*This post is not meant to provide medical advice or be a substitute for a medical professional or lactation consultant. These are simply things I have learned after my own breastfeeding experiences.
Breastfeeding. it's supposed to be the most natural thing in the world. I mean our bodies were perfectly created to grow a baby, deliver it safely into the world, and then continue to nourish it with every single thing it needs. However, for one reason or another, breastfeeding doesn't necessarily come naturally. At least not to everyone.
I've written before about my struggles with nursing Caleb, especially at the beginning. I knew from the start of this pregnancy that there were a few things I didn't do correctly the first time around that I needed to correct from day 1 with Chloe. In the post I linked above, I mention how I was determined to make it work, and was able to make it work because of that determination, and in spite of having people doubt me. One of the things I did differently this time was have an in-home consultation with a lactation consultant. She told me, "Breastfeeding is 90% motivation, and only 10% skill." If you truly want to breastfeed, and you are willing to put in the work at first, then you can and you will.
I'm not going to cover everything about breastfeeding in one post - that's impossible. There's so much to know. But I will tell you the most important things to remember in the first few weeks.
Breastfeeding is 90% motivation, and only 10% skill.
So there you have my biggest tips for the beginning of your breastfeeding journey. Experienced mommas, what else would you add? Leave your tips in the comments!
P.S. I get that breastfeeding is not for everyone. This post is not meant to shame those moms who choose to feed their babies formula or expressed milk. A fed baby is a healthy baby. Do what you have to do, ladies! This post is only to tell you that if you truly want to breastfeed, you can!
This post is so super duper long overdue. I kept putting it off because I have so much to say about this. But the more time passes, the more I realize that I don't need to say all that much. I just need to tell my story.
When I pictured having a baby, I always pictured myself nursing my child. I couldn't imagine anything else - my baby's face, what the nursery looked like, anything - but the one thing that I always saw was myself nursing a little bundle. So I set my mind on it. I took a "Breastfeeding 101" class at the hospital, I read up on as many things as I could, and I mentally prepared myself for sore nipples and leaky boobs. A couple hours after giving birth, I latched him on (he needed to go to the nursery immediately after birth so I couldn't nurse right away). Everything seemed fine, he seemed content. Fast forward a week to his one week appointment... all good, he was back up to his birth weight, feeding well, no problem! Fast forward a little more, to his one month appointment, and well, still at birth weight.
I was crushed. I was starving my child. (I wasn't really, and it certainly wasn't on purpose.)
So after being told I needed to supplement, I said okay, I'll do what I need to to get his weight back up but I will nurse him until we are both good and ready to stop - and I'm only supplementing until I absolutely have to.
It took weeks. It wasn't easy. Making milk was my full time job. I read everything I could about increasing production. I spent my extra moments baking lactation cookies, power pumping, and guzzling water like it was nobody's business. Eventually, there came a point where I didn't have to supplement any more. The day he finished nursing and rejected a bottle, I cried. I must have looked insane. But I was so happy. My hard work was paying off. For the next few months I stressed a lot over milk. I ended up going back to work when he was 3 months old and had to pump. I could only just get enough for him most days. But as a teacher, I knew I only had two months to go and then I would be able to continue nursing him through the summer. So I pushed through and I made it - pumping during every break at work, and nursing as much as I could as soon as I walked through the door in the afternoon.
I made it. And a year later, I'm still making it. Granted, I only nurse twice a day now, but after June, I didn't have to supplement once. He stayed exclusively on breast milk until 6 months, at which point we started introducing solids (very slowly).
So how did I do it? There are a few key things I did that really helped me.
Like I said, my body never responded well to the pump, but pumping definitely kept my supply going.
Kellymom.com was my greatest resource, and I got so much help from going there.
If nursing is what you really want to do, don't let anyone tell you you can't do it! A lot of women are told they don't produce enough, but then are not given the tools to help them make what they need! If I could do it, you certainly can, too. And if you have questions, don't hesitate to ask!
Breastfeeding has come fairly easily to me, but milk has not flowed in abundance, unfortunately. One of the things I have found to work are these lactation cookies, so I decided I would share the recipe. You can tweak them in any number of ways to your liking. The important ingredients are the oatmeal, flaxseed meal, and brewer's yeast (I ordered mine from Amazon but I'm pretty sure Whole Foods has this). I personally like them loaded with chocolate chips, so that's what I usually add, but you could add raisins, almonds, peanut butter, etc. They are actually much tastier than I thought they would be, and my husband has even enjoyed these as well.
Hope you enjoy as much as I have!
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Lactation Cookies
2 tbsp Flaxseed meal (no substitutions)
4 tbsp water
1 cup sugar
1 stick butter
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour (I used whole wheat)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 cups thick cut oats
1 cup chocolate chips
2 tbsp Brewer's Yeast
About this Mom
A Miami wife and mom documenting her days with her toddler and all that comes along with it.