Sunday, January 30, 2011

Owning My Story

I am a HUGE couponer. Like, pick another lane if you are behind me...LOL! Not really, I will go through several times, getting behind you, rather than make you stay behind me for my multiple transaction...but yes, one of those who goes in and saves between 60-80% on my groceries. One site I love to follow to help me find good deals is A Thrifty Mom. She is a local gal so the matchups she gets pertain to me. She does half my work for me.
Well, she went to a Blogger Conference this week! Yep, they have them. Not only did she go to was in the Opryland Hotel in Nashville. If you have never been there- it is HUGE and GORGEOUS! I won a trip to the CMT Music Awards in 2009 and while I didn't stay there, my friend and I went and visited lost in the MASSIVE COMMUNITY that is the Opryland Hotel.
Anyways, she took a class that had a keynote speaker, Brene Brown. A few of the quotes from Brene Brown stuck with Sarah over at A Thrifty Mom so much that she hared them on her site. Well, a few of them stuck with me too.
The first one:
” Those who’s opinions really matter, are the people who love you despite your struggles or success”
This quote rings true for everything in life. However, it really rings true for those of us who are moms, and those of us who breastfeed. As I announced that I was going to begin weaning Lil Man I really worried about the opinions of people I knew. However, if they are not going to support me, understand, and love me...then it doesn't matter what they think. If someone truly understands what I have gone through with supply, they will support and love me. I know so many women, many who may read this, that think supply issues are all in someone's head. To be quite honest....I myself believe that many times they are not real. However, there are those who have a real struggle with supply. Those who suffer from things like PCOS, thyroid issues, and more will often struggle with supply.

Another quote that Sarah shared from this speaker is this:

” I have the right to  create my own space, and create my community”
With everything that has happened on The Leaky Boob lately....this is something I feel that Jessica- creator of The Leaky Boob, deserves to hear.

And finally, the last two quotes go together and are the ones that meant the most to me:

” Owning your story, and loving ourselves though out that process is the bravest thing you will ever do”
” Who has earned the right to hear your story?”
I have suffered a lot of guilt, regret, and sadness through my nursing journey. This blog is more a therapeutic outlet for me then to benefit anybody else. I have never shared this with ANYBODY, not even Hubby, but in the beginning, I went through times of hating myself and my body because I was not able to exclusively breastfeed. I felt broken. Something that comes so easily, or at least amply (is that a real word?), to many moms, did not come that way to me. LCs were not much help, other than support. My OB could only do so much. Family didn't understand, as well as many friends. Something that was "Simply supply and demand" was not so simple for me. While I loved being a new mom, I hated that I could not be the mom I thought I should be. I had dreamed of a baby who never took a bottle, didn't use a pacifier, and would breastfeed and have that milk drunk look. When that didn't happen, I felt that I was somehow less of a woman....which took me back to my days struggling with infertility. Infertility was a story that I shared openly and owned...yet, my struggles with breastfeeding, I would share, but not in the same way. I kept parts of it hidden, ashamed. Even the best of friends and closest family did not understand what I was going through. Comments about smelly formula diapers, how I just needed to let Lil Man go without supplementing and not worry about his weight loss, and finally....the worst....just switch to formula since you aren't willing to exclusively breastfeed stung.
Well, I am ready to really own my story. I mean REALLY OWN IT! Not the shortened, sweet, oh, I wish this and that would have happened...but really tell it all. So, I will be doing it! Since it will most likely be long- I will probably tell it in parts...but yes, I will be telling my story.
So, who has earned the right to hear my story? Anybody who is wanting to understand the struggles that effect breastfeeding moms. Those who want to push for better breastfeeding education. Those who want to look at the big picture of how small things can harm many breastfeeding relationships. Those who need support as they struggle with their own breastfeeding relationship. Those are the people who have earned the right to hear my story.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

