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Hive Spotlight: Rising Above Breastfeeding Challenges by Nichole

Hive Spotlight: Rising Above Breastfeeding Challenges by Nichole

Name: Nichole

Age: 32

Number of kids and ages: 2 children, ages 3 years and 1.5 years

Location: Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil

The most surprising thing about being a first-time mom is 

Two things: how sleep deprivation would strongly affect me, and how many disparate opinions exist on motherhood.

Sleep deprivation affected me in every way: physically, mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually. I had never experienced so little sleep before becoming a mother, and it was a shock to my body. Three years later and I'm still not sleeping great, but it has improved since the early days. My body and my mindset have adjusted.

Raising a child is such a personal and subjective experience. I've always known this, but it wasn't until I became a mother that I realized how often I'd need to remind myself of it.

As a new mom I was incredibly vulnerable. I'd get down on myself if I read a recommended best practice and I wasn't doing it. The sheer amount of information is exhausting, and for every strongly held "expert" opinion, a contradicting opinion exists. It's hard to keep up!

While I'm still early into my motherhood journey, I'm grateful that I've found more confidence in my abilities. I truly know my kids, and I trust myself to know what works best for my family.

My expectation vs. experience breastfeeding 

I didn't have expectations other than knowing it was something I wanted to try. I went into the experience naively, and was surprised by how attached to it I would become.

Like many things with motherhood, I was also surprised by how polarizing it could be. How many opinions people held, how much pressure there was to do so, and how people could look down upon nursing in public.

My mother's experience was different. 30 years ago there wasn't as much pressure to nurse, and she encountered challenges nursing me early on. I was breastfed and formula-fed, and I grew to be a perfectly healthy baby. My mom never sweated this part of motherhood, so going into my own breastfeeding journey I didn't have expectations of what it should look like.

Fast forward to my first week nursing my son: I read too much literature on the topic, and stressed myself out over all of the things I "should" be doing. Anytime there was a threat to my nursing journey (oversupply, dip in supply, my son refusing the breast for a 3-week period, 2 bouts of very painful mastitis), I became emotional about it potentially ending sooner than I was ready.

I am grateful to say that my son and I weathered those challenges. I nursed him throughout my pregnancy with my daughter, and there was a period of time after my daughter's birth where I nursed them both.

I am still nursing my daughter (she is 20 months old), and it has been a beautiful, exhausting, emotional journey.

I am grateful to have had this experience with both of my children. And I know I will be ready to have my body back soon after 3+ years of nursing.

The best piece of advice about motherhood is 

Don't compare yourself or your child to others. While it's easier said than done, it can do wonders when put into practice.

Every family's journey is unique and beautiful. Less focus on what's right or wrong, and more focus on love and support. We could all do with less pressure and more joy in our day to day as parents.

Nichole_Postpartum_experiences_nursing_bra

Favorite resources for postpartum moms:

La Leche League for breastfeeding support (https://llli.org/breastfeeding-info/)

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