Happy World Breastfeeding Week!
Breastfeeding is the best for you and your baby. I know there is major controversy about saying that. Most will come back and say “fed is best”, and yes, your baby having a full belly and growing is obviously the best! BUT there are SO many health benefits for baby and mama when breastfeeding.
I wanted to share my journey, so far, with breastfeeding. As we near our 23rd month straight breastfeeding, this is the longest yet for myself and Elijah seems happy with his “mommy milk”. Elijah eats three meals with the rest of us and snacks throughout the day. He doesn’t like conventional whole milk, but enjoys water and orange juice. So while he still asks at this point for “mommy milk” it isn’t his main food source.
Breastfeeding as a new mama
So, with Sophia I was 20 years old when she was born. I knew breastfeeding was the best thing for her and I was able to breastfeed her in the hospital. When we went to her very FIRST appointment with the pediatrician I was told she wasn’t gaining ENOUGH weight and to just supplement with formula and was handed a couple sample cans and sent on my way. I was a brand new YOUNG mom who didn’t know left from right at that time. So, I went home and cried because I felt like a failure. I wasn’t told how to do a supplement schedule, and so I attempted to do every other feeding.
But the feedings that I used formula, I was not pumping. I didn’t know that breastfeeding was supply and demand. I actually didn’t know anything besides what little pamphlets they had given me at the pediatricians office. But it all came down to one theme, fed is best and formula is easier. So by her two week appointment, she was fully formula fed.
She stopped wanting to breastfeed and got frustrated how much more difficult it was to nurse than being fed a bottle (Nobody told me about pace feeding). It was easier on myself and Matt to know how much she ate because we made bottles and saw the ounces she drank (Nobody told me to count her wet diapers or weigh her before and after feedings). Everyone was more willing to help out with a formula fed baby because everyone knew how to make a bottle and not have to handle “someone else’s milk”.
So for first time, young parents who got no education in the breastfeeding world, our first born was formula fed.
So, how do you set up for success?
Then when I was pregnant with Liam I got determined to breastfeed and found out about FREE breastfeeding classes through a program called WIC. I made sure Matt was able to attend the class with me, because I knew I would need support and your number one supporter should know the ins and outs as well. We took the class together (one of maybe three couples the rest were pregnant mamas alone) and it was the best eye opening experience. It made me dig in more online into the breastfeeding world. I found out about lactation consultants, pace feeding, only the breast for the first couple weeks, different pumps, how insurance companies will pay for pumps, how important colostrum is for babies, and how every feeding your milk is made specifically for you baby so it can be a different make up each time.
Our bodies are amazing and God thought of everything when it comes down to it!
It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows
I am sure you’re thinking life with Liam and breastfeeding was a breeze after all that! But, it wasn’t. I cried, alot.
It was lonely and isolating because he was born in December. So all those Christmas events I hid away in a room when he needed to be fed. I was not comfortable being around family, nevermind the public feeding him. I didn’t want to pump yet because I knew my body needed to figure out the supply for him. New Years Eve I had a major breakdown. Matt told me that if I wanted to stop, he would 100% support me or we could just stay home and not have to worry about going out. After crying for what seems like forever, I told him no. I am going to make it to 6 weeks and re-evaluate then.
And I did and it got easier. Then I told myself, okay 6 months and we will see how it is then. Next thing I knew he was 13 months old and self-weaning. Setting those little goals helped me mentally and gave me something to work towards.
Breastfeeding is BEST.
Your pediatrician more than likely has no training in breastfeeding (and most likely gets kickbacks for formula they hand out). Seek out a certified lactation consultant or International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. CLC’s and IBCLC’S can both support, educate, advocate and counsel women in breastfeeding, it’s just IBCLC’s have more intensive training. Find a local breastfeeding support group. Take a breastfeeding class. Set small goals for yourself. Make sure your baby doesn’t have a lip/tongue tie which can make breastfeeding harder and more painful (Again, most pediatricians don’t look for this). Get yourself a nursing cover if you don’t feel comfortable nursing in public.
You got this, mama!
Watch for more posts during World Breastfeeding Week!
Find a board certified lactation consultant here
Get some encouragement about motherhood here