|My little nursling at 2 months old|
I was so inspired by Jordan Marie’s post about her breastfeeding success I figured I should jot down my own thoughts! Hope you are encouraged … if you write your own, be sure to let Jordan Marie or I know!
- Believing I could. Remember when you were a kid you naturally believed things? You didn’t have adult worries and “what if’s” didn’t cross your mind very often. While I was pregnant I planned to breastfeed because I knew I could, I believed I could, and that positive energy gave me a boost of internal support.
- Having lots of support. Support usually doesn’t just fall in your lap. You have to find it. I joined numerous Facebook/internet groups focused on breastfeeding support, I attended La Leche League meetings, and I connected with a lactation consultant during pregnancy so I would have an expert to call if I needed her.
- Taking my family on my journey. Even though breastfeeding is between mama and baby, there are many other people who come into contact with you during your journey. Allowing them into your world helps them to be a better support to you and normalizes breastfeeding. I am blessed to have a mom who has almost 5 years of breastfeeding under her belt, she was a crazy amount of support for me. I asked my husband to come along with me as I learned about breastfeeding – we took Bradley classes which covered some basic information and when I learned something new I would share it with him. Both of my sisters saw the nitty gritty of nursing, not because they asked, but because I was a little in-your-face, check this out – Hannah helped diagnose my milk blister by comparing pictures online and Katie saw my boobs spray like nobody business.
- Following an on demand feeding schedule. Some days Jemma ate every hour, other days, every 6 hours … and everywhere in between. I let her lead the way and my milk adjusted accordingly.
- Making mini goals. Getting through my milk coming in. Hitting 2 weeks. Making it to a month. Surviving back to work at 4 months. Then 6 months. Then 7, 8, 9 months. And before I knew it … boom, a year!
- Putting obstacles to good use. I dealt with oversupply for most of the first year (first alot, them just a little), but always figured it was better to have too much milk than too little. Jemma adapted so it turned out to be just fine. It also helped with pumping while I was away at work and allowed for me to share my extra milk with other mamas and babies. But, my biggest obstacle by far was excess lipase. Even though it was a headache and I would never wish it on any pumping mama, I do feel like I have the information to share and encourage mamas who might deal with this in the future.
- Associating breasts with food, not sex. Technically they are a part of both … but when you are a nursing mama, boobs are for babies. It’s hard too, in our culture, when Victoria’s Secret boobs are prevalent, but nursing boobs are not. It makes a mama feel embarrassed when she is out and about doin’ the norm – feeding her baby. In the beginning I tried to nurse mostly at home. What if I flashed someone? What if someone said something to me? Neither happened and now I have nursed almost everywhere. I was always discreet, but rarely used a cover. Being out and about gave me confidence and I hope encouraged other moms to not worry about offering their little one a meal while in a public setting. I mean, if Victoria can show her cleavage I might as well let a little side boob slip … right? ;)
- Eating and drinking like a … cow. I thought I ate alot while pregnant. Turns out, I really amped things up when I was nursing. Constantly thirsty – gallons and gallons of water. Always eating – every snack imaginable. My husband was amazed at all I could pack away. I never counted calories, but I’m sure I ate anywhere from 3-5,000 calories each day and still lost all my pregnancy weight (and some) by the time Jemma turned one.
- Not forcing a bottle. I could go both ways with this one … I returned to work when Jemma was 4 months old and she had only taken a few ounces of milk from a bottle. I was terrified that she would starve. But she didn’t. She learned to drink mama milk from a sippy cup and increased night nursing. By not having a bottle be a big part of our nursing relationship I think I was able to insure our nursing relationship.
- Thinking long term. I never put an end date or final goal on breastfeeding. I assumed Jemma would self-wean when she was ready. Sadly, for me, this happened way sooner than I imagined. But for Jemma, it was an easy, happy thing. She became an independent little girl overnight and now I get to look forward to starting the breastfeeding journey all over again with her brother! And, on a lighter note, buy a decent bra. Just do it. It took me 3 tries until I found the right one and then I bought four, the Bravado Bliss is what I love! The right foundation made my clothes fit better and made boob access easier and when you are in it for the long haul you want both of those things :)