Something I've noticed in the year(!) I've been breastfeeding is a general camaraderie among nursing moms. It's an instant bond between us. We sympathize with bad latches and tongue ties, and consider stories of mastitis and thrush to be badges of honor. Most of the breastfeeding moms I know are more than happy to talk about their experience, no matter the length of time they nursed. They are the perfect forum to share stories of rude comments while in public or advice from well meaning but less than helpful relatives. They are a resource for resources, a walking, talking, nursing hard drive of anecdata. They're also one of my best sources for encouragement.
The first few weeks of nursing E were rough. Long story short, I was pumping after every feed. Even the overnight sessions. I wanted to give up. I complained to my friends, online breastfeeding forums, and anyone who would listen. All they kept telling me was it will get easier. During my weaker moments, I would roll my eyes and demand to know when. Of course, no one had an answer for me. Thanks to my desire to breastfeed and the wonderful support I had, E and I persevered.
And at some point, maybe around 5-6 weeks, it got easier. What was once awkward and difficult came so naturally. I was able to stop pumping after every session and that helped tremendously. E was a pro at latching and I was a pro at feeding him. I realized just how important their words of encouragement were to me, even if I didn't understand at the time. It's important to encourage moms to continue to nurse, especially during those first trying days and weeks.
For anyone reading this who is nursing, has ever nursed, or will ever want to nurse their child, I say way to go! You CAN do this! Don't be afraid to ask for help, you would be surprised by how many moms have been in where you are. You are not a bad mother if you have to supplement with formula. Your body is capable of amazing things - trust it. Welcome to the Sisterhood of the Milky Breasts!