The Truth about Breastfeeding

Let’s agree up front that it’s true that breastfeeding is better for Baby and Mother. There is no question about that. Ever. However, having done it three times, I think it’s time to tell the truth about it so moms know what they are getting into. There are a lot of women out there, young and old, who may have a romanticized view of what it involves and what happens, and it seems to me that most of the info out there is sterilized and glosses over the reality of it. This may have all been talked about in excess on those “mommy blogs” one hears about, but I haven’t spent any time there, so this is my version.

The recent birth of my grand-niece reminded me that so many moms enter motherhood not sure what to expect, which makes it easy to waste energy worrying or feeling like a failure. So Linda, this one is for you! I was once a young mother, too, who didn’t know what to expect, and with each child the exact same thing happened. So here we go, the unvarnished, unfiltered truth about breastfeeding:

 

  1. Your milk will not “come in” for two to four days after the baby is born. The baby will suck and suck and it will seem like nothing is happening. Don’t panic. And don’t let the baby over-suck. Your baby is getting precious “colostrum” which is an extremely condensed magic formula essential for the baby’s future health. Trust me, even if it seems like nothing is happening, something very, very important is happening.
  2. Be careful what you wish for because when your milk finally does “come in,” it will come in with a vengeance, and it will hurt like hell for two to three days and your boobs will feel like giant rocks and you may even want to cry. The best remedy for this is to wear a super-supportive bra. You will want to sleep in it, too.
  3. You will start to leak. And you will leak for months, or maybe even years if you are one of those mothers who keep on breastfeeding into toddlerhood (I was not). There is nothing you can do to prevent it. The only thing you can do is be prepared by wearing pads between your boobs and your bra. And yes, you will need to change them a few times a day, just like a diaper.
  4. Your nipples will probably hurt. A LOT. For a good two to three weeks. The pain will mostly be right as they “latch on” and start sucking. It’s a pain that seems unbearable. And then, slowly, gradually, it becomes bearable. And then, eventually, all the pain goes away.
  5. Once the pain goes away, breastfeeding feels good. Yes, all sorts of people like sucking on nipples, and it does feel the same whether it’s a baby or a lover. Although you will probably be in a different frame of mind when it’s your baby. Truly, once the pain goes away, it is a pleasure in many respects…so hang in there, it’s worth it!
  6. Once the pain goes away, it is totally easier. No messy bottles. No mixing. No heating and potential burning of tongues and wrists. If you have a willing partner, you don’t even have to get out of bed, either. Seriously, this is the part that makes it worthwhile, so keep at it, enjoy it, and do it for as long as possible.
  7. Don’t use soap on your nipples. It takes away the important natural oils that keep your nipples healthy as you breastfeed. Hot water in the shower is fine and clean enough. No need to “sterilize” anything.
  8. Invest in or borrow a good pump. A good pump is like wearing cashmere. A bad pump is like wearing burlap. Trust me, cashmere is much more comfortable.
  9. Don’t expect using a pump to keep your milk flowing. I personally found that once I went back to work and started pumping, it was a lot harder to keep my milk flowing freely. Partly, I’m sure, because I started to substitute a few bottles of organic formula (only available for my third child!) as time went on. Anyway, if you want to keep breastfeeding for a long time, you really have to stay committed to it.
  10. Remember, breastfeeding is free. Truly, it doesn’t cost anything. And I don’t believe any of those old wives’ tales about avoiding certain foods (except alcohol, which I avoid anyway). Eat well (nutritiously, organically, and healthfully) for yourself and you will feed your baby well.  But things you put on and in your body WILL go through to your milk to your baby, so avoid anything toxic and things like plastic for your food. But, your own dirty toxins are better than whatever mystery is in formula and plastic bottles (I always used glass bottles).
  11. Finally, one day your boobs will return to normal size, and even though the shape might have changed and they might sag a bit more, they will still be beautiful and loved by all the people in your life who loved your breasts to begin with. After all, now that you’ve had a baby, you must know how they are made, right?

Mothers, have I forgotten anything?

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25 Responses to The Truth about Breastfeeding

  1. Rachel Assuncao January 23, 2012 at 10:33 am #

    What a great post – you’ve covered off most of the basics I would too.

