As world breastfeeding week comes to a close I wanted to take a few moments to reflect on the last (3 days shy) year breastfeeding my little.
I’m not really shy about my love of the baby on the boob. Breastfeeding is amazing. I’m so in awe of what God designed our bodies to do. If you’re offended by that, you should stop reading now.
I knew when I was pregnant that I would do EVERYTHING in my power to nurse Maryn. In my mind, it wasn’t an option not to. I’m so glad that our BF journey was pretty smooth with a few hiccups along the way. I’d love to share some of my lessons learned along the way.
Hands down the best decision I made in my BF journey was pumping before delivery. I did this as a recommendation from my midwife to induce labor and in turn was rewarded with nipples of steel (not labor). That’s right, when Maryn arrived I had no chapping, chaffing, cracking, blistering, or bleeding. We quite literally hit the ground running. When we were in the hospital I was so grateful to have colostrum stored up from hours of “priming” as I called it. Michael ran home to get it from the freezer to feed to the tiny human. The medical staff was amazed and I kinda felt like super mom for that small moment in time. I’ll never forget when Maryn was released from NICU and I was finally able to nurse her for the first time the nurse asked me how many other kids I have. When I told her Maryn was my first she didn’t believe me. It was funny and sweet all at the same time. She assumed based on my comfort level nursing that Maryn wasn’t my first. There is zero doubt in my mind my level of comfort (physically and mentally) was because of pumping. Best advice I was ever given!
Nursing did have a few challenges. While my body was very well prepared, Maryn had to learn. I also had to be patient with her as she fell off of her latch a few times and we had to find a comfortable position for both of us. She’s a quick learner and has always loved the boob so she got the hang of it pretty quick.
I also struggled with dips in my supply and keeping up with the demand of a 9lb (at birth) rapidly growing little one. I went back to work WAY too early and had to pump every 2 hours which is not even the slightest bit enjoyable. It was really challenging, but not an option to me. I kinda didn’t care who gave me side eyes as I marched my happy ass to my private room to empty my ta-tas. Some days I came home with 18 oz and a feather in my cap, other days I came home with a measly 6 oz hung my head and cried as I dipped into my (very small) freezer supply.
While pumping itself was challenging I am grateful that I had (two) jobs that were flexible enough that I could maintain my supply to exclusively give Maryn mama milk up until now. She eats food too… but no formula or cows milk. I’m so proud of the sacrifices we’ve made to make that happen for our little one. My husbands sacrifice of scrubbing, sanitizing, and prepping ALL of Maryns bottles and my pumping parts every day can’t go unmentioned.
I’ve been using my pump for well over a year now and I’m finally happy to say that he is (for the most part) retired!!!! I’m proud to say that Maryn will continue to nurse until one (or both) of us decide time is up. I have no end goal as of now… we take it day by day!
As I think back on the last year I’m so grateful for the women in my life that set a great example for me. My mom played an integral role in my breastfeeding journey. She encouraged me and supported me throughout the last year. She also set a great example for me from a young age because I was exclusively breast fed! She’s a super mom and nursed me the entire time she was pregnant with my brother. Incredible!! I’m also grateful for the LC I worked closely with through some challenges. Maryn had some scary allergies from 7 weeks to about 5 months that caused her to poop blood. I’ll share more about this another time. But the LC I worked with guided me throughout that journey. I’m also grateful for the awesome medical team that helped us exclusively BF Maryn throughout her allergy spell. It’s incredible the amount of support these medical professionals supplied. I’m in awe!
I’ve had quite a few funny moments breastfeeding and pumping. Many of which I’ve already shared her (the pumping without bottles attached, the waitress that told me I had nice boobs) and a few other hilarious moments like the look truck drivers give me when they pass me on the highway, or the time a friend (male) didn’t realize I was nursing and totally embarrassed himself. I’m so glad this has been a positive experience. So many things with motherhoood are stressful, and scary, and full of unexpected challenges. While it’s been LOTS of sacrifice, LOTS of long exhausting sleepless nights, and a handful of exhausted breakdowns… this is one of my most proud accomplishments.
Happy world breastfeeding week! Wear that feather proud fellow mama, you’re superwoman!