Tuesday, March 4, 2014

15 Months & Counting; My Breastfeeding Journey

Breastfeeding is definitely one of my greatest triumphs in motherhood. From breastfeeding Riley and failing, to extended breastfeeding with Andi, this is my journey thus far.

Being a first time mom was 1000% the most stressful time in my life to date. Not only do you have to take care of yourself, but you’re now in charge of another tinier human that will depend on you to make all of their decisions for them. And get this, they have to be GOOD decisions. For most of Riley’s 1st year I had plenty internal battles with myself about what to do about this and that. I turned to family, to my mom, to Ruben’s mom, but ultimately made final decisions myself. Boy, was that a trial and error period! Anyway, getting to the point- when you first give birth to your babe, your mind is immediately consumed with so many different things. Breastfeeding included. Is it right for you and your baby? Is it something you want? Are you willing to do whatever it takes to make it work? These are questions I thought about while I was pregnant, and I chose to go for it. Scared of how things would go, I was determined to make it work for Riley and myself.

I had no trouble with breastfeeding Riley- she was a good eater, she latched right away, she was perfect. The only thing I had trouble with was pumping, but I only did that when I was engorged and  just needed some relief. Ruben and I didn’t live together at the time, so Riley/Riley and I would go back and forth to his house and mine. This was tough on us because I had to go with her wherever she was to nurse, unless I wanted to give her formula. Like I said, I hadn’t mastered pumping yet. So I could never produce enough milk to send her over without me. Eventually I grew tired of constantly bouncing around from house to house so I would let Ruben take Riley overnight without me. Long story short, I dried up after 3 months because I was supplementing with formula and could no longer nurse my little princess. I was heartbroken. But as long as she was getting what she needed, I could be happy with that.

Fast forward to today…

Andi and I exclusively nursed for the first 7 months before I introduced any solids. And even then, Andi wanted nothing to do with real food. It was a totally different experience than the one I had with Riley. My goal in the beginning was to make it to a year- SUCCESS! After I got to that point, I didn’t really know where to go from there. Should I wean her? Do I have to wean her? Should I let her wean herself? I was so amused that I was having such a hard time trying to decide if I wanted to give my child the best nutrition possible, and a bond that she loved, or not to. Of course I wasn’t going to deny her that special time with me! Because that’s exactly what it became, a special way of spending time together. I loved it, and I still do!

With that being said, breastfeeding isn’t always rainbows and unicorns. There are definitely some moments where I wish I was done with it, or that she wouldn’t want Mama’s milk anymore. But I will cherish the moments now, because one day I know I will be wishing to come back to this time.

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Breastfeeding Tips for New Moms:
+ Nursing pads were my BEST friends during the first few months. I was always leaking all over everything, it was not fun. Reusable nursing pads are what I used and they were HEAVEN, seriously. I didn't have to worry about them being uncomfortable and I could just wash and reuse them. You can find similar ones here and here.

+ If you're pregnant and chose to breastfeed, stock up on v-necks and tank tops NOW. Trust me, you won't find yourself wearing anything else for the next year. Nursing bras are also a must. My pretty VS bras are still collecting dust in my drawer... *sigh*.

+ For those thinking about pumping; I found that the best way to get the most milk during a pumping session was to feed on one side or start out feeding until the let down happens. Liquid gold in 5 minutes.

+ If you're planning a trip out of the house and you know that you'll be out while your baby needs to nurse, baby wearing will save your life. I lost count on how many times I've had to whip out the boob to calm my fussy baby while still browsing for new clothes or chasing Riley around the park. I have an Ergo carrier so I just snap on the hood and I'm good to go!

+ If you are out in public and are still a little uncomfortable about feeding your baby around others- invest in a nursing cover or a muslin blanket. I have 2 from aden + anais and I love them. They're the perfect multi-purpose blanket!

On that note, if you are nursing in public, please don't feel embarrassed or awkward about feeding/calming your babe. It's a beautiful blessing if you are able to breastfeed. Some mothers don't have that option.

Here's to hoping my tips will actually come in handy to some! 

Thanks for reading,

1 comment:

  1. Omg this was great read !!! Lol I recently weaned my baby off ! & idk why but I think breastfeeding made me depressed bc after I weaned I got back to shopping & feeling great ! I did love that I nursed & I do love that I made it a year but I think it was enough for me since It was hard going out in public when hes constantly screaming at me to nurse & forget about covers lol I think it was a best decision for both my baby & I. For some reason.I.feel like he was ready too. Like he hated depending on me for milk lol but all babies are different & im happy that you're still exclusively BF !