Monday, February 25, 2013


Happy 6-month birthday to my little one!

And I've been successfully breastfeeding for 6 months! We've started solid foods now too, but I plan to [hopefully] continue also breastfeeding him up to at least a year.

I'm not going to talk about the benefits of breastfeeding, you can find that information many places. I'm going to talk about my personal experiences, trials and tribulations, and success!

It Will Be Hard, Then It Will Be Easy

One would think breastfeeding would come naturally. I grew up on a farm, I saw plenty of animals nurse their young, so how hard can it be for a human to do the same? But I soon learned that there is a learning-curve! I will admit, it was tough at first.

My son was born on a Saturday, and the hospital's lactation consultant only worked on weekdays, so we didn't get to visit with her until the day we were getting discharged. In the meantime, I had various nurses trying to help me, but they all had different ideas and none of them really helped much. I hate to admit it, but those first few days, I absolutely dreaded every time my son needed to eat! It would take us 30-45 minutes just to get a latch! It was frustrating and exhausting. It crossed my mind several times "so this is why so many people use formula!"

Once we mostly figured out the latch and were home from the hospital, it often took both my husband and I working together to feed the baby for the first week or so; my husband would hold my baby's hands so they weren't in the way, and I would have one hand on baby's head and one hand on my boob trying to put the two together. It was rough for the first couple weeks.

Good Things to Have

But we made it past those first couple weeks. And I promise, it does get easier! In fact, it's EASIER and MORE CONVENIENT than formula! (And cheaper too, since it's free!) I am so glad I don't have to warm up bottles in the middle of the night, or pack bottles in the diaper bag when we go out & about.

Myth: You Must Give Up Your Favorite Foods & Cannot Drink Caffeine or Alcohol

You don't need to avoid your favorite foods or drinks! This is a myth I heard a lot when I was pregnant, that while breastfeeding I wouldn't be able to eat broccoli, garlic, spicy food, have a glass of wine, etc.. There are some cases where the baby has an intolerance to something you eat, but this is not true for the majority. In fact, they say that if eat a wide variety of food when you are breastfeeding, it may help your child be more accepting of many different flavors of food as they grow up. I nurse my baby no matter what I eat (including after eating Indian, Ethiopian, Mexican, etc.), no problems!

You can have your morning coffee; most babies get along just fine when their moms drink some caffeine. And God knows in those first few weeks after we got home from the hospital, coffee was essential to me even being able to function at all!

And yes, you can even treat yourself to an occasional glass or wine or beer. I'm not condoning getting sh!tfaced every night, but it's okay to have alcohol in moderation while breastfeeding. The general rule of thumb is safe to drive = safe to nurse. I wait until right after nursing to drink any alcohol, so the alcohol has longer to metabolize out of my body before baby's next feeding.

Breastfeeding As A Working Mom

As much as I wish I could be a stay-at-home-mom, that isn't going to be happening any time soon. I took 12 weeks off of work when my son was born, then it was back to the grind. I'm fortunate that I work in a very pro-breastfeeding organization (a children's hospital). I pump twice a day at work so I have milk to send to daycare. I highly recommend getting an electric dual pump. I have the Medela Pump-In-Style Advanced (PISA) and I've been happy with it. And get a hands-free pumping bra so you can use your phone or read a magazine/book, else you will be bored out of your mind just sitting there holding the bottles while you pump!

Must-Haves for Working Moms:

Some great breastfeeding resources!

La Leche League
Breastfeeding Law

Future moms, I urge you to at least give breastfeeding a chance. Don't give up after a few days, give it at least a few weeks to see how it goes!

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