15 Feb 2020

My Breastfeeding Story: Tips for Success

This is reboot #45895 of the blog and I thought,

“Hey, what’s the best way to break the ice?”

“WITH BOOB TALK, OBVIOUSLY!”

So, let’s jump right in!

When I was pregnant with my oldest, Thalia, I was adamant that I would be successful at breastfeeding and that I would breastfeed exclusively for a year. Well, I was successful- but during the beginning of that year there were a lot of sleepless nights, tears and frustration.

“Why didn’t anyone tell me that this is nearly impossible,” I would cry to my husband as I clusterfed my 6 week old.

“How long will this last?”

“Will she always want to eat every second of every day?”

“How do I know if she’s getting enough?”

“I definitely don’t have enough, I feel empty.”

I felt empty in more ways than one. I was EXHAUSTED.

Guys, no one tells you that the most natural thing in the world: breastfeeding, is the MOST unnatural thing in the world. It’s a skill that has to be learned. I never knew anyone in my family or friend group that had exclusively breastfed so it was hard for me to ask for advice or seek support. They were supportive, of course, but I definitely couldn’t seek out their “advice”. My pediatrician had no formal training in lactation and we didn’t necessarily have the budget for a private lactation consultant.

So, like most panicked millennial moms, I took to Google.

I found LOTS of information: Mom chat boards, YouTube videos, Pinterest articles, etc. I suddenly had this whole supportive breastfeeding community at my fingertips. I read articles written by lactation consultants. I found blog posts from doctors and medical researchers. Most importantly, I found other moms out there who had success stories. They lived average lives and had real life responsibilities and were able to breastfeed their infants for an entire year. During this time, I was still in the Rookie breastfeeding stage with Thalia and these moms seemed near mythical.

But they gave me so much hope and motivation.

I am hoping you have found this blog if you are a mama seeking community and hope. I would love to share with you everything that I have learned from other moms and everything I have learned from breastfeeding my first, and now my second little one. For now, here my three biggest tips for success.

My Tips for Success:

Stop looking at the clock: Breastfeeding is SUPPLY & DEMAND. As I am sure you have read or heard, breastfed babies eat every 2-3 hours.

LOL NO THEY DON’T – they eat every five seconds, or every hour, or maybe they eat right on schedule.

Fact is, although we would love our child to adhere to a clear timeline of their needs, it very rarely works out that way.

If you’re a normal first time breastfeeding mom- you are probably stressing out because your baby is eating every 30 minutes and in your sleep deprived but logic craving mind, you deduce that this means you have low milk supply.

Nope – just regular breastfed baby stuff. Babies eat on their schedule to their exact needs. Cluster feeding can last hours, days even. I feel like there may have even been a couple weeks where Joey was always attached to my boob.

You have to listen to your baby. If they are showing hunger cues, put the baby on the breast, even if it hasn’t been “2-3 hours”. Their demand will drive your supply. They don’t know how to read a clock – they just know they are biologically driven to eat and your body will respond exactly the way it needs to.

Get out of your own way: Perceived milk supply is the number one reason I feel like most mamas stop breastfeeding and I GET IT. I understand this so well. How are we supposed to know how much baby is getting? The diaper counting thing stresses me out and I’m sure stresses everyone else out too. It’s nice to know that there is a wet diaper output minimum to keep us calm, but what about the constant crying or the constant feeding? That obviously has to indicate something is wrong.

Welcome to Motherhood.
This is your first pang of “Mom Inadequacy”.

Trust me, you are exactly what your baby needs. Listen to their cues and follow their lead. Every baby is different. If this is your second, third or fourth baby – same thing applies. You have a new dance partner and you will have to learn their rhythm.

Get help: If you feel intuitively that something is wrong, get help. Seek advice from a Lactation Consultant or any medical professional with training in breastfeeding.

I am thrilled you found this page. I hope this is a place of support, but this is not where you should seek treatment or a diagnosis. Find a provider that can assist you with individualized attention for you and your baby’s needs.

  • Utilize the lactation department at the hospital you gave birth at! My hospital has a lactation desk that takes lactation questions over the phone during business hours and gave me local recommendations for lactation support.
  • If you have a Spectra breast pump: use the Mom support line! ibclc@spectrababyusa.com Also, visit Spectra’s blog for some great and accurate information from Board Certified Lactation Consultants: https://www.spectrababyusa.com/blog
  • You can check if a medication is safe for breastfeeding by visiting https://mommymeds.com/ or by calling Infant Risk at (806) 352-2519

Getting help includes seeking support from your partner, family or friends. If you are outtouched and overtired – say something. Your loved ones will support your desire to be successful, so ask them when you need help.

Have your partner grab you a HUGE ice water with a straw during a clusterfeed session.

Have your toddler share their yogurt covered raisins with you while you are trapped under a sleepy newborn.

If you are not finding support within your circle – create your own support system. I have created very strong friendships with women that I have met in online Mom groups. They are incredible women that are fantastic at texting hilarious gifs during late night nursing sessions. They also have had great insight to breastfeeding problems and have been able to share first hand experience to help me troubleshoot.

I hope I can be one of those mamas for you and I hope this post has helped you if you feel alone.

Connect with me on instagram for WAY too many pictures of my kids and breastfeeding tips & tricks.

Check my stories highlight: Breastfeeding

@oliviamilana

Posted on February 15, in Food

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