Natasha’s Story — “I thought it was the norm”

Natasha is the mother of an 18 month old boy who is still breastfed. She writes about her life at The Adventures of Natasha and Nate. You can read more about her breastfeeding journey here: Why I Breastfeed, Part Deux.

What motivated you to breastfeed?
Nothing. Not breastfeeding never occurred to me.

What is the history of breastfeeding like in your family?
My mom breastfed me.

What was your attitude toward breastfeeding before having done it yourself?
Again, my mom nursed me. So I grew up hearing stories about her breastfeeding experience. I thought it was the norm. Why else do we have breasts?

What were the early days of breastfeeding like?
The first few days were a little stressful because it was all so new. They were also stressed because I adhered to the 3 hour feeding rule like it was the gospel. Once I started feeding on demand, life became MUCH easier.

What has been your biggest breastfeeding-related challenge?
I’m not going to lie, breastfeeding an active toddler is a HUGE (ginormous) challenge. Sometimes it feels like the Toddler Olympics.

What has been easiest about breastfeeding?
This is a difficult question to answer because overall it’s been a fairly easy ‘task.’ If I had to choose one thing, I guess it’s not having to make bottles in the middle of the night.

How has breastfeeding changed from one child to the next?
N/A – although I’m secretly (although I guess it’s not so secret now that I’m admitting it here) scared for the future – things were so easy with Nate…will things be as easy with future kids? Tune in…

How long did/will you breastfeed? How long exclusively?
We’re going strong at 18 months. My initial goal was 6 months. At the 6 month mark, I had done more reading and knew that an entire year was better, so I decided to keep going. At a year, things were still going well, so I decided to take it day by day.

Nate has never had a bottle – he even refused EBM [expressed breastmilk] in a sippy cup! Thus far, he’s only had water in his cup. I started him on organic brown rice cereal a year ago. He hated it! He also hated every brand of pureed baby food. I finally got him to start eating a few solids around 9 months. He would eat Cheerios, puffs, avocado, and hummus.

Who have been your breastfeeding role models?
My mom. Oh, some of the women I’ve met online have been huge inspirations as well.

How did you learn to breastfeed?
I just did it. I watched one DVD that introduced a few positions tips. The hospital LC gave me a few latch pointers. Otherwise, I’d have to say I lucked out with a baby who is a natural.

What’s the best/worst breastfeeding advice you’ve ever received?
Best advice is a tie – feed on demand and the side-lying position. Worst advice – I’ve heard lots of it: the checker at Food Lion told me to put the jarred baby food in a bottle with the formula to get him to eat.

Have you experienced any negative reactions from others regarding breastfeeding?
You’re still breastfeeding???  <– I get incredibly annoyed when people ask me this.

Who has been your biggest supporter about breastfeeding?
Me. When I make up my mind to do something, I can be ridiculously determined. Plus, I love knowing that I baked my son from scratch, and now am helping him grow into an amazing little person.

What is/was your breastfeeding routine like?
No routine. I watched friends try to put their babies on a schedule and saw how (un)successful they were, so I decided early on to ‘go with the flow.’ The result was a happy mom and a happy baby.

How do/did you handle separations from your breastfeeding child?
I was fortunate enough to only have to be away for no more than a few hours at a time. So this hasn’t been an issue for us.

Is there anything that you wish you would have done differently?
Not really. I’ve got an amazing son, who has survived 2 winters – no cold or flu. He had croup once, but that resolved itself in a matter of days. I’m fairly certain breastfeeding is the reason.

What would you say to a woman who is unsure about whether or not to breastfeed?

Make a final decision to do it or not do it; there is no try.
Don’t have formula on hand.
Don’t scare yourself by reading all the horror stories. If that’s what’s on your mind, that’s all you’ll see.
Listen to your baby, not the clock.
Trust your body – MOST women are physically capable of breastfeeding.
Find a few breastfeeding supporters – I found mine online.
Pay it forward with new moms.

4 thoughts on “Natasha’s Story — “I thought it was the norm”

  1. Kendra says:

    Your breastfeeding story sounds a lot like mine!
    It just never ocurred to me to give my kids formula. And I whole heartedly agree with the stmt “Make a final decision to do it or not do it; there is no try.” This is so true. When we want or need anything else in life we make up our minds to “do it” but in this most important endeavor women “try” and of course that means they leave open the option for failure. That makes me so sad.

  2. Tamara Hawkins IBCLC says:

    Thank you do this story. As a IBCLC, it takes a lot if time to “convince” women of color that breast-feeding is best and working as a FNP I see the differences in the health of breast vs formula fed babies.

  3. Laverne says:

    Thank you Natasha for sharing your story. I breastfed my daughter until she was 18 mos. I read so many articles and books on the benefits to breastmilk that I decided to do it based on the information. I wasn’t breastfed so I hope to be starting a tradition with my daughter. I just wish more of us as African american women would do this for our offspring.

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