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My Breastfeeding Journey

February 18, 2019 Lex Daddio

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Good Morning! Let’s talk about breastfeeding, which I feel like can be a sensitive subject but I don’t want it to be. I understand everyone has their opinions, situations, & decisions. Some people choose to breastfeed, some choose not to. Some choose to do it for a long time, some choose to do it for a shorter time. Some moms have a hard time producing milk, some don’t. You get the point, but the most important thing to do is make sure your baby is fed. Whether that’s your breastmilk or formula. You choose. Every family has the right to choose what will work best for them and no one should judge their decision. Unfortunately that’s not always the case, but this place is a no judgment zone, so you’re safe here 🙂

I’m currently still breastfeeding T, and it’s worked well for our family and I’m super grateful. I’m thankful to have a high supply, and honestly it’s just cheaper which is a great benefit. I did have a low supply at one point, but I did some things to help boost it and it actually worked so I’ll share more of what I did below. But if you’re a mama and you’ve breastfed, you can relate that it feels like a full time job. Especially at first. You pretty much feel like a milk machine and like all you’re doing is feeding your baby or yourself. I didn’t realize how much my appetite would increase. At the beginning, I’d get lightheaded if I wasn’t eating a lot and very often. It was crazy and it felt like nothing would fill me up. I felt like it was going to last forever, but thankfully that subsided, because honestly it was exhausting. I still eat a lot haha, but I don’t feel so ravenous anymore.

So let’s talk about breastfeeding from the start. Thankfully, T latched really well right from the start and caught on quickly. He’s definitely our kid, because he loves his food. At first we were nursing like 12-18 times in 24 hours. It was exhausting & draining but it worked and I knew it wouldn’t be like that forever. Side note: we always changed his diaper after eating during the day to keep him awake and before eating at night so he could nurse himself to sleep. Someone else had given me this advice and I really think it helped him sleep through the night sooner! It’s worth a try if you’re trying to get your baby to sleep.

I remember when he stretched out to eating every 3 hours and slowly decreased the eating at night. It was a whole new world, and it all happened pretty fast. Even though when you’re in the thick of it you’re like what the heck. Is it going to be like this forever? It doesn’t feel that fast haha. Then, I remember when we finally got down to like 5 feeds a day and it felt AMAZING. Like I had all this time in the world to do things other than feed T.  Now, (happened around 6.5 months) we officially dropped to 4 times a day. Game changer. I felt like the 5 feedings a day lasted for awhile, but now that we’re down to 4 it feels so good. I feel human again haha. He always eats pretty quickly, because my milk comes out fast, which is so nice!

We started started incorporating food around 6 months, and we’ve been trying baby-led weaning. I was honestly so scared of this at first, and had people that thought I was crazy and I felt insecure about it for a little. Even Thomas said, and I quote, that it was “the dumbest thing he’s ever heard.” But as we’ve dove deeper into it, it’s been the coolest thing ever and we’ve all really enjoyed it! I’m thankful I stuck to my intuition and kept going with it! If you’ve never heard of it, it’s basically skipping purees and diving right into real whole foods. You basically let you baby feed themselves, and they eat what you eat. I was so scared of him gagging or choking, but T’s been amazing. I have my whole journey with it under my highlights: “T’s eats”. I’m also thinking about doing a whole post on our journey with what he’s eaten and recipes, etc!

But let’s get back to breastfeeding. So even though he’s eating real food, he’s still breastfeeding. I’m not really sure how many ounces he’s getting every time he eats, but when we give him a bottle we usually do 9oz and he’ll either suck it down or leave a little left. He’s still learning that the food will actually fill his belly up and we don’t always do 3 meals a day. My goal is to get there by 9 months. So for now, he’s still getting his main nutrition from my milk.

