One of my first nursing memories is sitting in my son’s NICU room on the 7th floor of our hospital, trying to pump.
I remember the pumping bra my mom bought me, because I was too out of it from my emergency c section to hold my own flanges, and needed help.
I remember having to have my boyfriend bring my boppy to the hospital, because my 5 lb baby was too hard for me to nurse on their flimsy hospital pillows.
I remember working with the nurses and Lactation Consultants in the NICU as they taught me the various ways we could try to latch my tiny baby.
I remember the nipple shields, and having to gavage while we nursed so that he could start to learn how to eat.
I remember pumping in my hospital room, and getting excited when I filled a syringe with milk, and how excited my boyfriend and I got when I made enough to graduate to using bottles instead of them.
I remember spending my first month exclusively pumping, because my preemie struggled so much with nursing.
I remember crying in the bathtub from the clogged ducts that I couldn’t seem to get rid of, no matter what I did.
I remember when we finally started to exclusively nurse, and I didn’t feel chained to my pump anymore.
I remember starting back to work after my short 8 weeks of maternity leave and realizing that I didn’t make enough milk to provide for him while I was gone.
I remember taking supplements and doing everything I could to avoid giving him formula, because I was constantly told “Breast is best.”
I remember finally giving in and supplementing with formula.
I remember finally getting to stop going to monthly weight checks at the doctor because my baby was finally beginning to thrive.
I remember his 6 month check up, when we finally reached the 1st percentile.
I remember going to nursing groups, because my son had a slight lip tie and after 6 months it still hurt to nurse.
I remember cluster feeding, and nights where it seemed like all we did was nurse.
I remember when it finally clicked and became easy, like it was something we had always done.
Our nursing journey didn’t have the easiest start, and there were times where I wasn’t sure we would make it. But breastfeeding has strengthened the bond between my son and I so, so much, and I am so thankful to be able to provide for him and nourish him this way. We’ve made it 11 months strong and currently have no end in sight. My little man loves his milkies; it was the first sign he started to recognize and clearly understand. I’m so thankful to have so many people around me who have supported my journey with nursing and have helped me give my son what he needs to grow.
This is for all of the moms out there who have struggled to nurse, who have spent hours crying over spilled milk, over clogged ducts, over having to supplement. I see you, I’m with you. Nursing can be so, so hard, but it is also the most beautiful, amazing thing, and I am so blessed to be able to do so with my son.