I’M FREE!!!!!!!!!! I did it!!!!!!! I want to chronicle my journey on this hormonal roller coaster. Hopefully another mom can benefit from it, but if not, it’s a judge-free place I can look back at with pride. An immense amount of pride. And honestly judge-free; I do not begrudge anyone who makes one choice vs another, to each their own. Seriously.
Back when I was pregnant with Liv, it was Jon who actually did the research on breastfeeding and the benefits. He gave me the synopsis and I agreed that I would try. Based on some of the scientific research (something about the gut and bacteria), I set my goal for 6 months and he said he would do whatever he could to help me achieve this goal. Proud to say I made it to a year and exclusively breastfed my healthy, 95th percentile babe. And of course, got these in return #willgobrokeforshoes
Fast forward to giving birth to G, and I again set my sights on 6 months, not knowing how I was going to do this with a toddler, if I would have the stamina to continue while back at work, traveling every other week, if my supply would stay consistent, etc.
Beyond the physical challenges (leaking boobs, ugh, the worst; having to manually milk myself in the early weeks, second worst), there are emotional ones. 24/7 top of mind, always ensuring I am getting enough calories, drinking enough water, mindful of the clock and the last time he ate (or I pumped), counting the ounces he drinks a day vs my output, packing my pump stuff every.freaking.day. It’s exhausting. And one of the most difficult things I have ever done. Dealing with a screaming toddler wanting to be by me in those early months when I would nurse him to sleep and she would be sobbing in the other room – yeah, I won’t miss those extremely low points. Yet, I wouldn’t change my choice for the world. I think I am pretty granola when it comes to nursing; I love it. I honestly love the closeness I feel, that although I have the work-guilt of being away, I feel this is the one thing only I can do for him. Hope that makes sense.
How did I do it? Here are my top tips:
- When babe is first born and for the first month, nurse as much as humanly possible. I would wake G up to nurse every 2 hours a) to establish my milk supply b) to help the tiny tot gain weight. It’s SO hard to do in the middle of the night and you feel like all you are doing is having this person attached to you 24/7 (you are), it will help and get better.
- If you ever feel your supply dip (around 3 months when you go back to work; 6 months when they try solids; 9 months when they could start to reject the boob; or if you’re sick and take a decongestant) – my go to is Mother’s Milk tea & these pills. I would take 2 pills 2xday and a tea or two and get it right back up.
- Drink HALF your body weight (in ounces) in water minimum per day.
- Don’t worry about losing the baby weight; keep inhaling (healthy) food. Your body needs the fuel. Aim for 65 grams of protein per day.
- Keep taking prenatal vitamins. Will do wonders for your hair and nails during this weird body transition.
- Keep this cream on hand for after pump sessions or for cracked nips
- Make your husband, spouse, nanny, non-milk maid partner do ALL the pump/bottle stuff. You heard me; they better f’ing volunteer to do this, you are the sole person keeping your little babe alive. The last thing you want to do/think about is cleaning this shit when you are running on fumes.
- Have 2 pumps – keep one at work and one at home; who the f wants to lug that ugly pump bag around!!! It totally cramps your style trying to grab happy hour drinks with co-workers. (I really hope you sense the sarcasm in this one, #aintgottimeforthat). Insurance should cover the price of one, so that helps.
- Use this bag to store pump parts during the day at work in the fridge and to transport your milk back and forth. No need to clean in between pump sessions as long as it stays cold. Sidenote: because it looks like a lunch box, I have had numerous young male co-workers ask “oh, you headed to the cafe for lunch?” me: “no, the mothers room.” them: “the what? Er…nevermind” (cue awkward pause).
- If you feel a clog coming on, take 2-3 pills of this (will help thin out your milk) for a couple days and massage with a warm compress.
- KellyMom is my #1 source for all BF info. I also have my dear friend Lena (aka my boob guru) on speed dial.
Goodbye nursing bras and hello lace! Trying this new bra – I’m sure you’ve seen their instagram / FB ads. Excited!
PopSugar has an informational article worth reading. Let me know how your efforts with BF are going – no joke, it’s a really, really difficult thing to do!
Hat, Blanket & Liv’s dress, Monica & Andy
**As first seen on Rockette Women