I don't remember the first time I saw a woman breastfeeding. I believe it wasn't really until sometime in my adult life. Having grown up in a family where formula was what babies ate, I didn't think there was much of a difference between that and breastfeeding.
Now here I am: my daughter is almost six months old and I've surpassed numerous breastfeeding goals of mine and I'm still going. This couldn't have been possible without support from my friends.
Since my mom didn't have much advice to give on breastfeeding I turned to my online community of friends for advice and support. At two in the morning, when I was up for what seemed like my fifteenth nursing session of the night, I'd tweet out my frustrations and get support from other moms who were right there with me.
Other moms who were up for their middle of the night breastfeeding sessions would stay up with me. We'd confide in each other and encourage one another to keep going.
It took a while for me to find real-life breastfeeding support, but after a few months I connected with other nursing moms in the mother's room at church, as well as a couple of friends from work. I wasn't afraid to ask for tips and encouragement as I needed it. Now I'm finding myself on the other end of the spectrum encouraging my fellow breastfeeding moms and recruiting pregnant mothers to join the breastfeeding club.
I'd like to think without support I would have made it as far and as long as I have in my breastfeeding endeavours. It means the world to have someone to talk to who's been where you are and can help you through the rough times. Being a working mother who is outside of the home more than 50 hours a week, it's nice to know there are others who have been where I am now. Other women who have succeeded in breastfeeding for a year, or longer. It's inspiring to know they did it, and helps me remember that I can too.
There have been several times when I myself have said I want to be a breastfeeding cheerleader for others who are going through where I've been. If I could encourage one mom to give it a try, or to stick with it for an extra month then it's a job well done. After all, it's the least I could do after the support that's been given to me.