When It Comes To Parenting Styles/Choices

Recent events on a few parenting sites, and The Leaky BOOBs facebook page, makes me feel it is important to address how we share our parenting choices.
I have found myself much more on the side of attachment parenting (AP) or "gentle" parenting then I ever thought I would be. That said, I do have 2 choices I have made as a parent that are not on the AP side of parenting. Circumcision and Vaccination.
When it comes to Vaccination- I truly believe that each person MUST make a choice that is best for their own family. In my case- I go to church weekly, and other social settings, where my son is in contact or close vicinity to many people. Places where many often come, even when sick, and should be home. I also suffer some anxiety, and that adds to the reason why I vaccinate. I researched A LOT on vaccination, read both sides of the argument. That said, I chose a pediatrician who has several vaccination schedules. My son- who is combo fed with both breastmilk and formula, has a different schedule then a strictly formula fed baby, or a strictly breastfed baby. Family allergies are taken into account. Also, my son is not receiving extras such as the flu shot. This was a personal choice made after careful consideration. I understand the decision to delay, selective vax. I believe that each vaccine you child receives, a parent should research and decide if it is right for your child, not just vaccinations as a whole.
The other decision, circumcision. I really talked to my husband about this decision and left it up to him. Again, I knew both sides of the argument. However, one thing I also knew, is how a uncircumcised male felt. Not Hubby, but a high school boyfriend. Even though we did not engage in sexual activity, he once confided in me that his parents had not circumcised him. He explained how he was embarrassed by this, nervous for when he did engage in sexual activity, and much more. My husband had a point of view as the boy who was circumcised and as a 3rd grader, used the bathroom next to a boy who was not. He remembered the boy being embarrassed about it. In the end, we decided to circumcise our son. I know the argument that they can choose to have it done as an adult, but let us be honest- no man is going to purposely inflict that kind of "pain" on himself. Look how many are opposed to being sterilized because it makes them shudder. Also, the research on the amount of pain a baby feels, compares to an adult. I know, there is "research" on both sides...but I can now say from personal experience- my son only cried for a few moments, I nursed him, and he never cried after that. I also understand the effect it has for breastfeeding. This is why my son's circ was not done in the hospital, but a few weeks after his birth. That said, again, I understand the point of view of leaving a boy intact.
The point of this is not where I stand, or what side is right or wrong. The point of this post is that, had someone called me names, harassed me, or "forced" their beliefs on these matters on me, it would not have swayed me to their side. In fact, it would have made me stronger in my belief that what I was doing is right...and in all honesty, may have detoured me from all aspects of AP parenting.
Luckily, that did not happen to me. Yet, on TLB page, in parenting forums, and more- it has started happening a lot in recent days. Whether it be about Breastfeeding, Crying It Out, Cloth Diapering, or the things I mentioned above...we need to be tactful and RESPECTFUL when sharing our parenting views. We also need to remember that everybody has the right to make the decision that is best for their family. It may be different then yours, but it is their right. Calling people abusers, because they chose to circumcise, or neglectful, because they use CIO, is not respectful and is more likely to harm your point of view on the matter than gentle education or opinion.
The last thing I would like to touch on is this... There is a lot of "information" available, especially with the internet. Be it how to start solids, how much a child should be eating, can find several "rules" that should be followed. The truth is though, that every parent and every child is different. What works for one child may not work for another. During the time that Lil Man was not gaining, and even losing, weight- I became obsessed with his intake. Weighing him before and after each feeding, tracking the amount and frequency of his intake. Around 4 months of age though he was not fitting the "requirements" that I had researched and seen online. I worried a little. At his 6 month appointment I expressed my concerns to his pediatrician. Lil Man was only taking in 20 oz a day. Everywhere said he should be getting at least 24 oz- maybe even more since he was combo fed. The pediatrician looked at me and said "Your son is perfectly proportionate. If he were to eat any more than he is now, he would probably be overweight for his height. There is no such thing as a "rule" when it comes to babies. They are as individual as adults and sometimes we forget that." So considering the debate on solids at 4 months or wait until 6 months, how much a child should eat until what age, and more....remember, all the research in the world does not mean that is how YOUR child should eat...or someone else's child.
The point is, there is a difference between information and education. Information paints a picture of black and white. This is how it should be- period. Education is learning how to take the information, and apply it as needed to your life, making the decisions that are best for you and your family.


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Just A Small Laugh!

I am a part of a popular parenting site and have joined a small, private group on that site of moms who all had babies close to the same time Lil Man was born. One of the gals on the site shared this story, and has given me permission to post it here. Finding humor in everyday moments is really important when you are new parents.

