Donna’s story of why extended breastfeeding
was the best choice for her family
I am the mother of two children, both of whom I breastfed. I found breastfeeding to be the best choice for us for a variety of reasons, including the opportunities to bond with my children on a deep level, to nurture them in a very personal way, and to provide them with health benefits (such as increased immunity and nature-designed nutrition.)
In addition, breastfeeding afforded us additional benefits like convenience (no formula mixing, no getting up in the wee hours to fix a bottle, etc.) and affordability (no formula to purchase, no bottles to purchase).
I breastfed both of my children until they were about three years of age. I was strongly encouraged by both my ob/gyn and my pediatrician to breastfeed my children as long as possible, and my decision to do so for their first three years met with positive responses from both.
While others were often not as encouraging about my decision (and sometimes made derogatory comments), the benefits that my children and I received outweighed any uninformed comments I received from others.
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My experience with breastfeeding my first child was seamless and nearly perfect. She latched on immediately, and I never experienced any difficulties (except the time she inadvertently bit me while nursing!).
With my second child, however, I learned that even though breastfeeding was the “natural” way to provide nourishment, that did not mean that it would always happen as easily and effortlessly as it did with my first child. My second child had difficulty with latching on, and our efforts to master this crucial part of the process resulted in my having very tender breasts for the first two or three weeks.
Fortunately, the La Leche League ( a resource I would highly recommend to all nursing mothers where available) and my ob/gyn and pediatrician offered enthusiastic support and helpful suggestions that allowed us to overcome our early difficulties, so that within two or three weeks we were doing just fine.
I would encourage all new mothers who may be experiencing difficulties with breastfeeding to persevere in their efforts. It does not always “come naturally”. Don’t allow any difficulties you may be having overcome your desire to breastfeed your child. Sometimes, when it does not happen as effortlessly as we might expect it to, we can become discouraged, and even feel guilty that those difficulties mean we are somehow lacking as mothers.
Don’t give up! Use resources available to you – such as your ob/gyn, pediatrician, and nursing support groups in your area – to provide you with assistance and helpful information.
Also, don’t allow other people’s opinions about your choice to breastfeed discourage you – particularly when it comes to your decision about how long to breastfeed. The negative comments I received about breastfeeding my children as long as I did were often difficult to deal with and awkward to address – not to mention confusing.
On the one hand, my doctors encouraged me to breastfeed for as long as possible. On the other hand, other people sometimes made nasty comments about it (the most irritating of these being made by my mother-in-law!). Open communication with my doctors and my husband, and their encouragement of our decisions on breastfeeding were tremendously helpful to me. We always knew was the best choice for us.
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