My daughter has been exclusively breastfed (meaning no formula supplementation) for the first 6 months of her life!
Even more impressive, I see no end in sight! That's right, Emma and I have committed to a year of breastfeeding. If she wants to go longer I plan on doing the best I can. Breastfeeding my daughter is one of the most rewarding, challenging, and awesome things I've ever done. In a day of breastfeeding (anywhere from 6-10 sessions) I feel a range of emotions. Everything from joy and comfort to anger and pain. Breastfeeding hurts (we've been over that) and my breasts go through phases where ducts get clogged and blisters form but in spite of all that, it's an incredible thing that I'm able to do for my little girl and I'm so grateful to be able to give her this incredible advantage.
There have been many who have criticized or suggested that we stop breastfeeding or start supplementing with formula. My mother suggested that a bit of formula would help with Emma's gas. At Christmas with my in-laws, a family friend asked if I was still breastfeeding? As if it had been long enough (Emma was a month old). Through all this, I stuck to my guns. My gut told me that Emma's digestive issues would not be helped by drinking from a bottle and that breastfeeding her would give us a bond that no one could question.
My attitude of exclusivity and dedication left a few friends and family members feeling frustrated and I have been accused of being arrogant about it. That isn't true at all, I acknowledge that I've been very fortunate to be able to breastfeed Emma and I do not take it for granted. I know that breastfeeding is a choice and a very personal one. I was willing to sacrifice my body for more than just the 9 months of pregnancy so that I could breastfeed my baby. Many women are not willing or able to do so. As mothers we're supposed to let our intuition lead the way. My path was clear to me and I'm fortunate that there were no serious roadblocks.
Intuitively, I know that what I'm doing is best for my daughter, for me, for our family. I am so very grateful to have had the chance to give Emma these building blocks for a healthier, safer, more connected future. Emma was born 6 months ago and I've never once pondered giving up. I'm so lucky, so grateful, so blessed to have been able to share this experience with her and I look forward to another 6 months!