    One thing that I would add is to trust yourself completely in this process. It’s easy for well-meaning nurses, lactation consultants, other mothers, midwives, etc. to give advice. It’s just as easy for that advice to be contradictory, leaving you confused. You may not know what you are doing from experience, but you do know what you’re doing on a ‘women have been doing this for millennia and therefore it’s imprinted in my genes’ kind of level. There’s also that sixth sense feeling of ‘something is wrong’ or ‘this is working out just right’. Trust in all of that feeling, and act on it first, not on outside opinions.

  2. Stephanie Williams January 23, 2012 at 11:09 am #

    Love the post! A great book to read while pregnant to help you understand everything you need to know about breastfeeding is The Nursing Mother’s Companion. I love it. It has helped me through these first 4 months of feeding my little guy and I plan to just do the first year. It covers all the basics and the truths that no one talks about. Pain, blisters, weaning, working, infections you can get, even an index for medicines you can and cannot take during breastfeeding. Just like the post said it isn’t all peaches but I feel its totally worth it. If you go into it with confindence and knowledge and stick to what you want you’ll be successful at it. Also, I couldnt agree more with Trust Yourself! Don’t let all the outside world of opinions effect your ultimate decision.

  3. emi kirschner January 23, 2012 at 12:45 pm #

    This is great! I loved nursing both my kids. So much easier in the middle of the night than trying to get a bottle ready.

  4. Kimberley Bruesch January 23, 2012 at 1:33 pm #

    I loved breastfeeding and felt good knowing I was giving my babies the best possible food. I nursed all four of mine from 2-4 years each. I only had the rock hard “statue” breasts the first time my milk came in. I prepared my nipples before the birth of my first child by exposing them more to the air. I only experienced sore nipples for a very short time. Three of my children are adults now and they have experienced a superior degree of good health and are all fit and trim. I credit that, in large part, to the good nutritional start they received. After all these years and so many spent nursing, my breasts are only slightly altered from their original appearance and that was more from the excessive weight gain during my first pregnancy than anything else. I wish more mothers would make the commitment to nursing and overcome the hurdles. It really is much easier overall and SO MUCH BETTER for mother and baby alike.

  5. Brenda Williams January 23, 2012 at 3:27 pm #

    Yep, you hit it right on the head. I wish, so wish, I’d had this when I had my first baby. It was all very scary and I was sure he wasn’t getting enough to eat and everything wasn’t clean enough. This is just what new Moms need to read. Quick read and to the point. Good job!

  6. Tricia January 23, 2012 at 3:57 pm #

    There are a lot of absolutes in this article. Ive nursed four times and never did my breasts themselves hurt from the milk coming in, only later when I became encourged the first time I tried to wean because I was doing it too abruptly, after that I always weaned gradually. THe only pain I experienced was nipple pain, true torture, but so short lived. I never leaked, it’s not absolute for everyone… #s 4,5,6,& 7 True, # 8 Very true! # 9, if you can get ahold of the Medela Sympony it will absolutly keep your milk flowing! It costs over 1k but I was able to rent it for 55 a month from a local hospital, devine! I would have purchased one if I had known how many children I would have! So worth it, maybe used ones out there. And the rest True, sadly breast are not the same after nurseing! But, I can say 2 years later, the longest I’ve gone without nurseing since I began, they have a bit of their shape back, and it’s not due to weight gain, I am still 110 lbs and work out regularily, they just seem to be tieing themselve back together a bit, more tight, but not perfect!

  7. Stephanie Taylor Christensen January 23, 2012 at 5:21 pm #

    I breast fed my son for a year and couldn’t believe the pain and agony that came with those early days of breastfeeding. I think it’s most important for moms to banish the idea that they will ever love breastfeeding. Maybe some do–but it was never something I loved doing and frankly, it makes the job of motherhood much more challenging, in my opinion. But I kept with it for a year–even after returning to work full-time–because I believed so strongly in the importance of giving my son every chance at the best start to a healthy life. The way I see it–you can give your kids formula, or breastmilk. And later in life, you can drive through a McDonald’s drive through for their lunch, or make a meal that is balanced and healthy. Both are available, both are technically food, and one takes alot more effort–but pays off far more in the long run.

  8. Sara Pohl January 23, 2012 at 9:29 pm #

    As a four-time mommy just about to wean my little one, I almost cried reading this post. The biggest thing I would like to agree with and emphasize is if you are having problems, get help and know it gets better. I don’t know anything that connected me more to my babies than nursing them. Oh, and a word to the wise, don’t let those nay-sayers get on your nerves. Breast feeding is awesome, natural, and wonderful. They are the ones to lose out!

