Breastfeeding our daughters was such a special time for me, but it wasn’t always easy. So I thought I’d share my story of nursing, and give some tips from a working mom who successfully breastfed both of her babies until 15 months old.
Lila was born at 35 weeks due to my pregnancy induced hypertension. She lived in the NICU the first week of her life and I pumped and she was bottle fed. I required a blood patch after a botched epidural, so I wasn’t able to sit upright and nurse her. Plus she had a hard time latching in the beginning, as most preemie’s do.
But once we were home and she was a little stronger, she got the hang of it, and so did I. And I really cherished that bonding time. It was such a joy…after of course I figured out how to cope, and dull the initial pain. Nursing requires patience, love, and understanding that the momentary discomfort you feel will go away,if you can just get past it.
I nursed Lila (and pumped bottles in the daytime when I worked) until she was 11 months old. Then I slowly weaned her to milk cups in the day time, and I breastfed her morning and night until she was 16 months. By that time she was doing yoga poses, twisting, biting and being all kinds of silly during her feeds. Plus my milk supply was dwindling, so for me it was time to let go.
Emylia was a different story, she was my little guzzler! She could finish nursing in five short minutes, and was a pro straight from the womb! Though she was going to be my last baby, I actually weaned her sooner. I was working more and it’s not easy pumping at stadiums, baseball fields, and other strange places! I moved her to bottles of breast milk around 9 months old, and then I weaned her from the morning and night feed by 15 months. She resisted though – and it was very emotional for both of us. I knew I would never nurse again, but I also wasn’t producing enough to fill her belly each morning and night.
Breastfeeding my children really is one of the greatest things I’ve done so far as a mother, and I hope other moms and moms-to-be feel the same way. Though it can be extremely difficult in the beginning, please stick with it! And if you need help…here’s some advice.
breastfeeding tips for new moms
- Find a Support Group – There’s usually one at the hospital where you delivered. It really does help the first month of a baby’s life to find other moms going through what you are. Plus it gets you out of the house and the lactation consultants can help you with any issues you are having. Check this website to find one near you!
- Medela Tender Care Lanolin Rocks! – Seriously, I used it after each feed and it really helps soothe the sore area.
- Use Cold Packs – If you are super uncomfortable after a feed, try putting a cold pack over your breast.
- Over Producing Help – If you are engorged when your milk comes in, try putting warm washcloths on your breast to loosen the clogged milk ducts. Also, you can express the extra milk with your hands. I used to express the milk onto baby washcloths, and freeze them for teething cloths later on. Babies love them!
- Pump For Daddy – I totally disagree with health professionals that say to exclusively breastfeed the first month because of nipple confusion. I pumped a bottle for daddy every single night so he not only bonded with the baby, but I got a much deserved 4-5 hour stretch of sleep. Plus it makes the transition to a bottle easier when you are ready.
- Don’t Give Up on Your Worst Day! – There were several times where it hurt too much, or I was just so exhausted and I wanted to quit. I’m so thankful my husband encouraged me to stay with it. Never make a decision when you are feeling your worst, always give yourself a few days.
- Cherish the Time – It’s such a cliche but it does go by so quickly. I wish terribly I could still hold my toddler like a baby.
- Wean When YOU (and only you) Are Ready – Don’t worry about the stares at the mall, or what anyone else thinks. Only a mother knows what is right for her child.
Good luck mommies..you can do it! It won’t hurt forever, and the benefits for both you and your baby are countless.
Stephanie Winans says
Loved this post, Kristen! The picture you chose is gorgeous. I can only assume that it took you so long to choose because they were all as beautiful. 🙂
Ha! Thanks Stephanie! And I think they all were gorgeous – some just more ‘revealing’ than others.
Kristen I breastfed both of mine my first weened easily and took to breastmilk in bottles like a dream, my second daughter was a totally different story she would not accept a bottle, no matter what and only weened when food and cups took over at 18 months and even then it was a struggle for both of us because like you I knew she was my last baby. Funny my second grew up to be my fussiest eater too. It is a beautiful image btw .
Awww…thank you! And I love hearing the stories of your kids. They grow up so quickly don’t they?
Great tips! It’s definitely difficult at first, but it’s worth it. (That picture of Lila makes me want another baby!! SO sweet!)
I know – I have the baby bug too…puppy?
Great tips! I had a much easier time breastfeeding my second.. my first never could latch and I had to pump exclusively (which was torture!) Mila was a pro from the start but I barely made it to 6 months. (and I was counting down the days to that 6 month mark… it was my own little goal) I seriously commend you and moms who go way past that. Such an amazing gift to your children!
Me too – 2nd time is the charm! And good for you making it to 6 months.
Beautiful picture 🙂 What a special bonding moment, captured!! I struggled with breastfeeding every single day. My milk production sucked and so I pumped and pumped and pumped. i would wake myself up every hour on the hour, still get up at 4 for work, and then come home 12 hours later after pumping all day at work and even in the car on the commute home. I honestly tried EVERYthing to get my milk supply up, and it continued to decline. I cried my eyes out about it on a daily basis – it was horrible. When I finally stopped, I felt like a failure and a cheap excuse for a mom. Looking back, I have to say those were some of my darkest days, with both children.
