This is my breastfeeding 101 post. I have nursed my two year old Sage for 2 years. I didn’t go into breastfeeding knowing much of anything. I didn’t do any research on it or take a breastfeeding class prior to giving birth so I kind of just went with it. I wasn’t sure if I was doing it right at first but I had almost no issues besides cracked nipples in the beginning. I did have trouble getting Sage into a position that was comfortable for the both of us (since I had a c-section birth) and was given a pamphlet on the different holding positions like the “football”. We eventually got the hang of it. I say this to say you can get the hang of it too if breastfeeding your baby is what you really want to do. Yes, it requires time and effort and waking up in the middle of the night to nurse and sometimes your baby might cluster-feed for hours and you’ll get irritated and want to quit from cracked (sometimes even bleeding) nipples but its worth it for you and your baby.
There are so many resources on breastfeeding and ill link a few of my favs down below. Because I know it can get easy to get lost in the sea of information just from googling a topic as vast as this.
I still breastfeed my daughter and despite curious glances and people (family included) saying I’m crazy and giving me weird looks I think she still benefits from it. My daughter is vegetarian like I’ve stated in previous posts however she’s a picky eater and I do worry if she’s getting enough nutrients. She hardly eats any fruits, veggies, or beans which means she’s mainly eating starches like pasta and bread. Also I have noticed the change in her nursing is only about twice a day now so my supply is really low and I think soon my milk is just going to stop. Until then ill continue to breastfeed her
while I can.
Also let me just say that my experience with breastfeeding isn’t the norm. I know that a lot of women struggle with breastfeeding even if they are dedicated and want to breastfeed. Its hard doing it consistently feeling like some sort of milk machine or dealing with Post Partum Stress and nursing. Whatever your situation may be. I feel for you. Breast is defiantly not best. A fed baby is what is best. Saying things like this is so inclusive of mother’s who can’t breastfeed, don’t have the support, or who just don’t want to do it. If you do want to breastfeed your baby but can’t there are milk donors out there who would love to help mom’s in need and ill link some options below.
If you want to breastfeed though don’t let anyone talk you out of it not your doctor not your spouse not your friends. No one. If you’re determined to breastfeed your child and you’re able – DO IT.
For your babe:
- Bonding – this one actually benefits you both. I know some people have babies and instantly feel connected and in love. But I also know some don’t feel that connection instantly breastfeeding (if its an option for you) will help create and solidify a bond.
There are many sources and ill link one or two that say that breastfeeding babes get sick less than formula fed babes and are less likely to die. Which very well may be true (I’m sure it is) but I’m not trying to scare anyone into breastfeeding like I said a fed baby is best and its inclusive to assume that every mother can, wants or should breastfeed. But there are plenty of health benefits for your baby if you choose to breastfeed.
- Normal weight gain
- Healthy digestion less constipation diarrhea or upset stomach
- Can protect against allergies and asthma
- If you eat right because breastfeeding burns extra calories than the body normally does you can shed those pregnancy pounds quicker if that’s what you want.
- Breastmilk is essentially free (minus buying or renting a pump) but the cost doesn’t add up to the cost that formula is which will keep your pockets full.
- Reduces the risk of Postpartum Stress Disorder
- Can help protect against breast and ovarian cancers
There are other benefits these are just the ones I highlighted.
Helpful Tips to Keep Up Milk Supply:
- Don’t supplement with formula unless you absolutely have to – even then try to find a place where they are giving breastmilk from another mother away. Breastfeeding is all about supply and demand so the more you nurse the more milk your body will produce.
- Eat Oats: whole oats not those instant Quaker oats. Whole oats are great for helping you keep up your milk supply.
- Drink Plenty of Water: if you don’t like water switch it up by adding fruit but staying properly hydrated while nursing is both good for you and your baby.
- If you have the money and are struggling but want to breastfeed and don’t have support. Hire a professional. A lactation will coach you through breastfeeding till both you and your baby are comfortable and will give you tips, advice and the support you need to continue.
- Don’t Stress: stress will have your body in a tense mode which will lead to not having a good milk supply. I know this is easier said than done especially right after having a baby and all the demands that come with new parenthood. But stress will mess with the flow of your milk coming out through the nipple. When the body is tense everything is tense so the let down of milk that’s needed can’t happen as freely.
- Eat Whole Foods like fruits and veggies. You burn more calories than average during the day when you breastfeed. Eating healthy foods filled with nutrients and not empty calories will keep you satisfied and healthy so your body can produce adequate milk.
- Lactation Cookies! These saved my life when my supply got a little wonky from work and school. I got mine from Babies R US but you can also order them offline or make your own their are recipes online and ill link one below
If you have to return to work or school or just need a few hours away for your own sanity, then pumping will become your best friend. Now with pumping get a pump that best suits you there are double pumps, single pumps, hands free pumps you name it. Invest in one I know they’re costly. Some hospitals will let you rent one or you can see if your insurance covers some of the cost. With pumping you need a established schedule because a pump is different than breastfeeding the first couple of times can be difficult and you might not get a lot of milk. Keep at it everyday at the same time. Then you can freeze your milk for whenever your away from your baby.
Mother’s Milk Tea: which I have tried and it worked well:
Vegan Lactation Cookie Recipe:
Milk Makers Lemon Lactation Cookies: these are the cookies I used in the beginning and during rough patches:
These are Milk Makers Lactation Bars which I never tried but thought a bar would be cool so mother’s could eat it with breakfast in the morning: https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0792PD9H9/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1526182953&sr=8-1-spons&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=lactation+cookies&psc=1
Milk Makers also has a lactation tea if you want to stay in one brand. I just searched on amazon.com for these links and in no way am sponsored by either of these companies. I just shared what worked for me.
Also try fenugreek the herb too if you hit rough patches established supply and none of these other options work for you.
More Info on health Benefits and other Benefits of Breastfeeding:
Milk Bank to Donate Milk:
Where you can donate and receive milk:
Also there are many support Facebook groups.