When I got pregnant with my daughter, there were a few things I was determined about: not using any pain medication during labor, not finding out the gender of the baby, and breastfeeding for the first year. I always planned on breastfeeding. It was what my mother did, and she engrained it in my head that it’s what I should do. This isn’t to say breastfeeding didn’t have it’s ups and downs though, because it did!

I’d love to be able to tell you I loved every minute of breastfeeding, but I can’t. From my daughter having thrush and infecting my nipples to my son acting like he didn’t know what to do with a nipple in his mouth, it was work.

I was young when I had my daughter—only 20 years old. When I ended up with thrush (an infection), I was in so much pain that I wanted to quit. I ended up having to pump and feed her expressed milk while her mouth and my nipples healed. This meant giving her a bottle of expressed milk and pumping immediately after every two hours, around the clock. Thankfully, my mother warned me I would regret it if I quit. Without her support, I don’t know what I would’ve done! I went back to college and worked part time when my daughter five months old. This meant re-establishing my relationship with the pump. But I was determined to do it! I went on to feed Brid only breast milk her entire first year (other than solid foods).

Christopher is a different story! I thought after Brid that I had this breastfeeding business down. No infected nipples this time! No way I’m pumping except when I’m at work! I was ready! I delivered him and immediately tried to breastfeed. The little stinker wouldn’t even open his mouth! I expected him to want to nurse right away and all the time because that’s what newborns do, right? Not my newborn.

He finally latched and nursed fine, but he didn’t want to nurse often. I remember calling the nurse because it had been three hours and Christopher didn’t want to nurse! He was crying because I was trying to force him to nurse. I was crying because I thought he wasn’t nursing enough! Anyone who’s tried knows you can’t force breastfeed a baby. Eventually we fell into our pattern and he nursed fine. I still despise pumping at work (which I did until he was 13 months old), but I was determined to only give my son breast milk. We’re still going strong with breastfeeding at 20 months old.

Breastfeeding presents challenges, but none that I couldn’t overcome. The part I dreaded the most was expressing milk. Some babies have trouble taking a bottle of expressed milk or switching back and forth from a bottle to the breast because of nipple confusion. Luckily, I never had that problem. Even with pumping at work, I thankfully never had supply issues, either.

I’m glad I’ve been successful with breastfeeding both of my children. I loved never having to pack bottles or worry about paying for formula. I loved being able to instantly soothe my crying baby in the middle of the night. Breastfeeding was the perfect choice for my family!

This is personal advice and should not be substituted for advice from a medical professional.

Read other articles in this series:

Feeding Your Baby

Caitlin’s Story-Feeding Your Baby Formula

Chrissy’s Story-Feeding Your Baby Exclusively Expressed Milk

Jasmine’s Story-Feeding Your Baby-Supplementing Breast Milk With Formula