Every Breastfeeding Journey Is Different, Every One Is Special

World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival - NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center

Welcome to the World Breastfeeding 2013 Blog Carnival cohosted by NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center!
This post was written for inclusion in the WBW 2013 Blog Carnival. Our participants will be writing and sharing their stories about community support and normalizing breastfeeding all week long. Find more participating sites in the list at the bottom of this post or at the main carnival page.

One of the first ways to celebrate and support other mothers is by sharing our stories. Stories of hard work and hope. Stories of how we learned and how we’d do things differently. Stories of determination and perseverance.
I’m a part of a fabulous local moms group on Facebook and today I thought it might be encouraging to share a glimpse of a few mom’s breastfeeding stories. Some nursed for weeks, other for months and some for years. Some have chosen formula and others have pumped. Some of battled soreness, others mastitis, other judgement. No one mama’s journey is exactly the same. But they are all worthy of celebration. Read on and you’ll see what I mean!


I breastfed my first for 2 months and then switched to formula (I was 19 and didn’t know the benefits of bf). I nursed my second child for 3 months with the hopes of making it to at least 6 months but didn’t make it due to a bad infection. I’m currently breastfeeding my 20 month old, made it past numerous infections and have been very successful. I think age and family support make a huge difference. -Chelsi

I breastfed my first for 2 years. I feel this is one of my biggest accomplishments in life. I started nursing school when he was 12 weeks old requiring me to be away from him for 40 hours a week. I feel like nursing has ensured our bond is just as strong as it would have been if I had stayed home with him and waited to start nursing school. I was fortunate when I started pumping for his bottles while I was away to produce enough milk to donate to women in need. I feel like it takes support to be successful at breastfeeding, and that there isn’t enough of that support out there. I hope to one day be a lactation educator to empower and support women in having successful breastfeeding relationships. – Melissa

I breastfed my first for 6 months with an occasional formula bottle. I got pregnant with my second and my supply dwindled, I didn’t know at the time all the different things I could have done to help with supply. I breastfed my second for 11 months with the occasional bottle of formula. With my third, I went 12 months exclusively. When I would have supply issues I used fenugreek. I am currently on month five with my fourth child. My third and fourth babies never had bottles. – Jessi

I breastfed my first for 16 months. And my 2nd for 18 months. With my 2nd I went through multiple elimination diets and struggled with his low weight gain due to some digestive issues we found out he had around age 1. I wasn’t ready to wean, but did, so we could better monitor exactly what he was eating and help heal his gut. One of the most wonderful fulfilling experiences EVER. – Kristin

With my first child I pumped for 3 months and supplemented with formula. He was premature and after numerous lactation specialist appointments he still would not latch on and I became very discouraged. I was only 20 years old and not very well educated. Now with my 2nd he is 3.5 months and we have been very successful with breastfeeding. I plan on pumping while at work and nursing at night at least until he is 12 months. I could not of gotten through the first few difficult weeks with out the amazing support of my best friend! – Heather 

I breastfed my first child for 2.5 years. I struggled immensely the first month with latching, positioning, mastitis, infections, you name it! I remember crying with pain the first month and had bloody cracked nipples on a daily basis. But for some reason I was so determined that we made it work. I had very little support and everyone told me to quit for my own sanity. I ignored everyone and very happy we made it 30 months. I can’t wait to breastfeed my next one! Now that I have the experience and knowledge, I hope the beginning of this next adventure will be a smoother start. -LauraAnn

I exclusively breastfed my first child for 15 months and loved every minute of it after the first few weeks. I am currently breastfeeding my second child, we are going on almost 8 months and plan to continue as long as he wants. My children are happy and healthy, and we have such a strong bond. I will miss breastfeeding when he is done. -Jill

