As World Breastfeeding Month comes to a close I once again look back with such gratitude for all of the women who stepped in front of my lens and shared their stories with the world. Here's to making the world more accepting of mothers and their children. #PBAP2017
Tammy's Journey :
As a mother of two children, my breastfeeding journeys are total opposites. When my first born arrived in this world, I was at a younger age of 26 years old, with little knowledge of breastfeeding. After my son was born, I recall spending my days and nights nursing every couple hours, frustrated and sleep deprived, feeling like I was in a tunnel with not an end in sight. Due to some post-partum issues and a relationship with so many ups and downs, I was not eating enough to maintain my milk supply. He was also not gaining weight or thriving the way he should have been. With everything going on in my personal life, I decided to end my journey with breastfeeding with my son as early as 7 weeks old.
When my second born, my daughter, entered this world, I intended on trying again with
breastfeeding and hoping for more success. I was at the age of 30, and felt I had more stability in my life to succeed with breastfeeding. I had not educated myself with the benefits of breastfeeding, but I had the support from my fiancé, his sister and mother, my family and some friends of mine this time around, which helped tremendously. When my daughter latched in the hospital, everything was going so wonderfully. She was eating and seemed to be thriving beautifully. At her first check-up though, she had lost over 10% of her weight, which caused alarm for the doctor, myself and my fiancé. Again, I felt the feelings of defeat. I had started to feel excruciating pain when she latched and over the course of the next few days, the pain caused my anxiety to increase during the times of her feedings. The once
enjoyable moments with my daughter, had now become overwhelming and unbearable pain.
With the support from my fiancé, we went to a lactation consultant who informed us that our daughter had a lip and tongue tie that needed to be corrected. We were informed that this was the cause of my pain, and her excessive weight loss. We called and made an appointment for the following week to have this issue corrected. After we supplemented formula for a period of 24 hours, I decided then that I wanted to continue on with this breastfeeding journey, no matter what. My pump arrived the day after visiting the lactation consultant, and I began pumping every 2 ½ hours so my daughter could have a bottle of MY milk every 3 hours. Again, I felt exhausted and overwhelmed at times, but this time around I was determined to not give up. My daughter had the procedure, and for the next several weeks, I continued to pump and we gave her bottles of breastmilk. At 10 weeks old, I felt the desire to try again with getting
her to latch, and every day we practiced more and more. I am proud to say that today, we are at 16 weeks and still going strong! I now have these beautiful moments in the morning of nursing my baby girl. I am blessed to have a job that lets me pump twice a day so I can supply her with milk while I am away. And after a long day at work, I come home and nurse my baby girl until it is time for bed. I even have those special moments in the middle of the night, when she wakes up, rooting for her food, and wants to be closer to me. What an unbelievable beautiful feeling that I will remember the rest of my life!
When the bump in the road of my second journey with breastfeeding occurred, I almost gave
up. I remember telling my fiancé I wanted to give up. But something inside me said NO. During this time, I educated myself on the benefits of Breastmilk. Besides having that unbelievable bond with my daughter, I continued to read article after article of its benefits. I joined women’s groups on Facebook for more support and have learned more than I ever thought possible. It truly is incredible what a woman’s body was made to do for our children. We supply them with food to thrive, yet today we are at in a negative light when we feed our little ones out in public. There are the people that stare, say rude remarks, or looked embarrassed when we whip out our breasts to feed our beloved children.
I believe breastfeeding in public or continuing with breastfeeding despite the remarks, is only a
sign of strength. I respect every woman, who continues on even through these hard and trying times. I look forward to continuing on with my breastfeeding journey with my daughter. I am making small goals to reach my bigger goal of 1 year. I have reached my first goal of 3 months, and already we are making our way to the 6-month goal. During this process, I have meet other women whose journeys are different, yet our goal is the same: to nourish our babies and spread awareness of the benefits of Breastfeeding.
To every woman, no matter how you feed your baby, you are incredible.