“We found that 32% of women did not initiate breastfeeding, 4% started but stopped within the first week, 13% stopped within the first month, and 51% continued for > 4 weeks.”
Breastfeeding was my second hardest challenge in the early days of motherhood. My part two to all of the mama’s out there with newborns, doing the best they can, loving like no other.
A nurse stopped by my house three days after we left the hospital and told me I was engorged and helped me see if Greye was properly latching. I was beyond exhausted, not only was Greye the “sleep through the day awake at night” newborn, she wasn’t latching correctly either. Which meant she wasn’t getting enough to eat and she cried a LOT.
If the nice lactation consultant could have just moved into my house and helped me 24/7 that would have been amazing haha. BUT I wouldn’t have learned all I know now, or grown so much stronger as a mother.
My challenges with nursing continued, bloody sore nipples, low supply, crying, fussy baby. Things didn’t change until Greye’s pediatrician took me aside after a weight check in of little to no progress. At this point at about 1 month I was ready to quit, but she took the time and she gave me a solution to try to build my milk supply. The solution being, pumping after almost every feeding, especially morning and night. If you are a breastfeeding mom you can imagine how time consuming this was. Newborn babies are pretty much attached to the breast 24/7 (especially when they aren’t getting enough food to keep them full). Having to pump after each feeding was excruciating.
Some wonderful benefits of breastfeeding to keep the excruciating time, energy, and pain at bay. Write these down, keep them in mind when you are having a tough day.
Infants who are breastfed have reduced risks of:
- Type 1 diabetes.
- Severe lower respiratory disease.
- Acute otitis media (ear infections).
- Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
- Gastrointestinal infections (diarrhea/vomiting).
Breastfeeding can help lower a mother’s risk of:
- High blood pressure.
- Type 2 diabetes.
- Ovarian cancer.
- Breast cancer.
A couple weeks into building my supply I was so exhausted, I told my husband I want to stop nursing at two months, that I can’t keep this up. He supported me of course but said, “Megan, you have worked so hard, just stick with it a little longer.”. Hearing his faith in me and my ability gave me strength. That week at Greye’s 6-week checkup she had gained a significant amount of weight. So much so that my midwife that had delivered her barely recognized the chubby, sleeping baby along with me.
I was able to stop pumping all day everyday, and enjoy my child, and the special time we had while I was nursing. Of course there is never a dull day in the first year of your child’s life. Reflux, gas, making sure I was properly nourishing my body to support my milk supply. Going back to a busy job and finding the time to pump within my career. I felt that after overcoming the huge challenge of a low supply and latching issues I could do anything, and we made it. I am happy to say that I nursed until Greye was a little over a year old, and I am so proud of myself for sticking with it! Those are memories I will never forget, and I was able to nourish my daughter to the best of my ability.
Did you know by breastfeeding you are not only giving your baby the best possible nutrients but you are also giving back to the world?
“Low rates of breastfeeding add more than $3 billion a year to medical costs for the mother and child in the United States.” CDC
Don’t give up! Sometimes of course there are things outside of our control, but if you can, work your ass off to continue on. Hire a coach, find a lactation specialist, get a badass support system. You can do this!! I learned so many valuable lessons along my breastfeeding journey. One of them being that a woman’s body is INCREDIBLE, and literally gives you everything you need to support your baby. Doesn’t mean it will be easy, but really, what good things in life are really easy?
Here are some resources below that will help you find your way through the breastfeeding journey. Please reach out with any questions or to share your story and experience to inspire others.
Pumpspotting: This wonderful company will support you through all your breastfeeding needs and struggles. They also advocate for workplaces to create accessible, comfortable spaces for women to be able to pump.
Ameda Contact Nipple Shield: These nipple shields saved my life in the early days of sore, blistered nipples, as my daughter learned to latch correctly. Not only do they protect you, I think they make it a little easier for the child to latch on.
Wireless Breast Pump: While I was doing makeup at a wedding the client all of sudden pulled two full cups of milk from under her shirt. No wires, and no sound. It was incredible! Make it EASY!
The Boppy Pillow : Yes they are worth all the hype. Buy a couple of them!
Kiinde Milk & food storage bags: Your breast milk is like gold, avoid spilling it!! These are not great for the planet but really great for your sanity. I also used them for making my own solid baby food.
Nursing Infinity Scarf Covers: My daughter was born in the colder months so these scarves were cute to wear and always handy whenever I needed to nurse.
Nursing Tank Tops: These are so convenient, comfortable, and necessary.
Better Breastfeeding by Dr. Linda D. Dahl. This book is PACKED with so much great information.
Work. Pump. Repeat. By Jessica Shortall. Anything to help make pumping at work easier!
Honestly, there are some many breastfeeding books out there with information you can take with you. The more women that tell their story the more we help others! Every experience is different, we can learn so much from everyone!
Let’s end it with a bang! Top 12 benefits of breast milk….
1.Breast milk contains live immunity. When a baby consumes breast milk, he or she receives both immediate and lifelong immunities.
2. Breast milk provides the specific nutrients that meet your baby’s needs. It’s pretty amazing: Your milk supply will fluctuate based on your baby’s demand. Your baby will communicate what she needs from your body, and your body will then produce the quality and quantity of milk to meet those requirements. (Sometimes there is under and over supply, but it is always adjustable!)
3. Breastfeeding can reduce your baby’s risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). While the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that mothers breastfeed for at least one year, research shows that breastfeeding as little as two months cuts the risk of SIDS in half.
4. Breastfeeding allows babies to feel close to the safe space that they’ve known while in the womb. Hearing your heartbeat and feeling your warm skin will help her transition from the inner world to the outer world.
5. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a polyunsaturated fatty acid found in breast milk, helps support proper brain development.
6. Breastfeeding can reduce your baby’s risk of developing middle ear infections.
7. Breastfeeding can reduce your baby’s chances of developing allergies.
8. Breastfeeding can reduce your baby’s risk of developing diabetes, since breast milk contains no artificial sugar.
9. Breastfeeding lowers the mom’s risk of postpartum depression significantly. Your hormones can slowly level out instead of abruptly.
10. Breast milk contains enzymes that make it often much easier for a baby to digest compared to formula. Most formula is made from cow’s milk, which contains enzymes that a baby’s digestive system still has not yet developed enough to properly digest. This ease in digestion helps babies avoid acid reflux and an upset stomach.
11. Breastfeeding moms naturally burn calories to make breast milk every time they nurse. Lactation also causes the uterus to contract, causing your body to work extra hard to reduce it back to its original size pre-pregnancy. Often women who breastfeed will tend to lose extra pregnancy weight quickly.
12. Save money!! Save the environment. Save on medical bills.
Bookmark this for the days you feel like you can’t go on. When you are exhausted and have bloody and sore nipples. Know that you have the tools and strength naturally within your body to 100 percent take of your baby and help them thrive. You’ve got this!
“Breastfeeding provides unmatched health benefits for babies and mothers. It is the clinical gold standard for infant feeding and nutrition, with breast milk uniquely tailored to meet the health needs of a growing baby. We must do more to create supportive and safe environments for mothers who choose to breastfeed.”Dr. Ruth Petersen, director of CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity