I always knew I would nurse my babies, and my education as a chiropractor confirmed what I believed about the countless benefits of breastfeeding. I saw the side effects of a body without human breastmilk when I learned of my husband’s struggles with digestive and immune function, and I vowed I would give my children as strong of a foundation as I could to help them avoid the health obstacles he has faced in his life. Breastfeeding has become easier the older Ensley grows, and we are finally getting into our groove together. Nursing my baby girl has become the most anticipated part of my day, especially rushing home from work to be with her. I cherish our nighttime feedings, when the world is still, and I get to spend extra moments just the two of us, connecting after a long day apart. Since birth, I have been her source for nourishment, companionship, and comfort, and although the requirements of a nursing mother are challenging, I am humbled to be hers. ❤️
I have always wanted to become a mom and I always knew I would breastfeed but I never knew how hard it would be. I am blessed to have a baby who loves to nurse. My sweet Evelyn was born in an expeditions c section because she wanted to see the world face first. We were new, we didn't know what we were doing, she was hungry and I was in pain. She was 3 days old and we saught out Betsy on new years Eve, praying she was open and willing to see us. Betsy's magic worked and so did we. Evie continued to gain weight and I gained confidence. I have learned so much about the amazing things my body can do and how powerful breast milk truly is. We use it on every scratch, for every cold, and everything in between.
It's hard to just sit and embrace cluster feeding, it's hard to let go of the dishes and laundry, it's hard to be constantly hungry and thirsty. It's hard when baby won't latch correctly and it's hard when they start eating solids and nolonger need you. It's hard when you get starred at for just trying to feed your baby and it's hard to keep up your supply. It's hard to spend your work breaks alone in a room pumping and wishing that you could just be at home feeding your baby.
It's hard but when that sweet baby with her blue eyes looks into mine my heart melts and every ounce of hard becomes easy, worth it, and rewarding.
Hard has taught me patience and to just sit, with no phone, book, tv or other distractions. Just me and my sweet girl.
To have this picture reminds me that hard is beautiful, perfect, and one of the best decisions I have ever made.
My breast feeding journey has now spanned over 8 years. I nursed my first baby for almost a year but it was a huge struggle. I had her very young and had little knowledge or support with breastfeeding. When I got pregnant with my second I decided to gain all the knowledge I could to have a longer and more pleasant and easy experience. That to me is really where my journey began. I now have been nursing for over 4 years straight, through two full pregnancies and currently tandem nursing my 10 month old son and 2 year old daughter. I have over the years dealt with many different struggles spanning from mastitis, vasospasms, severe nursing aversions while pregnant and when my third daughter was born I completely lost my supply and had to re-lactate. On the up side I have donated thousands of oz over the years and finally achieved my goal of tandem nursing. I'm so thankful for the bond breastfeeding has given me with my children. Its such a huge part of who I am and I'm so thankful I am able to nurse my babies.
Ashlynn is named after the scripture Isaiah 61 “to comfort all who mourn,and provide for those who grieve in Zion. to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of Ashes.” Ashlynn is our Rainbow baby and has brought such joy and blessings to our life. I was blessed to breastfeed her big brother Grayson until he was 14 months old and then was able to donate my breast milk to a baby in need after having Ashlynn's big sister Raelynn who was stillborn in 2017. Being able to breastfeed Ashlynn is an honor to me since I wasn't sure if I would be able to have another baby after Raelynn. I have enjoyed the journey nursing Ashlynn and watching her grow to be the miracle God made her to be. There is nothing better than seeing her sweet smile and big blue eyes when she is nursing.
Motherhood introduced itself to me when I was a mere 22 years of age. I had many goals as a young mother but the one that felt heaviest on my heart was providing nutrition to my child through nursing. I learned the first week of my son’s life that breastfeeding a small body seemed impossible to understand and we struggled teaching one another how to do it, “right”. Through my limited network of women around me I was encouraged to stop what felt most natural and opt for something “easier” that wouldn’t wake me up every hour or pumping away my lunch breaks. As the judgement fell onto my shoulders, I became more and more determined to not give up. The small network of women I met that breastfed inspired me to become a support system for women like myself, so I pursued a lactation certificate and entered the world of aiding women when they needed it most. Breastfeeding was a struggle with my second child who entered the world in my own bedroom seven years after my first was born. I thought breastfeeding would come easy the next go around but I was mistaken as I learned about lip and tongue ties as well as a child with food intolerance issues. My third breastfed child took me into the world of unknown when he struggled with 30 different foods so my diet became limited enough that I lost close to 100 pounds by consuming only what he was not reactive to. Many timesI feel the women who do this should earn some type of reward because of the dedication they provide out of selflessness. My final goal in nursing was to tandem feed. Although I tried with my daughter to carry over to my third pregnancy, my milk supply dried up and she quickly weaned herself. However, I fought hard to encourage my third child to continue nursing so we could share the bond of breastfeeding with our upcoming arrival. At 38 weeks, 6 days into the pregnancy, we learned our precious son’s heart had stopped beating. My dreams of tandem nursing died along with my son that November day. As sad as the story ends there, we decided his name would not die in vain and we welcomed our fifth beautiful child, Rowyn into the world a year later. Although I did not get my chance to tandem nurse, breastfeeding our fifth child has healed my heart in ways no one would understand unless you walked the path chosen for us. These breastfeeding photos represent so much to me in ways no one can truly understand. Not only was my body chosen to create them but also to feed them. My body is a gift from God that has created life but fed it too.
