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When I was a new mom, it was really tough for me in the beginning. I was alone the majority of the time at home while my husband was away at work, and that was so difficult for me. I was alone with my baby and I had no one else to help watch over her. However, nothing beats when I was breastfeeding.
I was lucky to breastfeed my first child for eight months because breastmilk is the best source of nutrients you can offer to your baby (and it's cheaper, too!). Even though I really wanted to breastfeed my baby for as long as I could, I felt miserable doing it. I'd stay up in the middle of the nights breastfeeding while my husband would continue sleeping since he was always exhausted from work. I always felt alone.
Regardless of the emotions I was feeling at the time, there are a good handful of lessons that I learned after breastfeeding that I came across—even when I had my second child. Not only did I learn new tips for breastfeeding, but I learned so much about myself during the process. Breastfeeding should never be a negative thing. These are the lessons that I've personally learned, and you, too, can understand if you're currently breastfeeding.
You are strong.
When I gave birth to my first child and started to breastfeed her immediately, I was afraid I wouldn't be able to do this on my own without the nurse's help. I was very scared even though my husband was always there to assist me.
I continued to breastfeed my baby at home and was super cautious in the beginning. Then, as the days went, it became really easy to me and even comforting! I realized how strong I was at that point and was determined to give everything to my baby.
Ignore everyone's negative comments.
One of the things that I learned after breastfeeding was to completely ignore all of the negative comments. There will be moments during your breastfeeding days where you'll get a few comments here and there—especially breastfeeding in public. People told me there were places you should never breastfeed, and that included in public.
When I was breastfeeding my second child, I usually breastfed without a nursing cover because I hated having a cover over my baby. I remember people staring and even telling me that I should breastfeed my baby in the ladies' restroom. I actually ignored them all and carried on with feeding my child. I knew what my baby needed and I did what I was focused on doing: providing for my child.
You are unstoppable.
I went through so much pain just to nourish my baby. I’ve gone through uncomfortable latch positioning, bleeding nipples, burning, pain, fatigue, everything. I’ve even purchased different types of nursing bras and nipple creams to see if anything suited me. The first few weeks were hell to me because my daughter couldn't properly latch on and the pain was horrible.
I remembered my husband wanted to help me, but he really couldn't do anything but assist me with positioning and gave me moral support. There was a point where I actually wanted to give up. This brought me into reading a ton of articles, contact lactation consultants, asking for help from my sister and mother, and everyone really. After reading up on ways to be comfortable when breastfeeding and breastfeeding tips from breastfeeding moms, even though the first couple of weeks were nothing but pure pain, the pain soon subsided and I was able to handle the positioning better. My daughter even got better at latching and it became an easy process.
You'll actually cry over spilled milk.
I literally viewed breastmilk to be gold—that's how precious it is for your baby. It contains so many vitamins and nutrients that your baby needs to grow. It's also more natural than formula and it's better if you can provide your child with as much breastmilk as you can possibly offer. So whenever I accidentally spilled a little of my breastmilk, I actually cried.
In order for me to supply my baby with breastmilk, I constantly pumped just to stock up on the milk. I didn't want a single drop to go to waste because that single drop can be an important part of my baby's growth, which was one of the things that I learned after breastfeeding.
You are selfless.
As a parent, it's natural to be selfless when it comes to our children. We want to provide our kids with everything we can possibly give them. We'll make sacrifices in order to care for our child and satisfy their needs. When I was nursing my baby, I know I made a lot of sacrificing during those days.
I sacrificed my body, hardly had a social life, and my sex life wasn't as exciting (at the time). I remember being an utter mess that was always homebound. I gained weight because breastfeeding can make you always hungry. My mental health was going all over the place because of the emotions I was going through. Feeling lonely, used, the immense pain, fatigue, lack of communication; all of it was really ruining my mental state of health. Being very selfless was one of the things that I learned after breastfeeding.
You won't regret trying.
I always wanted to nurse both of my daughters for as long as I could until I couldn't produce any more breastmilk. I was able to last eight months breastfeeding my first child and I wanted to do the same with my second child. Even though eight months is a long time of nursing and pumping, I still wanted to provide my child with breastmilk.
I didn't want to switch to formula so fast, but I had to when five months hit and I couldn't produce any more for my second child. I was disappointed at first, but all of the nursing and pumping went to good use. I didn't regret trying to use all my breastmilk until I switched to formula.
You are bold.
What I learned after breastfeeding my baby out in the public was that I was certainly bold. I have friends who avoided nursing their babies in public to prevent getting stared at or receiving any negative comments. I didn't care. I also absolutely hated using the nursing cover because it was extremely uncomfortable, my baby and I would get hot under it, and I wanted to see my child's face.
One of the best things about breastfeeding is watching your baby eat and knowing that she's being nourished. No matter how many stares I was getting, I was satisfied to see my baby eating.
It's okay to use breast milk and formula.
Breastmilk is definitely the best source of food you can provide to your child if you're producing enough. I tried to offer both of my children as much breastmilk as I possibly could before switching to formula. Even though I never liked to use formula when I was nursing my first child, I grew to be fond of it.
Formula does offer vitamins and nutrients to your baby, but the only downside is paying for it since we're used to using our natural breastmilk. One of the lessons that I learned after breastfeeding was that formula is still a great source of nutrients to provide for your child. We have no choice but to switch to it after we're all out of breastmilk.
You are unapologetic.
Never, ever apologize to those around you when you have to nurse your baby. This was one of the things that I learned after breastfeeding because I use to always apologize to my friends and family members for breastfeeding in front of them. I didn't know why I apologized but it felt like I needed to every time I whipped out my boob in front of people to feed my baby.
When I had my second child, I stopped apologizing to people. If my baby was hungry, I was going to feed her right in front of everyone. The less I was saying sorry to everyone, the more empowered I was starting to feel. It also felt great naturally nursing my baby in front of friends and family because they knew that I needed to and wouldn't judge me.
The last session is bittersweet.
Lastly, one of the things that I learned after breastfeeding was that the last session was bittersweet. I loved nursing my baby because we always had a connection during the process. I would nourish my daughters and watching them eat was the best feeling. I knew I was taking care of them and I felt their comfort whenever I laid them against my skin.
I remember the last few days of breastfeeding both of my children; it was both a sad and pleasant experience. I knew that I wouldn't be as close to them as when I was nursing them. However, the last session also meant that they're growing up and are capable of heading to the next step in their lives.