  9. Rebecca Crowder January 24, 2012 at 1:09 am #

    Your post is right on target. I was thinking about every point and then you would get to it! The only thing I didn’t experience was having a pump not keep my milk coming in abundance. This was in the eighties, and all I had was a simple hand pump, in the restroom at work (lots of fun, right?!), but it worked great and kept my milk coming; then I got to breastfeed my daughter at the babysitters before I took her home, as well as in the evening and night as she needed to. With my second daughter, I was very lucky to be off work for two years to breastfeed as needed, round the clock–what a gift! Breastfeeding is not only what is best for babies, but it is what breasts are actually for, and I believe it’s best for the health of moms and babies. Also, it is the most incredible bonding experience that a mom can experience with her baby, and I treasure it to this day (I was tearing up when I read this, as I thought back to those incredible, special times). Thanks so much for your wonderful post!

  10. Momof3 January 24, 2012 at 6:13 am #

    I think its important to note that the latching on is not uncomfortable for all women. Just as nipple sensitivity varies from woman to woman, so will discomfort with the latching – some experience no pain, and some a lot of pain. Also, having nursed 3 babies, I strongly advise women to refrain from using a pump before their milk comes in, and even for the month following if that’s possible. Many nurses and midwives urge its use, but it will only make the amount your body creates out of whack and will keep you engorged; milk production works on supply and demand.

  11. Joanne January 24, 2012 at 12:40 pm #

    This post was great. The discomfort does go away but is very uncomfortable at first. I found that taking a little acetaminophen (Tylenol) 30 minutes before nursing several times a day helped me tolerate the discomfort and not want to give up the nursing.

  12. Kira Wright January 24, 2012 at 1:07 pm #

    What drew me to read this posting was the blatant honesty. I just had my second child and feel like an old pro now, but immediately after my first child, I was mortified by the half-truths and omissions which were shared (or not shared) by friends and family pertaining to the birth, breastfeeding and raising of an infant. My husband and I have an agreement that we will always be truthful with friends about the rewards and challenges of becoming parents. I just hope more people can do the same with us…it has to be the best way to learn from one another. So, if you find yourselves talking to friends in the future about your parenting days, don’t fib. Share the truth about the glories and the challenges. It does no one any good to tell people your son slept through the night at 6 days when he never slept more than 5 hours at a time until he was 15 months old.

  13. Amanda West January 24, 2012 at 6:25 pm #

    If I had been able to breastfeed at all, I would have as long as possible. I don’t think any amount of pain would have stopped me.

  14. Kira =] January 24, 2012 at 11:18 pm #

    Just one correction- Breastfeeding does NOT cause sagging breasts. Poor bra support & fit lead to saggy boobs. Because the milk can cause the breasts to be so full and sometimes feel like they need constant support, I have come across more non-nursing women with saggy breasts than nursing women. Simply because nursing women tend to pay more attention to how their boobs fit/feel in a bra.

    I know it’s not a big point, but it’s been one of the big myths I’ve run into with encouraging very young mothers to consider breastfeeding.

  15. Rebecca Crowder January 25, 2012 at 1:15 am #

    Just a quick note to say that I completely agree with Kira’s post (at 11:18 pm). I also think that the main cause of breast sagging is either not wearing a bra at all or wearing an improperly fitting or nonsupportive bra. Breastfeeding can actually increase the youthfulness of breasts for many years after (I’ve even had comments from my doctor and mammogram technicians). I, too, would be sorry if any women were discouraged from nursing because of an impression that it would inevitably cause sagging. I have not seen this in myself or heard it from other nursing mothers I’ve known. Thanks to all for a great discussion on this important topic!

  16. bonnie January 25, 2012 at 9:13 am #

    Gee, weird! I totally disagree with the 1st four. Maybe mild discomfit when your breasts are too full, but pain? The only time it hurts is when the baby bites! Yes, it takes commitment. And, oh so worth it. Much easier than bottles.

  17. Kat January 25, 2012 at 10:34 am #

    This is a very helpful article. I think the first few points can vary a great deal from one woman to the next. My milk tends to come in between 24-36 hours after birth. It’s uncomfortable, but not particularly painful. Letdown for me is intense, but I have oversupply/overactive letdown, some women don’t feel their milk let down and don’t leak *and this is normal too!* It doesn’t mean you don’t have enough milk if you are not leaking all over the place with painful rock hard breasts.

