A JOURNEY IN BREASTFEEDING

1:19 PM

I'm still nursing my 16 month old. Gasp. Seriously, if you would have asked me five years ago if I would be sitting here able to say that, I would have cried, then laughed, then probably cried some more in your face. I made it all of 30 seconds breastfeeding Penny, our first. I chalk it all up to poor encouragement, my own naive self, and a very lazy baby. This go around, I was determined to research until I was blue in the face, and well, here we are.

Remember just a second ago when you read encouragement? Let me elaborate. Nursing was going great the first 48 hours of Penny's life? She was latching, I felt pretty confident, and honestly, I was so sure this was going to be a piece of chocolate cheesecake. After all, so many women in my family did it. Imagine the horror when little Joshua and Kiki show up to baby's first pediatric appointment and are told their baby "lost too much weight." Remember the crying I noted above? Cue crying. No, cue hysterics and self-mommy shaming. It took all of five seconds for that decrepit old man of a pediatrician to fill a bag up with baby formula samples, and scare the whits out of me.

Sure I tried pumping, but it was totally in my head now. Oh my gosh... oh my gosh... I am starving my baby. You know, just a basic day in my brain at that time. I mean, it didn't help that I assumed I should be pumping out full on bottles with every session, and that was no where near happening. Side note, that SHOULDN'T BE HAPPENING. I felt broken, useless, and that my own body was betraying me. With 16 months under my belt, looking back, I see so many issues with all of this, so much misinformation that was given to me, and certainly it's nothing I can change now, but I can use it to help some other scared first time moms that may encounter the same sort of struggles I did.


My breastfeeding journey with Penny seemed to end before it could really begin, and many people were surprised when I was signing up for nursing classes with baby number two. Not even joking, I was the only second time mom in there! With the facts laid out in front of me, I pushed any and all doubt away and to this day, I was the best thing I could have ever done for myself. Seriously, even if you think it's stupid, go to a nursing class! Go!

 As a mother, obviously I was able to provide nourishment for my newborn son. (FO FREE). As a woman, I discovered this entire new part of my being, and she was powerful.

EDUCATION

When I look back to the situation surrounding Penny's first doctor appointment, I shake my head. The amount of misinformation we received in that short visit dismantled my entire breastfeeding journey, and had I known more about how breast milk works, I'd more than likely have been successful. Today I'm going to discuss some areas where  I went wrong the first time, and the things that I attribute being so successful round two.


She lost too much weight- ALL babies lose some of their birth weight. Hear that? All of them. I had zero knowledge of this. Zip. Zilch. So hearing a medical doctor tell me my three day old baby had lost too much weight killed my new motherly soul. Plus, at three days old, my milk probably hadn't even come in yet!

Continue taking your prenatal- Again with claiming ignorance here, as no one told me this. I'm sure the impact of this alone wouldn't have made my breastfeeding journey take off, but it would have helped slightly. After baby, lots of moms tend to lose vitamins and nutrients for a multitude of reasons. Tiredness, PPD, and just an overwhelming sense too busy to eat. I took a prenatal this time around until he was about ten months old.

Water is your new beverage of choice- There's boat loads of cookies, drinks, and special diets available on the market to boost milk supply. While those may work for some, old fashioned water seems to be the biggest of them all. We're talking borderline drowning your internal organs types of water consumption. What helped me is having a water bottle with labeled ounces on it (mine is 32 oz) so I could count how many bottles I had a day. Still, I drink anywhere from 4 to 5 bottles of water a day from the time I wake up till I go to bed. (Nearly 160 oz!) In fact, most nutritionist say you should aim to drink your weight in water. If you're 160 lbs, a 160 oz is perfect!

It's going to hurt- So many people used to tell me "if it hurts, you're doing it wrong." Only half true. While it is true a baby with a rough latch will feel like your nipple is literally going to come off. It is normal to have some pain. For my own journey, this pain only lasted about two weeks, and I highly recommend biting down on a blanket those first couple of weeks.

Seek support- You aren't alone in this, and chances are there's a local Facebook group of nursing mama both vets and newbies. My local page has been so informative and helpful through this entire process and honestly, it restores my faith in social media.


Last but not very least, follow your heart. Know that whichever road motherhood takes you, there are resources and support to guide you on your journey. In a world of mom-shaming, the very last thing any of us should do is look down on another mom for how she feeds her baby. Whether or not that was a choice or not. As a mom of one happy formula fed baby, and one happy extended breastfeeder, I can attest to the statement, fed is best.

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