As a first time parent of a newborn, I have learned that intimate moments with your spouse are few and far between.  When one of those rare moments should arise, grab a hold of it with both hands and do not let go.  One very early morning, I woke to the stirring caresses of my husband’s knowing hands.  My mind quickly responded to each touch, but my post partum body refused to participate in the familiar dance.  I reached into the nightstand drawer to get the assistance of our newest companion, personal lubricant.  I deftly squeezed out the necessary amount, but then, realized something was not right.  Being careful not to wake the baby, my husband used the light of his cell phone to inspect what was wrong.  Imagine my utter shock to find that I did not hold a tube of lubricant, but rather my son’s diaper rash cream.  When I realized what I almost had the misfortune of doing, I fell into a fit of hysterical laughter and woke the baby.  My dear sweet husband coaxed our son back to sleep while I left our bedroom to gain some semblance of control of myself.  My husband soon joined me, and we continued our little escapade from the pre-dawn hours.  Let me share that I no longer store baby supplies in my nightstand drawer!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Thoughts On Weaning

Weaning has been on my mind a lot lately. Not just weaning of Lil Man, but weaning in general. It has come to my mind as Lil Man has begun to decrease his nursing sessions as he has recently become so mobile that he can't be bothered to stop and breastfeed. It is sad, but because of the slippery slope of supplementing, Lil Man has the knowledge that bottles are not only easier and faster, but more portable than Mommy. Nursing during the day is a joke to him, except maybe on a good day, right after he wakes from a nap. I do pump, and give him what I can in a bottle, but, I am one of those women who suffers great anxiety when it comes to pumping, and that effects my output. It has led to an increase in formula, but more in solids. Which, I suppose is good, but it still saddens me.
Luckily, night nursing is still going smoothly. I hope that continues until he is a year old, although maybe slowing down in frequency in a few months would be nice.

The other reason weaning has been on my mind, is I have recently discovered that the normal in this country is to wean at age one. I already "knew" this, but I discovered even in my culture (aka religion) where breastfeeding is the normal path a mother takes- most women still wean their child at 12 or 13 months of age. In a way, I understand, you have now given nearly 2 years of your body to this child- once you account for both pregnancy and breastfeeding- and you are ready to feel like you have a little more freedom. At the same time, I feel that we have forgotten so many of the benefits of nursing past a year. Or maybe we feel those benefits are minimal.
I also understand breastfeeding is a real chore for some women. I really do. Not everyone loves breastfeeding. Even some of the most passionate advocates have stated that breastfeeding is actually not something they enjoy but that they do for the benefit of their children. I sometimes feel it is a chore as well. I don't love breastfeeding 100% of the time. Especially during the rough developmental phases where distraction sets in. I really do understand it.
I also though, think that often times, women let one rough day be the day they decide to quit. I often think to myself, will I be happy with this decision in a few weeks? So often, the answer has been NO, I will not. It has kept me going. So has a supportive husband, friends, and other breastfeeding blogs.
I look back, as Lil Man is now 8 months of age, and think of those first 6-8 weeks. I felt like they would never pass. In all reality, they were so short I don't even remember the heartache I felt during that time. Yet, so many moms choose to quit during it. I hope that with the Surgeon General's new Call to Action that more will choose to continue.
I also feel we need to give women a more realistic expectation of breastfeeding. Women need to understand that breastfeeding may be painful at first, latch takes work, your child may eat all the time at first, and that there will be lots of rough patches, even after the first 6-8 weeks (biting, distractions, etc). I think, in order to help women choose to breastfeed, we have almost sugar-coated it. We make it out to be this natural and beautiful bonding experience (which it is) that has no down side, hard times, or hurdles to overcome (which it isn't). I feel this is where education steers women wrong. Breastfeeding classes do well to focus on the benefits, how to position the baby, and what latch should look like. They don't talk about the common problems, that babies can be attached to you 24 hours a day, and that everything- even latch- is something that must be learned by both mother and child. You are never taught ways to help increase your supply during dips, that biting may happen, but you can teach a child nursing manners to stop it. If women had a more realistic expectation, maybe less would wean during the first rough phase they hit.

