Claudette Garcia and Zakai (2 years old)
"I sit here sharing our breastfeeding journey as we celebrate my sons 2nd birthday. 730 days of breastfeeding and still no signs of stopping. I always knew that I would breastfeed. It was instinctual for me. My mother breastfed all of us, and my youngest brother until he was almost 5. In the beginning, it was rough. As a first time mom, I only knew what I was told which most of the time included how painful and difficult it would be. After the c-section I demanded that my baby be brought back to me because I planned on breastfeeding and the nurses granted my request. Without a lactation consultant and no help, I latched my baby on for the first time. It was magical. I was doing it! The first night was okay but the following days became a challenge. My incision made it impossible to get comfortable, my nipples were starting to crack, and we were nursing every 10 minutes. I requested to have a lactation consultant help me but that never happened and I was left to figure it out on my own. My partner was my biggest supporter. He encouraged me and never let me give up because he knew how much I wanted this. The days and weeks that followed became more challenging. I had doubts that I would be able to continue or that I could even do it any longer. I was exhausted but we pushed through and after a few months we got the hang of it. We exclusively breastfed for 10 months until we started solids but he never stopped nursing. I called myself a "super lactator" due to my overproduction and ability to spray milk several feet in front of me during a let down. I overcame my fear of nursing in public after being told on several occasions that I needed to cover up. All of my experiences led me to become a breastfeeding peer counselor. I love all things breastfeeding and normalizing breastfeeding is one of my missions. I never knew that something as simple as feeding my child would be so impactful on my life as a mother and woman."