My Breastfeeding Journey

My favorite Milk Snob cover

Feeding Reed at the Santa Monica Pier

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week and to celebrate Reed exclusively breastfeeding for 11 months I've decided to share my breastfeeding journey with you. I've been thinking about writing this for a long time now. This is something very personal but at the same time it's something that I feel should be celebrated and shared. If this information helps one single struggling nursing mom my mission will be accomplished.

I want to start my story off by letting you know that I was not able to breastfeed Ryan or Ryder longer than a month. Reed is my third baby and we just somehow found our groove and figured this all out together. I've heard professionals and experts say that every single baby can be breastfed but in my humble opinion that is just not the case. Ryan had a short stay in the NICU and while there he was bottle-fed which threw us off a bit. We never really got back on track and at a month my milk was completely gone. Ryder, oh my middle child Ryder, was born with a temper that has not wavered one day in his three years of life. He latched on perfectly as soon as he was born and never wanted to let go. He wouldn't latch CORRECTLY and then that just led to a struggle each feeding that was hurting me and not providing enough milk for him. I tried so hard but his weight kept dropping and the only time he would sleep was after we fed him formula. I beat myself up for months after I stopped breastfeeding him but that's my main reason for sharing my story with you. If you are struggling and trying your hardest you are already doing a great job. Sometimes it just doesn't work out the way everyone around insists that it will. Also, my formula fed babies are healthy, intelligent and HAPPY. This post is completely dedicated to providing information that has helped me in my journey in the hopes that it will help someone out there. It is not in any way meant to make anyone feel like breastfeeding is the only way to go. Sometimes it just does not work out that way.

As I've shared before, Reed was born with a lymphatic malformation so when he was born he was only with me for the golden hour after birth before he was taken to the NICU. As soon as I was able to stand I headed down to the NICU to try to breastfeed him because I was determined to do everything I could to keep him healthy. To my surprise he latched right on like we had never skipped a beat. He is a calm baby and I do believe that has helped us on this long tough journey. So if you are a NICU mommy do not lose hope!

Below I will share the most important things that I've learned along the way and also some breastfeeding essentials that have really helped me out.

1. A proper latch is crucial. Your baby will not latch on perfectly at first but the more you feed the more you will learn how to help him/her open their mouth wide enough to get a proper latch.

2.  This  Lansinoh Lanolin Cream is great and I could not have survived without it. I used it for months. You can apply it before and after every feeding because it safe for baby. It really helps with nipple soreness and prevents nipple cracking.

3. Get comfortable! Find a comfortable spot to feed at because you will practically live there for the first couple of months. I used a glider in the beginning when Reed was tiny but as he grew I felt it was easier to feed him in bed. Most importantly, get this nursing pillow because I still till this day could not feed Reed without it. It provides a ton of back support and the part that the baby lays on really helps when you are trying to position the baby correctly. My friend told me about this pillow because the lactation consultant she was seeing recommended it and I am so grateful she passed down this information to me. Now I want to share it with you.

4. These nursing bras are affordable, comfortable and do the trick. Besides the nursing bras you will need button down tops. I manage to wear all types of tops now but at the beginning button down tops were all I wore.

5. I started taking these Liquid Vegetarian Capsules the day I had Reed to help with milk supply and they did the trick. I continued to take them regularly for about a month and then I would just take them any time I felt like my milk supply was low. I think my husband bought them at Whole Foods but you can always buy them online.

6. Your pediatrician should recommend that your baby be given a Vitamin D3 supplement if he/she is breastfeed. I purchased these Vitamin D3 drops from UpSpringBaby because they are all natural, gluten free and non GMO. I've never had a hard time giving them to Reed and he does not seem to mind the taste. UpSpringBaby has a wide variety of essentials for mommy and baby. They also have breastfeeding supplements (check them out here), really comfortable postpartum girdles and all kinds of vitamins and supplements for mom, baby and child.

7. Feeding in public takes some practice. Start off by buying a cover like these nursing covers from Milk Snob. I own a few of these and have even bought them for friends. I could not have learned to how to feed in public comfortably without a good cover. Be patient with yourself because this takes time to get used to. Also, shout out to my husband because he was and is super supportive when I have to feed Reed while we are out. He does anything he can to make sure we are both comfortable.

Overall know that breastfeeding is not easy but is super beneficial to you and your baby. My recovery this time around was easier, Reed is super healthy and rarely gets sick and once you get the hang of it you will love how easy it is to feed your baby no matter where you are.

I am far from being an expert but I'm 11 months in so I must be doing something right. Right? I have yet to learn what happens next. How will this journey end? Will Reed just stop one day? How will I know when to stop? So many questions I still have and if you have the answers please feel free to help a sister out!  Like always, I hope the information I am sharing is helpful and please do not hesitate to reach out to me with questions.

You got this mama!

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