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Set a goal, and run with it.

Y'all, my knees were killing me. And it made me think that I should stop running for a minute.

And that made my heart hurt.

Running has been a part of my life for so long... and it means so much to me. I've run to lose weight, run for medals, run for mimosas. I have run 5 ks and 10 ks and half marathons and one time I ran 26.2 miles. I love it. It's free, and it's wherever I am, at home, at the beach, at the lake. I've run everywhere from Pennsylvania, to Alabama, and in Mexico. Have I made myself clear? It's my happy place.

That being said, I am not a great runner. I don't have the "right" body type, I'm carrying some extra weight, and my posture isn't ideal. Over the years I have been told numerous times by too many people that running is a sure way to ruin your knees. Like, go ahead and plan for some knee replacements. But I don't want to have knee replacements!! I don't want to have anything replaced! I just want to keep running.

So my knees are hurting and I am trying to figure out how long I can run happily and stay safe (in my joints that is). As a white middle class woman living in a suburb I have never really questioned my safety otherwise. #whiteprivilege

And now I'm thinking about the conversation that happens when I ask a mom how long she wants to breastfeed. Like me and my goal for running, she sometimes says "I want to (insert breastfeed, pump, run) as long as I can". This is my least favorite answer. She could say "as long as I feel like it" or "as long as I can make x ounces of milk per day", or "until my baby is x months or years old" and these are GREAT answers. I can get behind her for any of these goals! Ultimately my JOB is to help her meet her goal- whatever it is. I don't have any secret agenda to force every woman in the world to breastfeed against her choice (evil laugh here).

But "as long as I can"?!?! Well, my friends, you CAN for many many years. Do you mean that you want to breastfeed until your preteen decides he or she has had enough of your liquid gold? Or until your baby weans herself between 1 and 2 years old? Or until you get pregnant again? Those are some things to consider, and talk to me about!

For me and my second child, things have worked out far differently than I had planned. I anticipated breastfeeding exclusively for 3 months, breastfeeding and breastmilk in a bottle until she was 6 months, bottles of breastmilk until 12 months, and then some breastmilk with meals or whatever. That seemed a reasonable plan for me working, commuting, working out, pumping and driving... but things didn't go that way. My sweet girl refused bottles and I didn't last too long at that job after she came around! 18 months later and she is still nursing.

That is what goals are all about though, accomplishing them, and making new ones. This is my first and best advice, I truly believe. Set a short term goal, and re evaluate as often as needed. For some parents that means try breastfeeding for 2 days, and see how you feel at the end of 48 hours. Or try a couple of weeks, or plan for 3 months. PLAN something. We have to have a place to start. And be honest! It's not my breastfeeding relationship to map out- it's yours, and your baby's. I am merely a resource to help you meet that goal.

So back to my running.

I got fitted for new shoes @bigpeachrunningco and now I have the best shoes to correct my feet and ankles. I am lifting weights to strengthen my legs and core and hoping to drop some pounds to help take pressure off! I get adjusted (not as often as I should) by @dr.leannesmith and I am taking my own herb rx to help my joints. So, when you ask me how long I plan to run, I have a new answer. I do not plan to run as long as I can.

I will run until it is medically indicated for me to stop. (Until someone more educated than me tells me to!!) Until then I will do everything in my power to keep running.

And you? Think hard about what breastfeeding means to you and your family. Maybe it's about bonding and nurturing, maybe it's about postpartum weight loss, maybe it's protection against maternal cancers, maybe to help prevent postpartum depression, or maybe you don't want to spend $10,000 on formula. Tell me what is meaningful to you, and set yourself a goal - for you, don't do it for me- and tell me about it. Set yourself a goal, and let me give you the support you deserve. #essentiallactation

Stay well my friends, and tell me your goals!



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