I did have a time where my supply was actually low, and it stressed me out. He was crying a lot when he was eating and I wasn’t pumping very much when I would pump and we almost changed to formula. I was topping off his feeds with milk I had frozen in the freezer. We were also about to leave town for 3 days and we were leaving him with Thomas’ parents. I was stressing out, because I didn’t have enough milk frozen and I didn’t know what I was going to do. I had like 2.5 weeks to figure it out and see if I could start producing more. We were okay to move to formula, but I knew there were some things that I could try to help boost my supply so I figured I might as well challenge myself to do it and if it didn’t work we’d move to formula.

Here are the things I did:

Exercise Break– I actually took a break from exercise and focused only on walks. I know it’s probably not what you want to hear, but I’m telling you it helped A LOT. I found when I did weights or went to barre my supply would be lower. So walks only! Or light yoga. This also helped decrease stress, because when you’re stressed it can affect your supply as well. So walks were a lifesaver.

All the Fluids– I focused on drinking a lot more. I drank water mainly and added in coconut water, hot teas (I used lactation tea too), and cold-pressed juices (we love Suja). Breastfeeding can make you dehydrated so you want to make sure you’re staying hydrated and more to keep the fluids flowing!

Pump, Pump, Pump– I pumped WAY more often. So I was making sure I would wake up around 5:30am in the morning and I’d pump for like 8-10 minutes to get my body to think that I was feeding at that time. I actually still do this, but now pump closer to 4-5 min, just to keep a stock in the freezer. There’s enough time between that and 8am when T eats in the morning. The more my body thinks it needs to produce, the more it will. Supply & demand. As long as you’re doing other things to help it produce too. I would also pump every time after he ate too. Even if nothing came out, because this would teach my body that he was still eating and needed more milk. It was exhausting, I’m going to be completely honest. It also wasn’t fun, but I really wanted to see if I could boost my supply.

Nursing Vacation– I didn’t do this exactly, but a friend suggested this to me. Basically you feed your baby more often or let them nurse a little more to help stimulate your body to produce more. It was actually around the time T was teething anyway so I did end up feeding him a little more often. Bonus points if it’s skin-to-skin, because that helps your hormones feel all happy and make more.

Eat Enough– I made sure I was eating enough. This is super important. It can be so hard, because I know mama’s want to “lose the baby weight”, but truly if you cut calories, you cut milk. It’s actually proven so I made sure I was eating enough and snacking when I needed to keep my milk up. It was actually helpful because it was around Thanksgiving haha so it worked out! I made to include lots of good quality protein, healthy fats, good carbs, and fruits/ veggies! Here’s also a list of foods that are supposed to be helpful for your supply that I think helped me!

  • Oatmeal

  • Almonds

  • Spinach

  • Salmon

  • Sweet potatoes

  • Carrots

  • Dark leafy greens

  • Flaxseeds

  • Fenugreek

  • Fennel

  • Brewers Yeast

  • Dark beer (stout)

  • LoveMajka protein powder & lactation bites- their protein is super delish & made by mamas. It has great ingredients and is a great way to get in protein. I add it to smoothies, overnight oats, whatever you want! Their little snack bites are super convenient too, when you need something small! You can also use the code lex20 for 20% off on your order!

  • OatMama bars & their lactation tea- Their bars are delicious. I love love love them. & their tea is super tasty especially with some local honey.

  • Date & Oat Lactation Energy Bites–  I made these and they’re SO good. They definitely are for anyone, not just nursing mamas. Tasty little snack! She also has other recipes and lots of info about motherhood on her blog!

  • There’s also so many lactation recipes out there if you google them!

Here’s another great blog post about lactation! I love Wellness Mama and she has a lot of great blog posts on all things motherhood. Some of it is a little intense for me, but I just take away what seems like it would be good for our family. I hope all of this is helpful if you’re breastfeeding, want to increase your supply, or know anyone that’s struggling. Remember, if you’re not breastfeeding or can’t, there is NOTHING wrong with that! You are an amazing mama and doing what’s best for your baby! As long as that little one is fed is all that matters!

Xoxo,

Lex

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