Committing to exclusive breastfeeding meant I signed up to having my baby (or babies) with me or within approximately 20 feet of me every hour of the day at first. It takes about 3-5 weeks to establish your milk supply and the best way to do this is nurse your baby every time they are hungry or even just a little hungry or fussy, even if they just nursed 10 minutes ago. You are literally within his/her physical presence ALL THE TIME. Being the main source of food for another person is a lot of work, but breastfeeding is what I wanted to do and I would not have it any other way.
Something no one told me, which I quickly figured out, was just how much of a commitment breastfeeding is. My lactation consultant often asks what is it about moms who stick with it and moms who do not. I cannot put my finger on it, but I know I would give my life for my children, so why wouldn’t I give them the very best food out there – my milk? Human milk for human babies? What a concept!
This may come as a surprise, but I was not really interested in breastfeeding before I had my oldest daughter. I did not want to have a baby hanging off of me. I was not breastfed as a baby, I did not have breastfeeding role models growing up, it just seemed foreign, unnecessary, and plain weird. It was my husband who encouraged me to just give it a shot. He knows better than to tell me what to do, so his gentle suggestion was just the right nudge I needed.
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