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#DMVMomTribe Guest Post: Alyson Calloway’s Extending Breastfeeding Journey

In honor of Breastfeeding Month and Black Breastfeeding Week at the end of the month, we’re sharing breastfeeding stories from our DMV Mom Tribe. Today’s guest post comes from Alyson Calloway; she’s a D.C.-based, boy mom, and the founder of The Mamas Movement. Read on for her breastfeeding story.

From the moment I became pregnant with my son, Thomas, I knew that he would be breastfed. While, during that period, I had no idea what the process entailed, I was confident in my decision to do so. Fast forward to moments after having him, I felt the possibility of breastfeeding slowly slipping away. We had issues with getting him to latch correctly and, admittedly, after week three I wanted to be done with it all! As if improper latching was not enough, I later got plugged ducts/ mastitis – can we say ouch?

But with God’s strength and support from my village, we continued to push through – and here we are two and a half years later! We found a rhythm that worked for us. From learning how to sign for milk to correcting the infamous pulling of the shirt, things became much easier to manage. Do I often time get odd looks from people while nursing in public? Of course! Do I get tired of nursing day in and day out? Absolutely! Did I have a freezer full of more milk than food? You know it! But this is what makes me both proud and happy. It truly is a blessing to be able to provide for our children in such an incredibly powerful manner.

Here are a few things that I would share with a fellow mama on the journey:

1. Give yourself grace – You and baby are doing the absolute best that you can! If you didn’t pump as much as you would’ve preferred, it’s okay. If you use your breast as a pacifier because it’s the only thing that tends to soothe baby, so be it. If you decide that you, too, are over-stimulated and don’t feel like nursing, that’s okay, too! Your baby was made just for you, so rest in the fact that you are doing your best, and it is enough! Be gentle to yourself.

2. Persevere – Identify your nursing goals before baby is born (but leave room for flexibility). Be open to diverting from the plan, when necessary. Try your best to keep pressing forward when you want to give up. Plug into to different resource groups and support systems to draw on when you want to throw in the towel.

3. Remember that your journey is just that… YOURS! – Don’t allow people to deter you from reaching the breastfeeding goals that you’ve identified for yourself and your child(ren). Understand that not everyone will agree with your preferences and may even vocalize their sentiments – keep your blinders on! Remember why you started, the benefits of the journey and what you believe is best for your child. Breastfeeding is beautiful, the milk we produce is magical.

Breastfeed as long or short as you want; do what makes sense for your family. 2.5 years of nursing and counting! I don’t know how much longer we will be on the journey, but we are certainly enjoying the ride!

Keep up with Alyson’s motherHUED journey at @alysoncalloway.