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Milk + Honey Stories:

Shared by Imani Finley

The beginning of my journey started off rocky in the hospital. I birthed at a hospital who refused to help me breastfeed when my little guy came. After finding out about Black Breastfeeding Week, it finally came to my attention to WHY I was refused with help.. With the refusal, I did what most mothers would do and just "stuck him on there!" With that pain, most would give up, but I was so determined. I ended up having to teach myself how to get it right. After watching a couple of YouTube videos, I had our latch and breastfeeding journey going down a much better route before we even left the hospital. Then when we got home, I thought everything was going to be easy peasy. F A I L. Yes he latched on perfectly, but I could never figure out why he cried. I could never figure out why he wanted to latch on so much.

When the mature milk came in, I had the worlds fastest let downs. I can’t begin to tell you guys how many times I cried because I thought I was hurting him because when the let downs came, he would get choked up and throw up. I had no idea about the different positions I could do or anything about fourth trimester (learned these things when I got into my CLC classes 8 months later).

As time went by, it was time to go back to work when he was 6 weeks old. So I started pumping at 4 weeks PP. Created the worlds worst over supply thinking I had to have a “stash” for when I go back to work. I have now donated over 1100oz of that stash that I never touched. Definitely heart warming to know that I’ve helped other mamas and babies though.

Pumping at work started as breeze. I got to pump three times a day for over a year. Towards the end of my time working there, I ended up having conflict with a newer head HR who thought I didn’t know the pumping in the work place laws. (Come on lady. I’m certified in this stuff. You can’t fool me! 🤷🏽‍♀️🤦🏽‍♀️)

I am huge on breastfeeding in public. I nurse my little guy ANY and EVERYWHERE. With no hesitation.

I have been blessed to have a partner that supports my breastfeeding journey and goals. Not all of my family are huge supporters, and for some mothers, that can be hard. I’ve learned that this is my body, my decisions. My biggest supporter ended up being my great grandmother. She’s of the Cherokee Indian tribe and practices all things natural and of nature. She told me I better nurse him as long as he wants to, and of course, that’s what we will do.

On Tuesday, August 6, 2019, we will be starting our 28th month of breastfeeding my little guy. Today we are dealing with tantrums, saying no with a quickness, tons of laughs and smiles, but as for our breastfeeding journey, I am glad to say that is one thing that hasn’t changed. Well, I guess one thing has changed. He now tells me which breast he wants. (“No mama, THIS ONE!” 🙄) haha. We still nurse to sleep. (Yes, I'm a co-sleeper.) He still wakes to nurse throughout the night. He still comes to mama for nursing comfort. We still have the amazing bond that started 28 months ago.

Due to leaving work, I stopped pumping in November of 2018. I had a love hate relationship with that thing. I do believe pumping for over a year in a workplace definitely was a milestone HIT! I don’t regret that at all. Now did I have my moments of being over it? ABSOLUTELY! But to be able to provide for that little guy while he wasn’t with me meant everything.

I have set a goal to let him self wean. This means I am going to let him nurse until he is done with it. How long that’ll be? I have no clue. Will my plans change? I can’t predict the future. As far as right now, self weaning it is.

Do I have my moments of feeling touched out? Absolutely. Do I have my moments where I’m dog tired and just pray that he sleeps longer throughout the night? Absolutely. Have I had issues with breastfeeding? Absolutely.

Whoever came up with the saying “BREAST FEED YOUR BABY BECAUSE ITS EASIER” is the biggest story teller EVER. Breastfeeding is HARD WORK! Breastfeeding is DEDICATION! The best thing I’ve heard about breastfeeding though is “Breastfeeding your baby is worth it” and it definitely is.

As for myself, having my little one showed me a new passion, and that was to help mothers breastfeed. I thought I knew everything since I was self taught, then tried to help one of my friends to realize, I knew absolutely nothing. I then found out about a program offered from the Healthy Children’s Project that certified you as a Certified Lactation Counselor licensed through The Academy of Lactation Policy and Practice. After one whole week of classes from 7am to 4pm and a test, I was now licensed a CLC. With my CLC license, I started a video blog and informative page named TataTalk. I also partnered with a classmate and now dear friend to start our business of helping mothers with their breastfeeding journey called Lactation Lounge. Both TataTalk and Lactation Lounge has driven me to keep with my passion, but it wasn’t enough. So, I am currently enrolled into classes to become an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. LAWD, AS IF I DIDN’T HAVE ENOUGH ON MY PLATE! I’ve been told though “If you think you got too much on your plate, get a bigger one!” And that I shall do!

If it wasn’t for having my child, I wouldn’t have known what I was passionate for. I don’t know what exactly I would be doing. But I do know one thing for sure, I wouldn’t change this little journey for anything.

Shared by Imani Finley


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