Each time I became pregnant my first thoughts always jumped to how I would be feeding the baby–Since that pretty much runs your life for the first few months. And each experience was totally different from the last. And knowing what I know now, if I had to go back and do it all over again I would remind myself to be incredibly flexible and do what was best for me. Because the mental health and sanity of the mama to a new baby means more than ANY thing else! And I love the catchy phrase, “Fed is best”. Ain’t nobody got time for any mom shaming. Mmmk?! I’d love to share a short recap of my experience breastfeeding all 4 of my kids including what tips I believe helped!
- Savannah (2012)- My first baby. I had zero expectations about whether I would nurse or bottle-feed her. All I knew is that I wanted to be a happy mom and needed to be flexible about all of it. I had no idea how to nurse and didn’t read anything to help prepare me for it. I didn’t even have a breast pump even though I planned to offer bottles. So, in those first few weeks I supplemented with formula if we were out or if I had just nursed and she seemed insatiable. By 6 weeks post partum, she screamed at my breast whenever it was time to nurse since the milk came out much easier and faster from a bottle. I was a little sad about it but I was totally fine to call it quits.
- Twins (2014)- OKAY. I didn’t forget how many bottles I had to wash to keep up with a newborn baby and I was not willing to do it all over again… times 2. HA! That was my driving reason to make nursing work for the twins. During the pregnancy, I read up on tips from veteran twin moms. The more I prepared the more confident I felt to tandem nurse. I delivered them right at 37 weeks and I breastfed them in the hospital. The nurse taught me how to use the hospital grade pump and my milk came in on day 4. I still had to supplement with formula after every nursing session. And I did that for a few months! I nursed each baby and then immediately handed them off to the hubs to be bottle fed while I pumped to stimulate more supply. It was an exhausting circus but nothing could stop me. I was not willing to make 20 bottles a day of formula. To increase my supply, I did Power Pumping: pumping every 15 minutes around the clock to stimulate supply. I took herbs to help my supply. I drank TONS of water. I ate oatmeal like it was a part time job. Early on, I put the twins on my breast as much as I could. It seriously never got easy in the first 6 months but I honestly loved it all. Ethan was a better nurser than Charlotte but she eventually caught up. My husband was so sweet and constantly reminded me that I should probably give up because it was so hard on me and took so much effort on my part. One night around 2am, I respond to his gentle nudging by saying (yelling?) to him that he better get behind me on this because I’m making it happen. He became a great support and I ended up breastfeeding Charlotte until she self-weaned at 14 months and then I weaned Ethan at 18 months. I was incredibly sad to part with that experience with them. For me, nothing was as intimate as nursing them. And watching them hold hands or giggle at each other while they tandem nursed was pretty much the cutest thing ever. It’ll forever be the sweetest moments I had with them (aside from birthing them!) as babies. Annnnd now I’m crying, let’s move on!
- Avery (2017)- Since I had such fond memories of nursing the twins, I was extra excited to nurse Avery. I ordered a PUMP through my insurance. I stocked my kitchen full of easy snacks and healthy-ish treats so I could easily keep up with the right kind of calories. My sister dropped off some yummy chocolate chip bran muffins for 2 weeks worth of quick breakfasts from my night stand. I also made sure to have Pink Stork Liquid Gold in my kitchen to help my milk supply keep up with baby girl. (You can find it at Target, Walmart, or Amazon) There’s nothing worse than having to rush to the store when baby’s fussing to search for herbs that will help your milk supply. Their Liquid Gold is an organic tea jam-packed with galactagogues, organic herbs that increase the supply and flow of mother’s milk. And the nutrients and herbs help relieve/prevent baby’s gas or colic. The marshmallow root makes it taste super yummy, I totally recommend it. I nursed Avery for 30 minutes as soon as she was born. We breastfed every 3 hours around the clock for the first month. Since that was going so well and because I didn’t want to deal with supply issues again I decided to not introduce bottles regularly. Unfortunately, now she won’t take a bottle. Ha! But since I’m trusting my supply, I’ll start pumping a bottle every evening and slowly introduce formula so that life can become a bit more flexible if I need to be away. But honestly, it’s been SO nice to not have to deal with a low supply like I experienced with the twins that I haven’t dreaded nursing her every few hours. After the first month, everything got much easier! No more nipple soreness, breast engorgement, questioning if my supply is enough, Avery unexplainably popping on and off in the middle of feedings, etc..And she started consistently sleeping through the night at 2 months, which helped the deep eye bags! All of our breastfeeding stars aligned after that first month. 🙂