The Breastfeeding Adventure

The Breastfeeding journey starts before your little one is even born. I heard about it, read about it, studied, went to gatherings of the Breastfeeding Association here in Australia and I wondered how it would be. I knew that I wanted to breastfeed, and I knew that it was the best for my baby because it is what nature intended. But, I also knew that sometimes plans don’t happen as expected and many mothers need to turn to formula or other aids to feed their little ones…so although my expectations were high, I knew that putting pressure on myself was useless.

The moment she was born was amazing, the hormones flowing through the veins, the oxytocin (love hormone) and just absolutely every feeling you can imagine and you cannot describe. Unforgettable! After reading a lot about attachment parenting I knew that I was going to feed her for the first time by letting her find her way without me forcing or showing her where my breast was. So when the time was right, I put her tummy down, only a few hours old, on top of my chest. Guess what she did… she lifted her little head and searched. She could smell the colostrum (what comes before the milk, for those reading this and still researching 😉) and would move her head towards one of the nipples. She then would get tired and let her head fall. After a few tries and a little help she found where the nourishing food was.

I always found it absolutely astonishing that I could, without doing anything really, nourish Ahliyah and give her immunity, through breast milk. The feeling was fantastic and I cannot say enough how amazing it is to be a woman and be able to nourish a little human being that is completely dependent on me. There were painful days, when I struggled and had to remind myself of how important this nourishing journey was. A supportive husband, midwife, mother and friends where essential for this continuous positive experience. There were days of pain and doubt, tiredness and lots of lactation cookie eating (recipe bellow). There were days when I wished I could get some more sleep (I think that’s just part of motherhood forever 😉), there were days when I felt powerful and others when I didn’t. Plenty of advice that was either good or bad, I learned to take in whatever worked for us as a family and stayed positive.

Here in Australia the 6 months of age arrive and many families choose to give their children food and stop breastfeeding, either by replacing with formula or by slowly weaning their little one. We chose baby led weaning…we knew that Ahliyah would show us when she was ready to eat. And at 5 months, she reached out for a banana that Jase was eating and put it straight in her mouth…we knew then that she was ready. We would always offer her all the food that we also ate, never really mushed her food or cooked anything separately. She was a big part of our meals and breastfeeding was still a big part of our lives.

I have heard from so many people that children have stopped being interested in milk and that’s when they knew that was it. Some mothers simply ran out of milk, others decided when they wanted to stop. I had this hope, that our daughter would choose when to stop and I would follow…well…23 months later, I am still breastfeeding her. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that babies are breastfed until they are 2 years old, or beyond. So I like to think that I did pretty well, giving Ahliyah everything I could and what a healthy little girl she is! But today, is the day, that I have told her that “leite acabou” (the milk has finished). Why today, just because I need a break. Because I need my body back and would like to have a hormonal balance again (although I must say, I really don’t miss my period!) Oh it was hard…tears, sobbing, pushing me away, begging for milk but I stood my ground and with cuddles eventually, kisses and lots of love I explained how all baby animals and their mothers eventually have no milk, that the milk finishes and they grow up to being strong animals just like she is an amazing girl. This is the first night…let’s hope I can do this, I will be strong with my husbands support and we will manage this like we have so many other challenges and adventures in life.

Please note: this is my journey and I do not at all judge any mothers who have chosen another path, who have chosen formula or who have chosen to stop breastfeeding early on. I know that each journey is unique and completely respect every one of them. I think we all need to be supportive of each other, whatever we choose, whatever we know that is the best for ourselves, our children and our families.

 

Cookies

Ingredients
225g butter
400g honey (1/2 coconut syrup + 1/2 honey)
2tbsp coconut oil
1tsp vanilla
2tsp chia seeds in 1/4 cup water
2 large eggs
1tsp baking poeder
1tsp salt
3 cups oats
1 cup sultanas
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 cup mixed seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, sesame)
2 cups flour

Preheat oven to 190ºC
Melt butter and honey in a pan and remove from heat
Add coconut oil, soaked chia and vanilla.
Once cold, mix the eggs.
Mix all the ingredients
Drop dough balls onto baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes or until browned.

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