For as long as I can remember breastfeeding was always part of my mommy plan. For me personally I knew my journey to motherhood was going to be a difficult one. At 39 years old, fighting type 2 diabetes, and living with PCOS and being extremely overweight, I definitely had my work cut out. But I wasn't going down without a fight. It took 17 IUI's, a heartbreaking miscarriage and a slew of other infertility work ups to finally reach the finish line. With less than a month to our due date I was overwhelmed by the fear that my PCOS would keep me from being able to successfully breastfeed my daughter. I was referred to the breastfeeding Center buy a girlfriend who told me to talk to Betsy first and to not give up on my dream of breastfeeding my daughter, she said if anyone could help me it would be Betsy. So with just two weeks before our due date my husband and I attended a last minute breastfeeding class. It was during that class when Betsy said "It's mind over matter ladies" you have to tell yourself "I can breastfeed, I will breast feed, I am breastfeeding my child"... In that moment my determination skyrocketed. I spoke with Betsy after the class and she recommended a bottle of Goats Rue that she had for sale in the shop. Betsy gave me more encouraging words and sent me on my way. Two weeks later on November 28th after 36 hours of labor we welcomed our daughter Isabella into this world. Within minutes of delivering I was trying to breastfeed my daughter. Latching was a bit of a challenge but after a few tries and lots of encouraging nurses, it happened. Every dream came to fruition in that one moment, "The first latch". I looked down unable to blink back the tears. The sensation was a soft tug, almost a tickle. My heart fluttered with such joy. Time just stood still, there I was breastfeeding my daughter in perfect harmony with the natural order of things. I love breastfeeding and I didn't think that I really said that at all.....Breastfeeding allows me to slow down and have these quite blissful moments of absolute connectedness with my daughter. Time seems to just stands still. It's like a love language we share just between us felt with skin to skin, heartbeat aginst heartbeat. It's just such a beautiful experience! To just fast forward to present day is a bit unfair. I would be leaving out being fitted for my breastfeeding bras, trying different nipple creams, hunting for appropriate plus size shirts that I could wear when out in public breastfeeding, the back-and-forth questioning do I have the right technique when holding her when she's feeding, pumping schedules, cluster feedings, back and forth lazy boob, clogged ducts, am I producing enough milk cry sessions, the standing in the shower and letting scalding water just run over my sore overworked boobs, compulsively harvesting a milk supply. O, and that I've lost a hundred and twelve pounds during this journey. The current reality is I breastfeed my daughter anywhere, at any time, wearing whatever I have on, showing whatever I show. It's because of Betsy and the breast feeding center and women everywhere on this crusade to normalize breastfeeding that I'm happy to say this journey has been absolutely amazing! I will continue to breastfeed my daughter as long as my body will allow it. I truly hope more women choose this path and find the balance, because once you do it's hard to imagine it any other way!
I want to start this off first by saying that every mamas journey is different. For me, mine started on August 1st, 2018, the day my daughter was born. I had an amazing all natural birth with high hopes that my daughter would latch on as soon as I placed her on my chest. But she didn’t. I didn’t have the “ideal” nipples as one might say. I always knew I wanted to breastfeed so hearing my nipples were too flat and my daughter might struggle worried me. The nurses tried everything they could to help her latch, but she just wouldn’t. After about an hour or so of trying different positions and ways to stimulate my nipples, they decided to go with their last resort- the nipple shield. Ah-ha! Finally something worked! I successfully was able to start breastfeeding and by the end of my stay I didn’t even need it! Being a breastfed child, my daughter was extremely jaundice and lost almost a pound from birth. I had to take her to the pediatrician everyday during her first week of life. I heard a lot of “I know you want to breastfeed, but you might need to consider formula too”. I however was confident in what my body and these “magical boobies” could do! My sister-in-laws told me from the get-go “Breastfeeding is HARD, but don’t give up because it is SO worth it in the end”! And you know what, they were so right! Over the past 11.5 months I have not only been my daughters “food truck” (as Jared likes to call it), but I’ve also been her comfort, her healer, her paci, her quick sip, and her play toy, all the while being scratched, slapped, kicked, bit, and even twisted ! We have breastfed anywhere and everywhere from bed, to bathtime, to grocery shopping, and even church. Some days I sigh because I’m tired of being touched and others we stare at one another and hum to each other. At the end of the day, I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything and can’t wait to see how far our breastfeeding journey will go!
My breastfeeding journey hasn’t been hard. My son latched wonderfully, I produced plenty of milk, I never had pain and I had a wonderfully supportive husband who held my hand during it all. But my journey to try breastfeeding was a challenge. I am not a person who likes to be touched, I like my space. Before I was pregnant I was disgusted at the thought of breastfeeding a baby and had no intention of trying. What it came down to was being uneducated, I had no idea what wonders my body could do! No one ever taught me and honestly, family members encouraged me NOT to do it. When I became pregnant my husband suggested I try breastfeeding if I wanted, that he thought it was a great idea. I started to throw the idea around. Then someone told me to go take a breastfeeding class at The Breastfeeding Center in Massillon. My husband and I took the class and my perspective changed. I learned so much in that short class and with my husbands support I said “I will try, my goal is 6 months”. Let me tell you when they put my son in my arms and he latched right on, I knew it was for me. Now I’m nursing my nearly 15 month old still, with no plans of weaning anytime soon!
I have been around breastfeeding my whole life. My mom nursed me for at least 2 years. And she also breastfed all of her nine children. I’m the second oldest. When I had children I knew I was going to breastfeed. It just came natural to me. I have a four year old daughter, Julianna who was exclusively breastfed for 2 years. We lost our second daughter Ella at 34 weeks. I ended up donating her milk that I pumped for the two short weeks that she was with us. Our rainbow William is 13 months. I plan to exclusively breastfeed him for at least 2 years or longer!