Growing up I remember seeing relatives feed their babies and I would awkwardly look away or try to avoid contact. I'm not sure why I felt so embarrassed to see someone feeding their baby, it was perfectly natural, and no one ever said anything in my family...maybe it was the culture that we saw on TV where breasts were always sexualized. Whatever the reasons for my feelings, when Kalei was born, and then Kili, I decided I wanted to break that cycle of feeling in my own family.
My breastfeeding journey wasn't easy at first but I stuck it out. When I had Kalei I didn't know how hard it could be - from pain and learning about latching - I struggled those first few weeks. I was determined not to give up but I wish I knew, I would not have been so embarrassed by having the lactation consultants come in and help.
If I could do it over, I would definitely ask for help and to make sure that latch is good! Who knew that this was something that didn't necessarily come natural and that a good latch could make all the difference! I also never heard of tongue or lip ties until well after my keiki had mastered their latch (maybe it's because I never read the baby books!).
But I stuck it out and got better with each of my keiki and for me, it was worth it. That special bond I had with each of them is one I will cherish. The countless hours spent with them, gazing into their eyes, figuring out how to feed them while they were in the baby carrier or trying to eat without spilling food on their tiny head!
I am thankful I am able to show my older keiki how the baby gets fed from Mommy. That they are not embarrassed to see me feeding baby not covered up but rather ask why I cover up when we are out in public. I love that they see breastfeeding as a normal thing moms do to feed their baby and that they do not need to cover up to do so.
I wonder how much milk I've produced over the past 6 years. I swear I feel like a cow with the amount I was able to feed, pump and the amount that they spit up! After a quick google search, I found this cool fact from Nancy Mohrbacher, a certified lactation consultant:
"...At the peak of nursing -- usually around the 40th day -- a lactating mother will produce up to 30 ounces of breast milk every 24 hours."
How cool is that! I remember our outside freezer being full of bags of milk and how upset I got at the thought of it melting away during one hurricane scare! I have never asked my husband to go out and get me anything (I'm usually a "I can do it myself" kind of person) but I told him he had to go buy a generator because I couldn't lose all that milk if the hurricane hit!
I am so grateful I was able to breastfeed each of my keiki (and pump while I worked). I know it is not always the case but in honor of World Breast Feeding Week, I just wanted to briefly share my journey.
Whether you are on this journey currently or are now done with this chapter of your life...or maybe had challenges or couldn't continue, or maybe didn't have the chance...know that you are amazing Mama.