I breastfed my first exclusively for 9 months. He went through what I now know is a nursing strike but I thought he was just done nursing! I have to use a shield to feed my babies so it’s not quite as easy. I’m currently breastfeeding my 2nd exclusively despite 2 rounds of mastitis and thrush that lasted months!! She is almost 7 months old and thriving! I plan to go until she lets me know. I pride myself in my willpower to hang in there despite my struggles and I just love the bond breastfeeding creates! -Leila

I breastfed my first for three weeks and it was terrible. I saw multiple lactation consultants at the hospital, returned to the hospital, and talked to my family doctor/pediatrician. Nobody could tell me why it brought me to tears with every latch and continued to hurt throughout breasfeeding. My nipples bled for those three weeks nearly every time he latched. My sis in law bought me an awesome pump so I pumped for 6 months with limited formula usage. I would have done it for longer but I started teaching and left for a week to go to new teacher orientation out of town for a week – I forgot my pump. I bought a hand pump but I couldn’t express anything so by the time I returned my milk was pretty dried up. I tried to continue to pump but being in a classroom, that was difficult – I only pumped in the AM and PM since I couldn’t get somebody to watch my class for me. So after about two weeks my milk was completely gone. I breastfed my second for two days then started pumping. I pumped for 12 weeks until I returned to the classroom where pumping is pretty impossible. He went to formula for about 2 months then moved to raw goat milk. I saw for LC’s in Spokane, WA and three in Texas. NONE of them actually helped me learn how to breastfeed myself. They all grabbed my boob and shoved my baby’s head onto my boob. If he wasn’t latched, they ripped him off and did it again. Not one of them showed me how to do it so that I could get the right latch when I tried myself. I tried watching YouTube videos and we just couldn’t get it… with either child. My first cried constantly because he was always hungry – there was a HUGE change in him when I started pumping and bottle feeding, he was finally full! -Alicia

I am currently breastfeeding my two year-old (almost 27 months) and my almost six month-old. I nursed my daughter throughout my entire pregnancy with my son. I started pumping the first day my milk came in both times to save a freezer stock of milk for when I’m at work. I went to work when my daughter was four months and when my son was three months and I work full time. They have only ever had breastmilk in bottles. Breastfeeding has been an amazing experience. I have such a bond with my children and they are very close with each other. The times I nurse them together are so special. My goal was to breastfeed for a year, the age I thought was “normal”. I now have a new concept of what “normal” means to me. -Brittany

Still breastfeeding my almost 15 month old, and have never supplemented with formula even when my 3 day old was admitted into the NICU for jaudice and supplementing was suggested. I plan on nursing her and my future babies till they wean or goe away to college. I’ve never been much of a successful pumper, but due my best to keep 15 ounces in the freezer for date night. I have had a few low supply issues due to my thyroid disease but I was fortunate enough to get some donated breastmilk from fabulous friends to use during my droughts. -Jasmine

I breastfed my oldest for 14 day and then switched to pumping for 9 months. I saw several lactation consultants and they all said he was latched on fine, but it hurt so bad, I cried everytime. It became a very unhealthy situation especially with suffering from PPD. With my 2nd who is now 12.5 months we have successfully breastfed with no supplementing. I was better prepapred with my PPD and delivered him at a diffrent hospital then my first and had an amazing lactation consultant who spent hours with me! We did have to use a shield for the first 6 months. -Jamie

Are you encouraged? Inspired? Feel like you’ve found a bosom friend? Someone who has walked in your shoes? I’m pretty impressed with their openness; the realness of each experience. Never easy, always rewarding. Each of these lovely ladies unabashedly shared their stories to celebrate their journey and one anothers. If you’d like to share yours – please comment! 

