Friday, August 3, 2012

Alicia: What Breastfeeding Means to Me

I gave birth to my daughter Hailee in February 2009, one month before my 22nd birthday. I was a very young mom and very insecure with that even though my husband and I had already been in a very happy and loving relationship for over 6 years and married for 2 of them. We were young, crazy, and madly in love with each other. We made a choice to start our family early, and it was absolutely the best choice for us.

With that said, I was still left feeling very judged and inadequate as a mother at times because of my age. Comments like, "Wow. You are getting started young," from strangers really wore my confidence down. My older sister was the only person in either of our families' that I had known to breastfeed. My sister nursed her sweet son for close to 2 years though, and I saw how that bonded them together.
Breastfeeding was not something I had to decide if I wanted to do or not. For me, it was my only choice. It was also the beginning of me making choices for my child that were solely based on what was best for us, and had nothing to do with other's opinions. Of course it was healthy for me and my baby, but it was so much more for me. Breastfeeding gave me confidence in myself as a mother that I was doing what was best for my child. My husband's opinions were suddenly the only ones that mattered to me when it came to our daughter, and he was more supportive of breastfeeding than I could have ever imagined he would be.

I hope anyone out there struggling with confidence in your parenting choices can be inspired to try to just make choices based on what is best for you and your family despite your age or family dynamic. I love hearing what works for other families, but in the end I feel very strongly that something different works for every family. Whether it is breastfeeding, discipline, or the kinds of foods you eat; we all do things differently so let's be strong in those decisions. And a final word: let's support those other mamas out there who make choices different than our own, because it's what is best for their family.


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