Wednesday, November 8, 2017

My Breastfeeding Story + Tips for meeting your Breastfeeding Goal

This post has been whirling around in my mind for quite a while, in fact, I wanted to write this post about two years ago when I weaned my first daughter. However, after a complete FAIL at breastfeeding my second daughter, I just felt inadequate.

So, before I get to my tips I thought I'd briefly share my journey with you. When I was pregnant with my firstborn, I was determined to breastfeed for a year. It was going to be so easy - I mean, everyone I knew that breastfed their children made it look so easy, and I took a class so obviously, I'd be a professional right after delivery... right?



I wish I could tell you that it was easy, I really do but the reality is, that it isn't. My firstborn had severe reflux, and so most of what she ate was projectile vomited back up (super gross, I know!).  As a result, my daughter was breastfed about 50 percent of the time and then 50 percent bottle fed.

She was fulled weaned by 10 months.


My breastfeeding journey with baby number 2 was very brief. We were in the middle of a major life change, and as hard as I tried to breastfeed, I just couldn't. My milk never came in, and I was so stressed out with our recent move across the state, that I made the decision to bottle feed and it was literally the best decision ever! 

Yes, I said it. The BEST decision ever, one I do not regret for a moment. 
Bottle feeding gave me such a sense of freedom, I was able to allow my husband to help out with the feedings, and get some sleep or go for a run a few times a week.  

In August of 2016, I was fully intending to bottle feed baby number 3. When my second born weaned at 6 weeks old, I was devastated - I spent months feeling like a complete failure. So, as we were approaching the arrival of our third baby I knew I didn't want to go through that emotional rollercoaster ever again - so I was going to bottle-feed. 

Funny thing about my plans, they almost NEVER work out. So, when we arrived home from the hospital with our darling little girl in September of 2016, I also arrived home with a clogged-duct. Knowing that I could get develop mastitis, I got to work pumping, and feeding. It took about a week, but everything cleared up and as a result, I had established a pretty solid milk supply and my little one had figured out how to latch! 

After 13 months of mostly exclusively breastfeeding, my girl has weaned me and I can honestly say, I am so thankful for the experience. Breastfeeding wasn't easy, but we made it 13 months, a full 13 months longer than I thought and as she becomes more and more independent I can't help but reflect on the times I got to hold her close and provide everything she needed. 


 Now that I've shared my story from feeling like a failure to breastfeeding a toddler I thought id share a few things that helped me overcome my breastfeeding anxiety and grow to love the experience. 

  1. Find a Tribe
    • Supportive Family Members 
    • Supportive Friends
    • Online Groups
  2. Be Confident in Public
    • Have a good cover, and know how to use it
    • Learn to feed and walk
      • I mastered feeding and walking in two different baby carriers - LIFE CHANGING!
    • Know the law for your state, here in Florida a woman has the right to breastfeed her baby anywhere she is allowed to be (More information here).
  3. Stay Hydrated 
    • Keep a bottle of water near you at all times
      • I prefer one with a straw, it's much easier to drink out of when your hands are full. 
  4. Eat a Well-Balanced Diet
    • When you are establishing your milk supply, you don't want to be cutting calories. In my experience, if I didn't eat plenty of nourishing fruits and vegetables my supply would start to go away. 
  5. Master the Latch and Positions
    • A bad latch can cause serious pain, make sure the latch is deep and comfortable. 
    • I watched several youtube videos from La Leche League to help me understand how to find a comfortable latch 
    • I also spent some time mastering different feeding positions until I found ones that worked for both of us
      • In the evening I would do side-laying position because it was the easiest to get my daughter back to sleep and transferred into her crib. 
What is your breastfeeding goal, how can I help support you in your journey - Let's connect! 


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