In Celebration Of World Breastfeeding Week, I Talked To 6 Amazing Moms About Their Breastfeeding Stories

August 1-7 is World Breastfeeding Week.

A few months ago, I became a new mom. At times, it can be super isolating and lonely, and finding the energy to create a mom-tribe for myself — when I barely have time to eat, shower, and sleep all in the same day (dry shampoo has become my best friend) — has been difficult, to say the least. Going back to work at three months postpartum didn't make finding a community any easier. So, when World Breastfeeding Week came up, I jumped at the chance to connect with other moms in my area who had also made the decision to breastfeed.



To do this, I did what any reasonable new parent, working at a media company, would do — I posted on the Bushridge Parents Facebook page, a group for New York parents. I asked if anyone would volunteer to have their picture taken while breastfeeding. 

Thankfully, I got an outpouring of support.

Making the choice of how to feed your child is an intimate and personal one. For me, there ended up being no better option, as my daughter has both a dairy and soy sensitivity, making formula a non-option. There are also incredible benefits to breastfeeding, including convenience: I never have to worry about heating up a bottle on the go, or traveling with bottles and formula. There are also tons of health benefits, because mother's milk is made for babies. Breastmilk can reduce a baby's chance of dying of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), can help protect a baby against infection and disease (just see how your breastmilk can change when your baby is sick), and can help prevent obesity in the long-term. And according to Alicia Dermer, MD, IBCLC, mothers benefit both physically and psychologically from breastfeeding as well.

Of course, not every parent makes the decision, or is able, to breastfeed. Formula-feeding can be a life-saver for many, and there is no one "best way" to parent or feed a child. Everyone has different styles, preferences and needs. Photographer Abbie Fox put it best when she said "fed is best," regardless of if your baby is breast-fed or formula-fed.  

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, I photographed six real moms who choose to breastfeed and asked them about their breastfeeding journeys. Some have found the process to be smooth and easy, others have struggled a bit, some supplement with formula, and others breastfeed their child for months to years. Their stories show us everyone's experience is unique, but that these experiences can be joyful simply because they are your own.  

To see more photos from the series please head to our Tumblr and Instagram.

Tiffany with her sons, Finn,10 months, and Fox, 4.

"Nursing a toddler doesn't feel unnatural. It feels the same as if they are a newborn. [Fox] only did it to go to sleep, for nap times. It was for the comfort ... I got really lucky. With him, it was so smooth, he knew exactly what to do. It was really natural and easy for both of them. He was highly addicted, he didn't want to give it up. I tried weaning him when I was pregnant, and he did not want to stop."

-Tiffany Taylor

Sam with her daughter Stevie, 12 months.

"I was producing so much milk, I was donating it. When she was 4 months, I had over 200oz that I couldn't even store. I produced a lot of breastmilk. Now I've dwindled my supply and I'm like 'Oh my gosh, I've made it to a year. ... I think I'm going to keep breastfeeding at least the morning and night. I'm just going to see how it goes, and go from there"

-Sam Reilley

Ren and her son Odin, 7 months.

"I had a c-section so the beginning was a little bit rocky because I was out of it for the first day or so. Then I could get him to latch onto one side, but not the other for a little while. When we came home, it was like the opposite. I had a little bit of nipple soreness, so I pumped on that one side for a while and just fed him on the other. The lactation consultant said that everything seemed OK and to just give it some time to heal ... I'm proud that I've stuck with it, even though going back to work was really hard."

-Ren Rautio

Michelle and her daughter Marlow, 5 months.



"I plan on breastfeeding for as long as she wants to. My original goal was a year, and I didn't think I was going to make it, like, even here. She was only 5 pounds 6 ounces. That was another big thing, everybody was pressuring me off the bat to put weight on her, so it became a big, big, big stresser ... I'm proudest of overcoming, well, lip-tie, tongue-tie, mastitis, clogged ducts … I literally have tissue damage that won't go away. But I was just determined, I am not ready to be done with this"

-Michelle Miller

Jennifer and her daughter Nicolina, 7 months.

"We had a tough time because my milk has extra lipase in it, so she won't eat any frozen milk. Even if it's in the fridge for more than two days, she won't eat it. So we supplement with formula ... I'm most proud of being able to keep breastfeeding while working. That I've lasted this long. I started with a goal of just three months, and then six months, and now I'm trying for nine months. Hopefully we'll make it. Two more months, and then we'll see."

-Jennifer Bochynski

Denise and her daughter Dakota, 19 months.

"My son is 4, so I've been breastfeeding for almost four years. There was a little break in between ... I like the bonding, the quiet moments. Now that she is getting older there are less of those because she is moving around a lot."

-Denise Stephen

More From A Plus

GET SOME POSITIVITY IN YOUR INBOX

Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest news and exclusive updates.