    Always watch the baby, NOT the clock, and don’t limit the baby’s time at the breast because stimulation from the baby suckling is how your body knows it’s time to make more milk.

    And I don’t know about others, but long after my milk had dried up and my child had weaned, the sound of a crying baby in the store would make my breasts tingle like they were trying to make milk for the poor hungry baby.

  18. DezLMT January 25, 2012 at 11:04 am #

    Great post. The only thing I don’t totally agree with is the pumping thing. Well really just part of it. I definitely agree that if you can borrow or rent, or even buy a really good pump, it makes soooooo much difference. I’ve used a crappy one from walmart that set me back over $100, and it kept falling apart when I would try to use it. But in my county there is a WIC program (women, infants, & children) and they let me borrow a hospital grade pump for free. It is a completely different suction than the other pump I had. And so much more comfortable, and efficient. The the pump itself is where I agree.

    I disagree in part, and keep in mind this is only from personal experience, that you will not keep producing much if you stop breast feeding and just start pumping, or if you choose to do both. It’s all about your consistancy. I myself had originally only planned to pump and give my son only breast milk. I was nervous though, that everyone said it wouldn’t work cuz it’s a different suction and all that. My son is 10 months old, and only ever had 1 bottle of formula right after birth cuz I was coming out of anesthesia after an emergency c-section and his glucose was low.

    He had a terrible time nursing at the hospital, it was the most painful thing everrrrrr, and I don’t even use novicane at the dentist. But I thought that is how it was suppose to feel because I heard stories from friends. He was latched on I thought, but improperly. So when the lactation aid came in and asked how we were doing I just sent her away cuz I thought we were doing it right. (keep in mind it’s a partnership! You and your baby are a team! And if there is difficulty it’s not because you are failing!). My son was 4 wks premature so his mouth was very tiny, and he couldn’t get my nipple far enough in his mouth for it to reach back to the roof of his mouth where it belong so he was sucking his little heart out, and pretty much just chewing on me. And just like when some one pinches your skin, it hurts so much more if they only pinch a tiny spot. Where instead if they grab your whole arm, it’s not so bad. I ended up with blood blisters, and bruises and completely raw nipples after only 1 day! They didn’t have nipple shields at the hospital (great invention btw, still doesnt make it comfortable at the beginning, but bearable at least. Aout $10 at our babies r us for 2) so the nurse took a nipple off a bottle and I used that as a nipple shield. Served it’s purpose but still was very uncomfortable. I used a manual pump there to try and just get my nipples to stand up some for him hoping that would help, but still wasn’t helping enough to wear he could fit it in his mouth far enough, he was just too small.

    I tried to pump and nurse at first, but after a couple days home, I was just pumping into a bottle and then giving him that. Because the pumping was a different suction I tried to help my milk let down by squeezing and pressing against my breast and nipples while they were in the pump. Pretty much like you would milk a cow. And many women I believe have that natural milk let down so they can hook up the pump with some of the fancy harnesses you can wear and do the dishes at the same time. Mine, however, did not do that, so even now, 10 months in, I still constantly have to “milk” and pump at the same time! The first few days my breasts would start to hurt when it was time to pump, and they would get sore and leak sometimes even if my son was in the same room. But after you set the pattern, at first I started with every 2 hours., then it only takes a couple of days for it to become supply and demand. So I would pump every 2 hours, and get at first just an ounce or less out of each side, never the same amount from each either. Don’t get frustrated that this doesn’t seem like much, you have to build up to it. Remember a week ago you didn’t need any milk. So baby would eat about 2 ounces, and he was content. If you can get ahead of yourself by a feeding that’s great, and you will in a couple days. And they tell you not to pump more than 15 minutes at a time. Also not something I could do, I would keep squeezing and pumping and milking for over an hour sometimes, and even still, but I keep going until it hurts too much to do anymore, or until nothing more comes out. And little by little each time you pump, the volume will grow. After a couple weeks I was getting enough where I was able to start freezing some, and now my freezer is full of too much!

