You’ve heard it all before, ”Breast is best.” We’ll, although I do believe breast milk is amazing and I am a huge breastfeeding sdvocate, what’s best for a baby is to be loved and fed. How you do that is up to YOU the mother, not your grandma, not your mother, and certainly not society. Don’t let anyone discourage you, or push you into to doing something you don’t want to do. I think it’s best to be educated on both sides, and make the choice that works best for you and your baby.
My Struggles and Triumphs
I have had a wonderful experience breastfeeding all my babies. Now, wonderful does not mean easy and it does not mean without sacrifices or hurdles. When my oldest was born a little over six years ago, I had this unrealistic image of what breastfeeding would look like. In my delusional dream, he would latch on right away and I would feel this overwhelming feeling of empowerment and motherhood. HA! He did not latch on right away, and in place of that overwhelming empowerment feeling, was the feeling of pain. Seriously, I did not know that your nipples could hurt so much, or were capable of cracking. Yep, you heard me. They looked like the cracks you see on a dry lake bed during a drought.
I ended up only nursing him for around 3 months, then I switched to pumping for another 2-3 months until I decided I was done. I wish I would have taken the time to do more research, or found some support groups, but as a first time mom I was stressed, overwhelmed and just couldn’t do it any longer.
Fast forward to now the fourth child who I am currently breastfeeding, and each time has been better and more successful. You could say that by now I’m practically a cow…or a pro if you want to be politically correct. With our second child, it took just a little bit to latch on, but eventually while at the hospital she found a latch. There was mild discomfort, but my nipples didn’t look like the Sahara Desert this time around. I was able to nurse my baby girl till around 11 months, when out of no where she just decided to wean. At that point, it felt good to finally have my entire body back.
On to our third child
Now, I was definitely a pro by now, and was on multiple breastfeeding support groups, as well as helping other moms I knew. When Piper came out, she latched on within minutes, and thus began her long breastfeeding journey. By this time my nipples were pretty much numb to breastfeeding, and yes the ladies were not as perky as they used to be. Piper was still going hard at 19/20 months, when the doctor advised me to stop due to minor complications with my fourth pregnancy. That was probably the hardest thing about her breastfeeding journey. Neither one of us were ready to give it up. Nighttime became a nightmare for her, because she didn’t have that comfort anymore. Eventually we did it, and she forgot all about it until her baby brother arrived.
The fourth (and last) child.
Now we have reached the present. We are at 6 weeks strong in our breastfeeding adventure. Just like his sister before him, Elliot was latching and sucking within minutes of being born. He was 6 pounds 6 ounces when he was born, and is now at around 10 pounds at six weeks. So, yes, my mamas milk is gold. Just like the others, he has joined the no sleep train, and nurses off and on throughout the night, in addition to the day. I have just mastered the technique of co-sleeping and nursing. I can do just about anything while nursing; hike while nurse (check), fly in a plane (check), on a bus (check), outside, and inside. You name, it and I have probably nursed there. I would love to nurse as long as two years old (don’t get grossed out yet), but it’s all up to him at this point.
The hardest part about nursing a child, when you have other children to tend to, is their constant need to climb on you, pat your boob, stare at you, ask you a million questions, and destroy the entire house in a matter of 15 breastfeeding minutes. The peaceful feeling you long to have only occurs at the wee hours of the morning, or in the middle of the night when everyone around you is sleeping.
Expectations vs. Reality
*If you liked this post, then you will love the tips and real life struggles from a fellow bloggers take on breastfeeding. Go check it out at https://beehappy.ca/world-breastfeeding-week/
Tips and Tricks
1. Research, research, and more research. You need to be prepared if you choose to breastfeed. Talk to your lactation consultants at the hospital. Or even join a local breastfeeding support group, where you can listen to other mamas going through real life experiences.
2. See if you are eligible for WIC. If you are, they will provide you with any and all pumping supplies you will need if you want or choose to pump.
3. Check with your insurance to see if they cover a breast pump. Many insurances are covering breast pumps, which can save you a good chunk of money.
4. If you plan to work, or even go out without your baby attached to your nipple, start pumping around 6 weeks after the baby is born. Aim to pump after every feeding, or even at the same time. This will both help your supply increase, and help you to create a freezer stock pile for later.
5. Don’t forget to drink lots of water and eat plenty of meals or snacks. If you think you are drinking enough water, drink another few glasses on top of it.
6. Wear clothes that you are easily able to slip a boob out of. Trust me, the last thing you want is to be fumbling around with your clothes while you have a screaming hungry baby.
7. Probably the best advice I can give any breastfeeding mother, is to be comfortable with your body. Your boobs, breasts, or cha-cha’s (whatever you want to call them), were made for feeding that beautiful baby in your arms. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, or make you feel uncomfortable. This is your body and your child and you have every right to be comfortable doing what you are doing–unless you’re in Idaho, I guess.
Fun Breastfeeding/Breastmilk Facts
1. Breastmilk is mom’s duct tape to many health issues. Breast milk can help to cure or ease symptoms from ear aches, skin rashes, clogged tear ducts, cradle cap and more. You can even use breast milk as a skin moisturizer, soap as well as help with the cracked nipples caused by breastfeeding. It’s good to have a stash of frozen breast milk specifically for emergencies.
2. Breastfeeding burns an extra 500 calories a day on average, so go ahead and eat that slice of cake.
3. Breastfeeding can prolong your period from returning after birth.
4. Breastfeeding can help to reduce your chance for breast cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure and other health ailments.
5. Extended breastfeeding helps to aid in the cognitive development of the child.
6. Breastfeeding a baby can give the mother a euphoric feeling and helps with mother/child bonding.
7. Breastfeeding creates less waste, and is environmentally friendly.
There are so many positive components to breastfeeding, but it doesn’t naturally come easy to everyone. In fact, most mothers have to work at it. If you do your research, and stick with it, it can be one of he most rewarding experiences you will ever feel. Just remember 2 things.
1. We are all mothers in this together. Judging other moms is uncalled for and childish. What’s best for the baby is that they are loved, how you do that does not matter.
2. If you choose to breastfeed, know your rights. You have ever right to breastfeed in public, and should not feel pressured to go elsewhere or to cover up.
Embrace the power of breastfeeding, and remember it’s your HoTmEsS Life.
Love it and love yourself!