I don't know what's more shocking for me: The fact that the girls are already 1.5 years young or that I have been able to breastfeed them for that long! (Trust me, there have been PLENTY of times that I didn't think I would make it!)
Before I had the girls, I didn't know much about breastfeeding, BUT I KNEW I wanted to exclusively breastfeed them. While I was pregnant, I took a few classes and got the general "nursing holds" and "breast milk production is based on supply and demand" info. But NOT NEARLY ENOUGH to prep me up for breastfeeding TWINS!
When the girls were born, they were both low birth weight (LBW) and premature (36 weeks). I was told that because of this, I needed to supplement formula. The Drs. pushed it on me and made me go against the will of every bone in my body. They made me feel like I was going to start off on the wrong foot by NOT choosing to give it to the girls by jeopardizing their health. And while I will never regret doing what "I thought" was best for my girls, I will regret allowing myself to be pushed to go against my will (but that's a story for another day ;) )
We struggled for the first few days to hold a latch and were not allowed to nurse more than 10 minutes a feeding (due to expenditure of calories vs intake). This is when I learned that there are STILL ways to breastfeed even if you can't get direct boob-to-baby action! *and..... CUE THE PUMP* A pump can be SUCH A LIFESAVER for us M.O.M.S., but of course is not necessary. I ended up exclusively pumping for almost a total of 3 months, and pumped regularly for an additional 8. (READ ABOUT MY PUMPING AND SUPPLY BOOSTING TIPS!)
Through all of the tears, stress, and naysayers it has been SO worth it! I've had SO many people sit there and tell me that it is not possible to breastfeed multiples. And even more discourage my goals when I DID find success! The thing they didn't know was that for every negative comment said to me, I was fueled even more to find comfort in nourishing my babies and enjoy the bonding it brought us.
When I first began nursing, I was SO shy about it that I would only let close female friends and hubby be around. I was too self conscious to even discuss it around anyone else! I will never forget the day that I had my first success with tandem nursing! I was SO over the moon that I asked for my picture to be taken. The response I got? "Why?"
That was the mentality I ALLOWED to consume me. Shortly after that, I was shamed for posting a picture of me babywearing and breastfeeding M while changing N's diaper! (Talk about a buzzkill!) From then on, I kept my nursing twinventure btwn my girls, Daddy, and a few close friends. And nursing in public (NIP)? FORGET ABOUT IT!
BUT nonetheless, I continued to take breastfeeding selfies and enjoy the beauty and benefits of it all. NO ONE was going to stop me from doing the BEST thing I could do for my girls! Not even the fact that I never was able to stop supplementing was gonna slow me down! (Sure I had my own guilt to deal with for it, but my goal was happy and healthy babies. Mission accomplished!)
Over time, I started meeting other breastfeeding moms and educating myself. I would start to see more breastfeeding pictures on FB and read stories about women being PUBLICLY shamed for feeding their children the way nature intended (think Victoria's Secret). That's when I started to realize that I was just one more mommy who had fallen for the society's ability to stigmatize something that is ALREADY taboo: SEX. You see, breasts are often viewed as "sexual objects," which is WHY there is so much controversy over them when they "pop up" in public.
Slowly but surely, I was able to overcome that stigma and shed society's hold on me. I began to take pride in what I did, and before I knew it, I was pushing the boundaries of my comfort zones a step at a time. Our vacation to Puerto Rico was a HUGE boost in morral because when there was a mom who NIP, no one even batted an eye. And we are talking ALL out, no cover! (Ironically, they do not have laws in place to protect NIP mothers nor do they exempt them from indecency laws for doing so! LEARN MORE ABOUT YOUR STATES LAWS TOO!) To say the least, I returned home a whole new mommy!
As I continued to breastfeed beyond 12 months, I started catching slack from the girls pediatrician. (Needless to say he is out of the picture!) After All I have been through, and the adversity I have faced, NO ONE IS GOING TO STOP ME NOW!!! Remember that negativity I was talking about earlier? The one that was fueling me to push on? Now you know how I got here today! I haven't alway been so open to sharing my pictures and stories, but knowing that there are SO many people out there like "fresh mommy Payal," and knowing that there is a chance for me to inspire even ONE of them is MORE than enough for me to keep on chugging along!
*What are some of the things that have influenced YOUR OWN breastfeeding journey? How have YOUR experiences been with breastfeeding and NIP? Leave a comment and help me throw some more positive energy to our fellow badass breastfeeders! To me it doesn't matter if you choose to breast or bottle feed. What matters to me is that you feel comfortable in your own skin and the decisions you make!*