“My breastfeeding journey began just a little over two years ago. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I knew I wanted to breastfeed. I made short term goals that I felt were realistic. I had prior challenges that I feared would happen again. When I had my son who is now almost 10, I was very young. I wanted to breastfeed him because I knew ultimately it was the best thing for him. We struggled with latching issues, and with the help of a lactation consultant we tried using nipple shields. He was never able to latch and I was forced to supplement to ensure he was receiving adequate nutrition. I knew with my daughter I was going to try harder but I was also going to try and relax. Mommy being relaxed can make a world of difference in the breastfeeding experience. I told myself my goal would be 6 months. My daughter latched instantly at the hospital, which put me at ease. She was gaining all the weight she needed and more! I felt such an incredible bond. I felt the closeness that I felt carrying her for 9 months but in a different form. I was able to build a large supply for her to drink while I was away, as well as being able to donate to other moms who weren’t able to produce as much. That in itself was a great feeling. We reached 6 months and at that time I decided we were going to nurse as long as Azlynn wanted to nurse. We made it past one year, we made it to nearly 19 months in our journey! She decided to wean herself. I found out I was pregnant and they say the milk can change so it’s common for them to not like the taste. Fast forward 5 months and I gave birth to my 3rd child, Ezra. He is now two months old and we are two months into our breastfeeding journey. He is doing amazing just like his big sister. I am pumping and donating my supply this time around as well. I had to return to school 3 weeks after having him, so I had to start pumping while away to maintain my supply. Breastfeeding is hard, but pumping in my opinion is even harder. I am thankful to provide in such a way that we will never have to supplement with formula. I plan to nurse him as long as he wants to continue, but my goal is at least to his first birthday. I have made many sacrifices and it’s very hard work, but it’s something that is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. I am a huge advocate for breastfeeding and I hope that in some small way my story can make a difference in someone’s journey. Having support makes a big difference. Through this project, I hope that our stories bring positive encouragement to a mother who may be struggling and wants to give up. Knowledge to a mother who may be researching the benefits of breastfeeding. Hope to a mother who is worried about maintaining a supply when she returns back to work. My words of wisdom are to not give up even when it’s hard, because it’s going to be hard. Reach out for help, there is a whole community of breastfeeding momma’s available for support. Do what’s right for you and your baby, ultimately you need to be happy and your baby needs to be healthy. The bond is something that is incredible and only you can share with your baby.