When pregnant with Beertje and imagining being home with an infant, I looked forward most to breastfeeding again. Because I'm a freak (in my own eyes - 3 years ago)
With Kabouter, I started breastfeeding because I knew rationally it was the best choice. I'd give it a try without wanting to stress about it if I didn't succeed. I didn't have much expectations or emotions about it upfront. The start was difficult, much harder than I had ever expected it to be. If I weren't so afraid to get a breast infection when stopping too abruptly, I probably would not have lasted very long.
But something magical happened after a couple of weeks: my midwife turned out to be a certified lactation consultant and she helped me out at home and at the same time I also got invited on the La Leche League Facebook group by an acquaintance. On the latter, I didn't feel at home right away as it seemed to be populated with a lot of "freaks" that were breastfeeding for a very long time and felt obsessed with it. Nevertheless, I received a lot of good information and support from both sources to continue despite the hurdles of the first weeks. Once those first hurdles disappeared, breastfeeding became so easy and pain free and fun to do. It turned out much less hassle than bottle feeding would be and it gave me freedom to travel and go to places without having to give food much thought. I could not imagine not having this intimate bond with my child.
Kabouter grew older, day by day and I never woke up thinking "Now he's become too old for breastfeeding" as he was just the same as the day before and the day before that. I'd re-evaluate how long I wanted to breastfeed once I had started working again, once he was teething and picking up solid foods, after our next vacation, after he turned one, once we had reached the World Health Organisation's recommendation to feed at least 2 years, ... Much to my surprise, I had become one of those long-feeding mothers that I had considered freaks a few months before.
It was quite hard on both of us when my milk production crashed really suddenly a year ago when I turned out to be pregnant again. From that moment on, I counted down the weeks until I'd be holding a small child to my chest again...a new little live that I'd give my own precious gold.
In the mean time I'm breastfeeding already 5 months again and I love it. It is so precious to hold such a little one at your chest. It feels so magic to see a baby grow and flourish...purely and only on your own milk. There is nothing sweeter than to drink together and doze off in each other's arms.
This time I hope upfront to continue to feed a long time again. Over the last 3 years I've learned so much about all the advantages of breastfeeding that I wouldn't want to miss out on. But I've also about so many misconceptions that exist and continue to go around. As this week is the international breastfeeding week, I'll try to share some of my thoughts on those 2 points later on (it might not be this week anymore).
(update: post on advantages of breastfeeding is here).