    The biggest thing is dedication and consistency! Second biggest is drink tonsssss of water. It surely helps. When many mothers return to work they notice a drop in their production, but it’s not because they are pumping, it’s more because they aren’t pumping as frequently. I am able to pump enough for my son for a full meal, sometimes 2, with each time I pump. But keep in mind I also pump evey time he’s drinking a bottle. The less otter you pump the less milk your body thinks it needs to make. And even when I slack off and start to slow down production, I just throw a couple extra pumping sessions in for a couple or few days and then I’m back up to a surplus again. That seems to be the only time now when I still leak.

    Please keep in mind that if you slow down and then you add a couple or even one more session in, that it will seem like you’re making less milk each time and you probably are each time, so instead of say 2 oz out of each side every 3 hours, you only get 1oz after 2 hrs out each side, after you have thrown in an extra session, it’s ok and expected because your breasts didn’t know yet that they were suppose to fill up again. So now instead of 4 total ounces in the 3 hours you would have originally had, you now have 6 because you emptied them before they were full.

    Also if I wait until I am full, or if I pump later than normal it’s very hard to get the milk to come out I have noticed. Hot showers or hot packs seem to help, but usually when it’s that bad I will already have been sore for quite some time, even up into my armpits and around to my back. I still pumped in the overnight hours for just a couple days after my son was born, and only 2 days did I wake him up every 2 hours to eat like the doctors suggested, because I quickly realized, he’d eat anytime I put the bottle in his mouth, and he’d keep going until it was gone and if you would let him have more, he’d eat that too. So instead of waking a sleeping baby, I opted for letting him wake us up to eat…..and he only did for about a week. They often say that if the baby has all the ounces they would have normally gotten over night, during the day that they are full enough to make it through the night or close to it.

    Another super big thing I had trouble with, because I was so sore at first, I was more than happy to stop pumping after 15 minutes, was mastitis. I would get big very sore and tender bumps under the skin in my breasts, because the milk ducts were becoming clogged and not able to flow freely, because I was leaving too much milk in there from the last time and time before when I pumped. So even though I’d be stuck pumping for a half hour or better, it was much better than the mastitis pain.

    My saving grace was the lanolin cream! It soothes sore cracked and dry nipples. I forget the brand I liked, but it was in a lavender package with I think teal writing. It was a Vaseline/lip balm type consistency, so I liked it better than some of the others that drip. The hospital gave me tons of samples so I never had to buy any but it was like $12 for a 4 oz tube I think, which seems like a lot but you will thank me later.

    Another thing I noticed that helped with production was an herb my obgyn recommended, was called Fenugreek. I get it from GNC for around $15 for a big jar of I think 500 capsules. I take 3-4 of them every day, and that withmdrinking lots of water help. That seems to make my sweat smell like oatmeal too lol.

    I have been exclusively pumping since a week after my son was born, and even though it feels like it takes up half of my day, it’s the dedication that I have to my son that keep it well worth it…..and the smell of formula doesn’t hurt either. It can be done but you have to just be willing to make the time to still pump as frequently as they need feeding. I have to set an alarm on my phone to remind me, and even still now I shoot for every 3-4 hours and know that I probably will be lucky to get to it every 6 but I also get between 6-10 ounces out of each side now.

    DO NOT STRESS if you don’t feel like you’re making enough. They told me for the first 6 months my son wasn’t eating enough and gaining enough and to add in extra feedings and everything, but I ended up giving him an extra ounce at each feeing and eventually he caught up to where he should have been, had he not been a premie, not he’s a moose. But the more you stress over it the worse your production will get. My cousin used formula as a back up. When she couldn’t make enough she would mix a little formula in w the BM and she was so much more relaxed when she wasn’t worried that her daughter wasn’t getting enough to eat. She also is now a tank, at 20 months.

    I hope this is helpful for others. Enjoy your babies, every single day, they will prove to you that the best things in life take 40 weeks to cook! They each are a miracle

  19. Olivia Ludwig January 25, 2012 at 12:32 pm #

    Great comments, and I agree with what you’ve stated. I’ll add a couple of things that I had concerns with, when starting out as a new, nursing mom. One of my biggest fears was whether or not my baby was getting enough to eat, especially since you have no idea how much is coming out. It’s important for moms to know, that as long as your baby is making the appropriate number of wet/dirty diapers a day (5-6 wet, 2-4 dirty), then he or she is most likely getting adequate nutrition. It may be a little nerve wracking at first, because you can’t assure they are getting 1 oz, 3 oz or whatever amount your child should be taking in, but keeping tabs on the diapers, and the baby’s weight gain will help comfort you in the fact that your child is getting adequate intake.