I chalk it up to evolutionary failure on multiple levels.
1. My maternal elders never breastfed. I think the natural part of breastfeeding has been weeded out of our culture through generations of mamas who were told science was the healthiest thing to do. i don’t blame them….if I was told to do something healthy for my baby and had it backed by doctors and professionals all over the country I would do it, too. But now we’re playing catch-up. It’s not “natural” anymore….it’s work.
2. We’ve got a women-in-the-workforce culture and bare-bones resources that are just now starting to get better (I had people complain I got “more breaks” because I needed to pump and was told to pump “in a bathroom stall” when I asked to borrow someone’s office).
3. People are still freaking out about seeing it….even other women. Please. If I have to look at your 12-year-old run around in booty shorts with her ass hanging out, you can handle my hooter-hiding tent at Outback.
I feel like I was cheated out of my happiness before my littles were even born. The only consolation I take from my struggles and deep, deep sense of failure is the fact I tried and publicly made changes to my workplace so people can pump in peace. Maybe because I drained myself dry (pun intended), my littles will somehow have an easier time.
Love all of your tips and think this post is so, so important. Thanks for writing it!
Jen – OMG. This comment needs to be a blog post. I’m serious. You are soooo right, we see boobs galore all over the tv and magazines, but breastfeeding is dirty? I actually didn’t write this post for a WEEK because I was afraid to post the image of me nursing. It’s terrible what’s happening in this country. And trust me, I pump in stalls all over stadiums, it’s ugh! I am soooo sorry you had such a terrible breastfeeding experience.At least you tried and I’m glad you were able to help other moms in your office.
This is beautiful, Kristen. These tips will really help some new moms!
Thank you Echo – I wanted to write it all week…such a special time for moms.
Great post and pic Kristen. Leisl is approaching the one year mark any advice for weaning? She has rejected the bottle and sippy cups until just the last two weeks. Rejected breast milk in a bottle so I’m nervous how this is going to go!
Hi Megan – its so hard to believe she’s turning one soon! I would highly recommend your husband giving her the night time bottle, and you leave the house. It might take a few nights of her resisting, but she’ll get it soon enough. When I weaned Emy sometimes she would only take 1 or 2 oz before bed, so we loaded her up on solids when we weaned. After 3 or 4 nights she’ll figure it out. Good luck!
Beautiful photo and a great post! Breastfeeding is wonderful, but there is definitely a learning curve.
Beautiful, beautiful post and great tips!! Your picture makes me want a newborn again, and that is just crazy!
Thank you for sharing! 🙂
I know right? I want one too..and then I remember they grow up. Sigh. Glad you liked the post!
Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom says
Wonderful tips and a fabulous post!
I really struggled with mastitis and engorged breasts. I thankfully had an awesome doula who recommended cabbage leaves in my bra to help with the engorged breasts – what a relief. Although I felt silly with cabbage in my bra!
Thanks for sharing.
Wishing you a lovely evening.
Julie V. says
Thanks for the advice for when I have kids (yes I read mommy articles when I’m not yet a mommy yet.)
I keep telling myself that I will enjoy being a mom and if things, like breastfeeding, are tough, I’ll get help and not get mad at myself.
I think it’s awesome you read mommy articles! I wish I would have…would have saved a ton of confusion!
Tenns @ New Mama Diaries says
I really needed this reinforcement! I’m coming up on a year of breastfeeding my son, and I’m so happy I’ve been able to do it this long. I’m not quite sure when I’ll wean, as he still nurses a lot, especially for comfort. My supply is still pretty good, but its getting harder and harder to drink enough water, eat, and in general take care of myself at the level I should to be breastfeeding. I think I’m just mentally starting to move away from it, but not at all emotionally. I’ll be getting back on track now after reading your post. Thanks so much Kristen!
Thanks for linking up at Creative Style! 🙂
You have to do whats right for you Tenns, good luck with your decision!
None of my children had problems with nipple confusion. They knew right away that they didn’t like the bottle! LOL! I breastfed mine until a year, even though my now-toddler gnawed on me until the day she stopped. I don’t know why I didn’t stop sooner. But I’m still glad I did. Even through the pain, it was easier than waking up and making bottles, of which she didn’t like. These are some great tips. I think there’s a misconception that because we’ve been doing it since the beginning of time, it’s super easy and if you don’t get it on your own, there’s something wrong with your breasts or milk supply. Thank you for linking up with Creative Style Linkup! Have a blessed weekend!
Your co-host, April
Such a great suggestion not to quit when you are at your worst. There were so many ups and mostly downs when I first started breastfeeding. Eventually, it became a lot better. I’m still nursing and my son is almost 14 months 🙂
That’s great JoAnn…I wish I could have another one!
Some great tips here for new mums, it can be really hard if you don’t have the correct support. Thanks for linking up to the parenting pin it party