Our Breastfeeding Journey
In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, I wanted to share my thoughts on breastfeeding my daughter Scarlett. I knew since I conceived Scarlett that I at the very least would try my hardest to breastfeed. It was something very important to me. The days we spent in the hospital after I delivered Scarlett were very hard for me, breastfeeding was not easy for us in the beginning and I was beginning to think it was not going to work for us. Scarlett couldn't latch well and my milk didn't come in until 5 days after she was born. With that along with the huge hormone dump postpartum I wasn't in a great place, but we worked at it all day every day. It hurt, I cried, she cried but we eventually got the hang of it. Her latch got better, we stopped using the nipple shield eventually and we could find more comfortable positions to work with. We did it! I thought! I was just so very proud of us. From then on breastfeeding became a solace for me and Scarlett. It was our time to be together. I would rock her, caress her hair and kissed her fingers and sing to her, although she would eventually learn to put her hand on my mouth to get me to stop, apparently she wasn’t a fan! I always loved this time we shared together no matter where we were or what we were doing I could stop, sit down with her and just be present with her. Again, it was OUR time and I loved it.
Our Breastfeeding journey continued and soon she turned 1 and I started getting the questions asking if and when I planned to wean her. To be honest I felt offended by those questions. I felt like people were starting to disprove of what I felt like was a huge accomplishment, something incredibly hard for a lot of women to achieve. 1 whole year of breastfeeding. I wanted to let Scarlett decide when to stop. This was more than just providing nutrients, this was a loving ritual that I'm sure made Scarlett feel safe, loved and happy. I am proud to say I breastfed her up until the day she died. 15 months and 6 days of being able to provide for my baby. Being able to stop every day during my day and snuggle her. As I look back on her life that time was so precious to me and I am so happy that we were able to work though our early hardships. One of my most favorite memories happened the December before she died. We were in Lansing and it was Christmas time, we had a long day spending wonderful time with family and we were finally laying down to sleep. I was changing into my nightclothes when Scarlett saw me without my shirt on she got so excited, she made a “ooooo” sound and just looked so purely happy that she was about to get some food. Ben and I laughed so hard and joked about it but in all honesty is was just a pure and perfect response.
I know that breastfeeding isn’t for everyone, some women are unable to produce milk and some women choose to bottle feed. This is simply a post dedicated to my gratitude that I was able to share these moments with my daughter. Our breastfeeding journey helped me connect with her in ways I never imagined. I miss that connection, I miss her in ways that are hard to even communicate.