“I was absolutely terrified that I wasn’t going to be able to succeed, or that I would quit because it would be hard. You always hear these horror stories about how hard it is, and moms not producing enough milk, etc. My biggest concern about having a baby was honestly that I wasn’t going to be strong enough mentally to nurse.  I was lucky enough to have two sisters that had babies within a couple of years before I had mine, so I started by listening to their experiences. Then I started reading. I read Le Leche League’s ‘Womanly Art of Breastfeeding.’ It really opened my eyes to the health benefits for mom and the baby.  My husband was such a great support person for me. If he wouldn’t have been so helpful and supporting there is no way I would have lasted through the first few weeks. He truly pushed me those first few weeks to not give up. Beyond him, my sisters, parents, and in-laws were all incredibly supportive. My husband and I were both breastfed babies, so we were surrounded by people who knew the benefits and wouldn’t have let us fail.  My biggest challenge was the social stigma of breastfeeding. For some reason, public (even in family/private settings) breastfeeding is frowned upon by a lot of people, and no one ever understood why they couldn’t give my babies a bottle.  It’s not easy to breastfeed in public. Babies are distractible, and you can feel the eyes of those who are staring at you. I think I made my sister take a picture the first time I nursed in public because it was a huge accomplishment!  I’m giving my children the best start at life by reducing the risk/severity of illness for them (and for me), knowing that when they’re sick, my body is making the exact proportion of nutrients that they need, the comfort it brings them when they’re sad, knowing that I’ve met my goal of nursing past the first year. I would encourage people to educate themselves and to learn about the science of breast milk.  It’s truly so fascinating! And beyond that, don’t give up. The first few weeks can be hard. Sometimes it sucks. Sometimes it’s great. But once you can tackle it, it’s such a beautiful thing.  I don’t want to push anyone who’s not comfortable into nursing, but I just want them to educate themselves. There’s nothing wrong with formula feeding, sometimes it works better for the family.  Even beyond the health benefits of breastfeeding, I think it’s important for people to realize that it is FREE and it’s rare that a mother can’t make milk for her baby, regardless of what people may tell them.” -Mallory