    Another thing that was a complete surprise to me was the let- down. I had no idea that my breasts would actually contract to help express the milk. The first couple of times that happened, I was like, “What the heck???” It’s a weird feeling, but once you know what to expect, it’s a sign that things are working correctly. I always found it fascinating to watch how my babies’ sucking mechanism changed from quick, shallow sucks at first, to long, deep ones after let-down. Aren’t humans amazing??

    There are so many positive aspects about nursing, I find it hard to believe that not everyone does it. It’s free, easy (after the learning curve, on both yours and your baby’s part, and once the pain subsides), nutritionally superior, helps you lose those extra pregnancy pounds and makes you so much closer to your baby than bottle feeding. I will admit, at times I wish my husband could have gotten up in the middle of the night for a feed, but my babies vastly preferred me to him, (a reward for the sleepless nights) and still do. As your children grow, you will look back fondly on the hours you spent nursing/rocking them, staring into each other’s eyes, holding fingers, gently stroking their head. Those are precious, irreplaceable memories, and I would never trade them for a few more minutes sleep. Good luck moms! It isn’t easy at first, but is so worth it in the long run. After a few days/weeks, it will be as natural to you and your baby as breathing.

  20. Amy Snyder January 25, 2012 at 1:26 pm #

    Sagging boobs come from pregnancy hormones making your breasts larger, not from breastfeeding. So even non-breastfeeding mothers will probably end up with a bit of a sag. :)

  21. Kj January 25, 2012 at 2:23 pm #

    I agree with Rachel, trust yourself. I know some OB’s and even pediatricians say to only nurse for 4 months, but I would say nurse as long as you can! It is Free, it is sanitary and it is the BEST for your baby. I have four kids, nursed them all, loved (ALMOST) every minute!

  22. Pam Hutchinson January 28, 2012 at 2:54 pm #

    Very helpful article –
    Two practical issues that were not included: drink enough water and get enough rest! To produce eight ounces of breast milk you need to drink double that in water. I used to keep a large glass of water nearby, and when I finished nursing, I would gulp it down. And your body also needs to rest to be able to continue producing breast milk, especially right after giving birth. When you have a newborn, and he/she goes down for a nap, forget everything else that needs to be done, just take a nap also. This keeps you sane and from having that “ragged” feeling. Another benefit from nursing that was not specifically addressed in the article was it uses up a lot of calories – tada! baby weight gone (most of it anyway). I nursed three that are adults now and I would not trade that special time for anything.

  23. Bonnie February 23, 2012 at 3:37 am #

    I wish I had read this when I first had my little one in the Fall of 2010.

    The nurses at the hospital didn’t even tell me how awful it would be in the beginning. I stressed, and cried, and thought something was wrong with me. I almost gave up completely but at least got six months in before my supply dwindled.

    This is amazing and realistic and if I had read this before starting I would not have felt like a freak when so many things went wrong in the beginning! Thank you! :)

  24. Carina McDowell November 19, 2013 at 5:17 pm #

    I nursed all 6 of my children. One point I want to make is to find an experienced mom to turn to when you have questions, concerns and panics. Whoever you turn to, make sure she is supportive and reassuring. My mother-in-law insisted that I didn’t have enough milk and my mother was several states away. If my mother hadn’t breastfeed my younger brothers while I was a teen, I might have given up. Hang in there and trust yourself!

  25. Charissa Grandin November 19, 2013 at 10:44 pm #

    Thank you for writing this article. It is important to support and promote breast feeding!
    That said, I found myself disagreeing with the urgency of many of the points. Breast feeding is such a natural thing and in that way it’s easy. Just be with your baby and give your baby what he/she needs. Devote the first two years if you can. I agree with being with your baby rather than pumping if at all possible.
    I myself never had any pain or difficulty with it. And breastfeeding was the cure-all for my daughter in the first two years–it made for a much easier and happier baby than she otherwise could have been. I breast fed my daughter for 2 1/2 years at which point I cut her off and after a few days, she accepted. I just got too burnt out from having put my entire being into giving her everything she needed 24/7 with little/no help from anyone else. I would say it’s most important to have a good village to help you, which I am grateful to have an amazing village now.

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