A recent breastfeeding photograph of mine was shared, with the comment “The loving support of your spouse is crucial to a successful breastfeeding journey.” I was ecstatic for one of my photographs to be featured by a breastfeeding in public movement, yet I took a little offense to the caption. While I’m sure the support of a spouse is an amazing plus when breastfeeding, as a single mother, I hardly agreed that it is crucial. My son and I have been breastfeeding over twenty-one months strong, just him and I, and we have had, and continue to have, an amazing and very successful breastfeeding journey. Although, no spouse or significant other was involved any time during my pregnancy nor our breastfeeding journey, I did not go at it alone by any means, and the sharing of my photograph really caused me to pause and think about who deserved my sincere and upmost gratitude for being a supportive part of our breastfeeding journey, just as I hope reading this post will cause you to do the same.
To those doctors, nurses, and lactation counselors at Presby Plano, thank you for starting us off on the breastfeeding path and giving us to the tools we needed to be successful from the very beginning. This hospital was phenomenal…and we came to know the staff quite well in the last six weeks of my pregnancy, as my son was bound and determined to be born well before he should have been ready. But, from day one, they were advocates of breastfeeding. They offered mothers, and spouses, a free breastfeeding class. I remember attending and just soaking in the wealth of information, just waiting for our ‘Golden Hour’ and the first time my son nursed. But, it’s not that easy. They aren’t just born and bam! on the breast, easy as pie. Thank goodness I had the support of the most amazing lactation consultants from the minute my son was born. They were there, by my side, any time I needed them, and in one word, were just amazing! Even after being discharged, for the last twenty-one months, they don’t miss a beat when I call with a question or stop by. They truly care about our breastfeeding journey and have continued to be a support system for my son and I.
To Sharni, Lydia, and Cheyenne, you gave us community, and for that I will forever be grateful. Being a teacher, I had to return to work for about eight weeks after my son was born. Once out for summer though, I decided to visit our local Nappy Shoppe for their Breastfeeding Café. The idea of meeting other new-er moms who were ‘crunchy’ like us sounded wonderful, plus it was free and they had a lactation counselor there for any questions I may have. After the first visit, we were hooked! We found ourselves spending almost entire Wednesdays at the store with the other breastfeeding mommas and their littles. We had found our niche, our community, our home-away-from home. Cheyenne and Lydia, the lactation counselors, were so very knowledgeable and were so sweet. I still go to them for advice and truly value what they say. We also met some of our closest friends through this group. There is nothing like other breastfeeding mommas, who will stand beside you and proudly nurse their littles too, through think and thin!
To Angela, Stephanie, and Christine, you are my village. I would be lost without you three mommas. I love you and your littles! You are so much more than just friends, you are the sisters I never had. It means the world to me that I get to share motherhood, breastfeeding and all, with you three. Thank you for being there day in and day out, and I so look forward to watching us grow as mothers and watching our littles grow up together!
And finally, there are my parents and their spouses. Mom and Rich, Dad and Terry, there are no words to tell you what you mean to us and to tell you how much we love and cherish you. I know that things are very different now when it comes to breastfeeding than they were when I was little. I’ve known for as long as I can remember that my mother breastfed me until I was eighteen months old, but it wasn’t until recently she told me that she never, ever breastfed me in public. It was something she only did in the privacy of our home. So, I understood that my openness in my breastfeeding journey might be hard for them to swallow. But, while at times it may have been hard for them when I openly nurse my son in public, they continue to support me in my choice and our journey. Whether it be walking through Hobby Lobby holding and nursing my son, or breastfeeding him after a nice dinner out, they have always done whatever they can to help with our breastfeeding journey and support us, and that means the world to me.
So, while I may not have had a spouse’s help, I did and still do have an incredible amount of support behind me, cheering me on and helping to make our extended breastfeeding journey possible. It is to you all, that from the bottom of my heart, I say Thank You. There are no words to describe how I will cherish this journey for the rest of my life.
I will always remember the part you played in it.
Who has helped you in your breastfeeding journey? Would you be where you are in your journey today without them? Have you been able to breastfeed longer and more successfully because of their support? Maybe now is a great time to let them know just how much they have helped you and how truly grateful you are!
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