Why I Chose to Breastfeed
Before I became pregnant, I didn't know a lot about pregnancy, and I knew even less about breastfeeding. However, when I did find out I was pregnant, I immediately knew I wanted to breastfeed.
Leaning on my understanding, I saw breast milk as the best source of food I could give my baby. There were plenty of times throughout pregnancy where I wondered if I would be one of those women who wouldn't produce enough milk - or any at all! It felt like a genuine fear (though there was nothing in my family background to indicate otherwise) because I saw formula as totally incomparable.
I had to repeatedly remember to trust that my body would know what to do. I gave myself the best shot of producing milk by eating a balanced plant-based diet, working on overcoming my emotional and mental blockages, and by making sure to incorporate exercise a few times per week. I saw the entire process as interconnected.
A Mom Empowered
It was surprising when some moms advised me not to breastfeed beyond 3 to 6 months. Throughout my life, I came across stories of women who breastfed for two or more years. The oldest I saw was 8 years old! It was incredible to see a world where women breastfed their babies however long they pleased. It was empowering to hear as a woman and as a mom. I knew I wanted an organic (mom and baby led) breastfeeding experience instead of a societal or familial guided journey. I had to learn to trust my intuition.
I also believed breastfeeding would eventually become more than just about eating. Once my son was able to eat independently, there would become a point where breastfeeding some of the time was a choice not only for nutritional needs, but to create a sense of deep maternal connection (bonding, security, love, warmth, validation, and more). This turning point came around 10 months, but now at a year and a half, we're even more connected and still breastfeeding. Though his appetite for fruits, nuts, and some vegetables are healthy, I'm still his go-to.
Throughout my pregnancy, I researched this issue to feel a sense of being "informed." I was surprised the APA recommended feeding for a minimum of one year. After also reading a lot of experiential stories of mothers who breastfed until their child selectively weaned off breast milk, I knew it was something I wanted to do with my son.
Trust, Challenges, & Reflections
Because children are coming into this world from one close to the source of everything, I feel they have certain innate wisdom, a natural intuition for certain things, such as when to stop breastfeeding. I wanted to not only trust in myself, but in the beauty, simplicity, and superior intelligence of creation and birth.
There have definitely been days when I want to give up on breastfeeding because I want to do something else. Motherhood is an ongoing process of refining the lines between self as self and self as a mother.
However, those days are a small challenging percentage compared to the overall breastfeeding experience. He looks to me for safety, comfort, and sometimes just to hang out and be a baby snuggling his mama. I love that I can provide these needs and more simply by breastfeeding.
If I had to do it all over again, I would do the same things I did, except maybe worry less that my body would not know what to do! I encourage mothers of all kinds to do their own research, not just on the internet and from other people's experience, but from self-reflective meditation to find what benefits both you and your child as equally as possible.
Meet Our KeaMommy Contributor: Nadia Rumbolt
Nadia Rumbolt is a mom of many trades, including creative writing, blogging, van life, minimalism, veganism, the beach, nature, and the occult.