Mariana, mother of two from Germany, pictured with Viggo and Velma
There's not a single aspect of breastfeeding that isn't important to me. The physical closeness is wonderful, the feeling of wonderment over my body's abilities to feed my babies is incredibly empowering but, if I have to choose one single aspect of breastfeeding to focus on, it would be the health advantages, both for me and for my children, but especially for them.
I come from a family of bottle feeders that, up until I had babies, deeply believed that the women in our family 'just couldn't' breastfeed. The truth, of course, is that women in our family had had very poor support and next to no information about breastfeeding. Still, because of it, as an aunt, I prepared and delivered many a bottle before becoming a mom myself and I always, always felt that wasn't how I wanted to do things with my future children.
I guess that, at first, I just liked the image of nursing moms I had grown up with even if most (or all) women in my immediate family had given up breastfeeding very early on, women in my home country (Brazil) would always breastfeed very openly and so, for as long as I can remember, that was the image of mother-baby bonding I carried with me.
Once I became pregnant myself and started reading about it there was no doubt in my mind breastfeeding was the only way to go for me — once I knew how my milk is alive and just right for my baby, once I knew all it does for them, their health and their development, I just could not walk away from it!
To any new moms struggling with breastfeeding I'd say it does get easier! Find information and, above all, support for yourself, even if it's just online it'll still make a difference. And know that, even if you're struggling through it, you are doing an amazing job and your children (and you!) will reap the benefits of it for the rest of their lives! We've all struggled at some point — you can do it!
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