World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival - NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center Visit NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center for more breastfeeding resources and WBW Carnival details!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants. Below are a list of links for today’s participants; you can find a complete list of links (updated throughout the week) at our main carnival page:
(This list will be updated by afternoon August 5 with all the carnival links.)
  • An Unexpected Formula-Fed Attachment — Kyle (of JEDI Momster and) writing at Natural Parents Network, exclusively breastfed three healthy babies. So when she was pregnant with her fourth, she assumed she would have no breastfeeding troubles she could not overcome. Turns out, her fourth baby had his own ideas. Kyle shares her heartfelt thoughts on how she came to terms with the conclusion of her breastfeeding journey.
  • It Take a Village: Cross Nursing — Shannah at Breastfeeding Utah shares how cross-nursing helped her baby in their time of need, and how that experience inspired her to create a community of cross-nursing and milk-sharing women.
  • Random little influences and Large scale support communities lead to knowing better and doing better — amy at random mom shares how her ideas and successes involved with breastfeeding evolved with each of her children, how her first milk sharing experience completely floored her, and how small personal experiences combined with huge communities of online support were responsible for leading and educating her from point A to point D, and hopefully beyond.
  • Mikko’s weaning story — After five years of breastfeeding, Lauren at Hobo Mama shares how the nursing relationship with her firstborn came to a gentle end.
  • My Milk is Your Milk — Lola at What the Beep am I Doing? discusses her use of donor milk and hhow she paid the gift back to other families.
  • World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival – Celebrating Each Mother’s Journey — Jenny at I’m a full-time mummy lists her experiences and journey as a breastfeeding mother.
  • Working Mom Nursing Twins — Sadia at How Do You Do It? breastfed her twin daughters breastfed for 7 months. They made it through premature birth and NICU stays, her return to full-time work, her husband’s deployment to Iraq, and Baby J’s nursing strike.
  • So, You Wanna Milkshare? — Milk banks, informed community sharing and friends, oh my! So many ways to share the milky love; That Mama Gretchen is sharing her experience with each.
  • Milk Siblings: One Mama’s Milk Sharing Story (and Resources)Amber, guest posting at Code Name: Mama, shares how her views on milk sharing were influenced by her daughter receiving donor milk from a bank during a NICU stay, and how that inspired her to give her stash to a friend.
  • Humans Feeding Humans — Krystyna at Sweet Pea Births shares ideas on how we can celebrate all the different ways modern mommies feed their babies. While we are comfortable with the breastmilk-formula paradigm, she proposes that we expand our horizons and embrace all the different ways mamas feed their infants.
  • When Breastfeeding Doesn’t Go As Planned — MandyE of Twin Trials and Triumphs shares the challenges she faced in feeding her premature twins. She’s still learning to cope with things not having gone exactly as she’d always hoped.
  • Taking Back My Life By Giving Away My Milk — When Amanda Rose Adams‘s first child was born, he was tube fed, airlifted, ventilated, and nearly died twice. In the chaos of her son’s survival, pumping breast milk was physically and mentally soothing for Amanda. Before long her freezer was literally overflowing with milk – then she started giving it away.
  • The Tortoise and the Hare — Nona’s Nipples at The Touch of Life discusses why we care about breast milk and formula with everything inbetween.
  • Finding My Tribe of Women Through Milk Sharing — Mj, guest posting at San Diego Breastfeeding Center shares her journey breastfeeding with low milk supply and supplementing with donor milk using an at the breast supplemental nursing system. She shares the impact milk sharing has had on her life, her family, and how it saved her breastfeeding relationship.
  • Human Milk for Human Babies — Sam at Nelson’s Nest shares her perspective on milk-sharing after an unexpected premature delivery left her pumping in the hopes of breastfeeding her son one day. Sam’s milk was an amazing gift to the other preemie who received it, but the connection was a blessing in the donor mom’s life too!
  • Sister, I Honor You — A mother feeding her baby is a triumph and should be honored, not criticized. Before you judge or propagate your own cause, go find your sister. A post by Racher: Mama, CSW, at The Touch of Life.
  • Every Breastfeeding Journey Is Different, Every One Is Special — No two stories are alike, evidenced by That Mama Gretchen’s collaboration of a few dear mama’s reflections on their breastfeeding highs, lows and in betweens.
  • A Pumping Mom’s Journey — Shannah at Breastfeeding Utah shares about her journey pumping for her son, who was born at 29 weeks.

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