Breastfeeding my sons has been one of the most supernatural, empowering experiences of my life. Honestly speaking, having two emergency c-sections and not being able to have my sons naturally left me feeling cheated out of the beautiful natural birthing bliss that I’ve heard so much about. Being able to breastfeed refueled my confidence in a beautiful way, allowing me to realize that my body is capable of more than I could ever imagine.
When I set out to breastfeed with my first son, I had no idea what to expect or what I was really getting into. I didn’t come from a family that ever spoke about breastfeeding and I never really saw it, so it was a journey I decided to take all on my own. After reading about the benefits of breastfeeding, I had high hopes to do it. When I was at the hospital, I limited visitors to parents only so that I could focus on breastfeeding. I took the responsibility of being the source of nutrients for my child very seriously. I quickly learned that a successful breastfeeding journey not only depends on what you can produce physically but also very much depends on the energy and thoughts you produce mentally. I had no clue that there would be so many moments of adjustments that I would have to navigate during breastfeeding. Moments like when the baby’s eating habits changed, when his sleeping habits shifted, when exhaustion would take over, when my milk supply would dip or be too much to keep up with… There were so many factors I had to learn about as they came, but through it all the ultimate key to a successful breastfeeding journey was to JUST KEEP NURSING. No matter what, through my first season of breastfeeding with my first son, I always produced enough milk. I never had a huge stash in the freezer, but I always had what we needed to never supplement. Even when I pumped and it seemed like I didn’t have much… when my baby latched on, he always had enough and he flourished. He never had ear infections, he didn’t have a fever until he was 18 months old (and that was from teething). If he ever showed a sign of congestion, I was able to nurse him back to 100% within 24 hours and I’m convinced that breastfeeding contributed to my three-year-old’s strong immune system now.
During my stay at the hospital after giving birth to my second son a couple of months ago, each nurse asked me the same question: “How long did you nurse with your first son?” I proudly answered “25 months!” and each one would give the same shocked and impressed reaction, expressing how great it was that I was able to nurse for that long. After having yet another unplanned, emergency c-section, and being a bit disappointed, that reaction always gave me the confidence boost I desperately needed. I wasn’t able to achieve my VBAC goal, but my breastfeeding goal was next on the list, and having a baby in the NICU wasn’t going to stop me.
If my first season of breastfeeding taught me about the ultimate sacrifice of love, my second season of breastfeeding with my second son, has taught me about the determination of a mother’s love.
While recovering from my c-section and adhering to the Covid-19 rules of one parent at a time in the NICU, I wasn’t able to be with my son very much during the first 24 hours of his life. During my lonely time in the hospital room without him, I was pumping every three hours trying my best to produce colostrum for him. I started off just sending cotton swabs from the drips I was able to produce down to the NICU, then syringes, then small bottles… The nurses told me they never had a mom send so much colostrum to the NICU before and that’s when my Momma Mamba Mentality kicked in (RIP Kobe). When I was able to be wheeled down to see him in the NICU, he latched on immediately like a champ and I was so thrilled!!! About 33 hours after surgery, my exercise was walking to the NICU to nurse my baby boy every three hours. I was so determined to bond with him and nurse. We were helping each other heal from a traumatic delivery and I was so thankful to be able to spend any time I could with him during those hard days of not having him in our room. He was only there two and a half days, but it seemed like an eternity. When he finally got to me, he was cluster feeding – or as I say, he was making up for lost time. The cluster feeding on demand made my milk supply come in strong. Way more than I ever had with my first son. I had to pump to keep up with all the milk flowing and was able to create quite the stash in my freezer within the first few weeks of being home, like over 200 oz! I never had that the first go around. My baby boy is so healthy and so strong now and I’m so thankful for the bond we share. Even though we had very limited time together the first few days of his life, we never missed a beat!
I’ve experienced two very different seasons of breastfeeding so far, but I must say that I am beyond thankful for the journey. The bond I have been able to build with my boys is so beautiful, the health that it supportive in my oldest child is undeniable and during this Covid-19 pandemic, it’s more vital than ever for me to be able to build my baby boy’s immune system during these uncertain times.
As I reflect during World Breastfeeding Week and National Breastfeeding Month, I want to encourage all mothers who are not sure if they want to breastfeed to please try. I know that not all mothers have positive experiences with breastfeeding, but I hope that those who are able to will stick it out. When the stress of the sacrifice begins to seem too much to bear, please be encouraged to JUST KEEP NURSING (imagine me saying that in my best “Dory” from Finding Nemo voice).
I’ll leave you with this. When I was my most stressed during my first few weeks of ever breastfeeding, I’d have to say that watching the documentary The Milky Way was a moment that helped something click for me. It sparked a fire in me that never went out. If you need some encouragement, I urge you to watch it and be inspired. Remember that even though it’s extremely hard work and a huge commitment, the reward of your child’s health and development is worth every single sacrifice!
Here’s to living life like it’s golden while producing liquid gold!
Sada K. began building her brand as a singer and quickly realized that people connected with her on a personal level. As she began to share more about her family and her personal thoughts, she began to tune in to her true purpose, realizing it was much greater than just music. Sada K. has expanded her brand to a lifestyle brand connecting with her following through music, media, womanhood, family, wellness and inspiration.