it that way one day—if not now, then really soon.
Because nursing your little one isn't easy. And it's not always enjoyable. And it can be downright draining. But you did it. And whether the decision to stop was your own (for any reason) or was your child's—you both did something really incredible together. And that most definitely should be acknowledged and celebrated.
And I really want to make something crystal clear. I am talking to the mamas who breastfed for 2 minutes, 2 hours, 2 weeks, 2 months, 2 years (and/or beyond)! Because we all tried. We all did what we could. We all followed what our body would allow us. And we all took on what our mind and soul could handle.
Because breastfeeding isn't just about our body. It's not just a physical act—it's an emotional one.
Those first few moments after your baby is born and they crawl their way to your breast? Jaw-droppingly amazing.
Those first few hours (or days, or weeks) trying to get them to latch properly? Can be really frustrating.
Those first few (hundred?) sleepless nights because of 'round the clock nursing schedules? They are tiring.
Those first few times you feel really connected to your baby because of this loving act? They are inspiring in the most magical ways. ✨
Tonight, my 18-month-old who is feeling sick, asked for milk after our mutual weaning about a month or two ago. At first, her request made me sad—did I pick up the wrong cues from her? Was she not finished nursing? Should I have powered through my breastfeeding aversion due to my pregnancy and continued to provide her breast milk?
I took my breast out to see what she did, because I didn't want her to be ashamed for asking. She looked a little confused at first. Like when you see someone you know from somewhere, but just can't place them. Then she just sort of put her face close to my breast, smiled and kind of gave it a hug.
And then my feelings of sadness, turned to laughter and happiness. (Mostly because I was thinking of this reunion as my daughter catching up with an old friend and that made me giggle.)
I'm sure we've all felt conflicting feelings about our child's breastfeeding journey—and that's OK. It becomes a big part of our motherhood story—whether it's a small part or a big part. But want I want for you and for me—most of all—is to have your breastfeeding journey validated and celebrated.
So, mamas, this one is for you.
Congratulations on feeding another human from your body. Because that is crazy-amazing.
Congratulations on trying really hard to make it work. It's not easy.
Congratulations on being able to feed your baby SO MUCH in those first few months. It is A LOT.
Congratulations on your milk coming in and those big beauties! If you were always small chested your whole life like me, these are very much appreciated. (Until...engorgement…)
So...congratulations on dealing with engorgement. You rock! Because those things are like rocks and they are painful and uncomfortable and God bless gentle breast massages and cool compress'.
Congratulations on waking up at all hours of the night to soothe your child with your snuggles and milk.
Congratulations on figuring out different holds that work for you. It is tricky thing to do!
Congratulations on breastfeeding in public. When your baby needs to eat, she needs to eat—and you put your comfort levels aside to get the job done.
Congratulations on being so resourceful that you have figured out how to nurse in basically any of your staple wardrobe pieces. That is impressive, girlfriend.
Congratulations on pumping at work and speaking up for yourself for a decent room to do it in and the time needed to do it. Go you!
Congratulations on dealing with the embarrassment of leaking through your shirt in public (oops, forgot my nursing pads!). It has happened to the breast...err, I mean...best of us.
Congratulations on figuring out low supply issues no matter how many other women or lactation counselors you had to ask. You persisted.
Congratulations on finding some way to deal with biting. I can't say more on this because it is a sore spot for me (physically and mentally.)
Congratulations on putting the needs of someone else before your own. You are selfless. You are amazing. You are inspiring.
Congratulations on allowing yourself to stop. And knowing when enough was enough for you and your baby.
It is not an easy decision to make or accept. But you did it with grace and love—and that is all you or your child could ever ask for.