With Honest Feeding Stories, you’ll hear from parents like you about one of the most intimate and important experiences of family life. Happiness and heartbreak, serenity and struggle, joy and tears — it’s all here in their own words. Presented with our support and without judgment, these stories remind us that the choices we make to nourish our children are truly unique.

My daughter’s first birthday is coming up and lately I’ve been reflecting on the past year, particularly as it relates to breastfeeding. What an eye-opening experience it has been. The expectations I had were so off-kilter from reality.

With her arrival, I quickly realized that breastfeeding is not as instinctual as I so naively thought it would be; it required quite some effort! Those early days were wrought with questions and uncertainty around how to nurse her. Was I doing it correctly? Was she getting enough milk? We eventually got through the common issues that plague the first few weeks — the nipple pain, perfecting the latch, dealing with engorgement, the questions around supply and supplementing.

But, as the initial concerns faded away, new ones took their place. When my baby started sleeping longer at night, those celebratory mornings were tainted with leaky breasts and the fear of a plugged duct. Then, the end of maternity leave resulted in a mad rush to build a stash of breastmilk. Once back at work, I struggled with finding time to pump between meetings and a fluctuating supply when my cycle eventually returned.

I learned that my daughter had started teething when she took her first nip at my breast. And a piercing pain my left nipple has subsequently signaled every new tooth that’s arrived (maybe we haven’t perfected the latch after all!).

Looking back on this past year, breastfeeding certainly hasn’t been an idyllic journey. It was never as easy as I imagined it would be, but it did get better.

Honest Feeding Stories: Tanya

As things improved, I learned to treasure the time. At first, I was never without my phone – I spent countless hours texting, engrossed in Candy Crush, scrolling Facebook and Pinterest. Now, I consciously put the phone away and embrace these moments that I know will soon come to an end. I play with my daughter’s fingers, smooth the curls that belong to her grandma, and marvel at how quickly she’s morphed from a baby into a little person.

Breastfeeding has been a humbling experience that highlighted how little I knew about being a parent. But it has also made me realized how determined and persistent I can be in attempting to get it right.

-Tanya, Santa Monica, California

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