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It's not just an act of lifting your shirt to feed your baby nor a simple case of babysitting.
It's a commitment—a heartfelt, pure, selfless devotion of giving oneself to a baby who deserves nothing but the best.
All the sleepless nights, the endless carrying in lap, the excruciating arm and back pains. That feeling of wanting to do some chores but you can't because you have to breastfeed.
The battle between choosing "me time" over "feeding time". The tempting decision to quit when the going gets rough. These are mere glimpses of a mom's sacrifice.
The first week of breastfeeding was literally messy. Every single night, I would wake up to leaking breasts and milk-filled shirt due to overproduction. I smelled awful even after a warm bath.
I have to strategize my bathroom breaks. I can only do it when he's sleeping or when he's not crying. My only wish for the day is to have an uninterrupted shower time. Unfortunately, my wishes don't often come true.
Even wearing new outfits became an issue for me. I have to find a dress or a shirt, which is accessible for my baby so that it won't be a hassle during breastfeeding.
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I learned how to use maternity covers so we can breastfeed anytime, anywhere. This, however, only lasted for a few months because he hates to be kept inside the cover.
And whenever the baby refuses to feed, I have to deal with the heavy feeling of engorged breasts and painful swollen milk ducts.
Yes, it was harder than I thought. Though the books have helped me to mentally prepare for this new task, I have to admit, I was less than short of being prepared physically and emotionally.
It was challenging for me to give up my free time in exchange of breastfeeding. It was humiliating to show some skin in public places just so Hezek would stop wailing. It was hard to focus on other things when my baby wants nothing but my breast.
There were lots of adjustments and it didn't happen overnight.
But by the grace of God and through my husband's unrelenting support, I was able to exclusively breastfeed Hezekiah for one year and six months.
Though, we are now transitioning from exclusive to mix breastfeeding, we are still determined to continue this journey until we can.
How long will we endure this routine? Honestly, I don't have any idea. All I know is that this exhausting season is too beautiful to be over.
Do you have breastfeeding and/or formula feeding struggles, successes, and hacks you'd like to share? Do you have real parenting stories you'd like to get off your chest? Send them to email@example.com. You can also join our Facebook group, the Smart Parenting Village.