With all that said, It is with a very heavy heart that I announce that I, myself, am going to begin to wean Lil Man- for daytime only. He will continue to be combo fed, hopefully until a year of age, but his daytime nourishment will slowly be moved to only solids and formula.
This has not been an easy decision for me to make. I have spent weeks thinking about this, praying about it, and soul searching. The last week has been spent in tears as I watched my supply dwindle as I have had to move to pumping so much. I have sought advice from good friends, one who is a strong advocate, as passionate, if not more, than I am. Another, who suffered many of the same issues I have, and was inspired to wean her little girl (and it ended up being for the best when her little girl suffered an injury that would have made nursing extremely painful).
This decision came after I realized that I could no longer constantly fight to increase my supply. The thought of going back on fenugreek sickened me (and Lil Man no longer likes the taste of my milk when I take it). Pumping after feedings, or more often during the day, sent me into either depression or a panic attack. I was constantly stressing over how much milk was I going to get for each session. Lil Man will not even come to the breast if he is remotely interested in anything else. The fact that he can not only crawl, but is starting to walk, has made it even harder to get him to pause. The day I finally realized it is time to take this step towards weaning was when I realized that the stress of keeping up my supply was effecting me being a good mother to my son. I will always say that it is worse to have a miserable mother, who is depressed and withdrawn from their child, then to have a formula fed baby.
The range of emotions I have felt over this decision has surprised me. This blog, is one reason I felt I could not wean. I felt like I needed to continue, just for this blog. I have been so open with my breastfeeding- I feel I need to be open about weaning. I also felt I could not wean, because I have often felt anger, or jealousy, towards mothers who wean their child when they have no supply issues, and simply do not want to breastfeed, or they just don't want to take the time to get through a short phase of biting, constant nursing, or such. I thought how I am a hypocrite for this. The truth is, I still feel that way when a mother is able to easily provide enough nourishment and has no supply issues. It is still her right to wean though.
I have also felt like I am failing. I look at myself and say "If I can't continue combo-feeding until 12 months and beyond, how do I ever expect to successfully, exclusively, breastfeed my next child." The truth is, combo feeding is hard work. It also has downfalls where a child realizes that a bottle is easier, faster, and portable and Mommy is not. More so then a baby who is breastfed and may get bottles of expressed milk here and there- because they get them DAILY.  The task of the mother, constantly having to worry about supply takes its toll on a mom who already feels guilty about giving her child formula. IT IS HARD WORK TO COMBO FEED. I look back now and realize that I have gone a lot farther than most combo feeders have and I should be proud of what I have done.
Again, I am not completely weaning. Lil Man still gets about 1/3 of his nourishment from his night time nursing sessions. I will continue these at least for a few more months. I plan, around 10 months of age, to help encourage him to sleep a little longer between nursing sessions at night, but hopefully he will not wean at night until at least 12 months of age. I will also continue to nurse him first thing in the morning, for as long as he wants, and if he wakes up after a nap, wanting to nurse, I will not deny him at this point.
You are probably saying, well, then- she really is not weaning. I get it, yeah. I am not cutting him off completely (which, in my opinion is not weaning- it is cutting a child off/denying-weaning means to do it slowly). But, I am no longer going to stress to increase my supply, pumping sessions will decrease over the next month, and I am going to let Lil Man decide if he wants to take the time to nurse during the day. If he prefers a bottle, I will give it to him. I am letting him lead the way, but I am not going to do "extra" at this point.
I pray that others will understand my decision. I did not make this decision on a rough day. I made it over a period of time. I also know that I am armed with much more knowledge now, and hope to exclusively breastfeed all of my future children.



Tuesday, January 18, 2011


I think we need to do a GIVE AWAY!!!!!
SO- I am going to give away a $25 Gift Card to Babies R Us!!!!!
You don't have to be a breastfeeding mom to enter. Here are 3 ways to enter:

*Like* My Breast Thoughts Blog on facebook and leave a comment saying how you support breastfeeding.

Follow us using Google Friend connect and then leave a comment on this post telling us how you would spend the gift certificate.

And FINALLY- refer people to the FB page and have them leave a comment with your name. Each person you refer will give you an extra entry.

GOOD LUCK! The winner will be randomly selected on February 1, 2011. Contest Ends January 31st at 9 pm MST.

***Comments are moderated, I will approve comments as fast as possible***

Friday, January 14, 2011

Lil Man Has A Gift

I never used to believe in "psychics." I believe people could have intuition, gut feelings, and lucky guesses- but never psychic.
However, I am starting to rethink that belief. I believe my son is psychic. Yes, my son has an amazing gift to sense things.
Just the other day, Hubby and I had put Lil Man down for the night. We cuddled up on the couch and as we got a little cozy, we thought to head to the bedroom for a little "mommy and daddy time." After all, this time is much more rare since Lil Man has been going through some reverse cycling with his nursing schedule. We thought we should hop on the opportunity before he woke at his usual 1-2 hour interval to top off for the night.
As we made our way to the room, sharing a few kisses, my son must have started to have a "vision" of some sort. He awoke screaming for food. A quick feeding, and we put him back to bed. Hubby- anxious to continue our little adventure, tried to persuade me with a back rub. I decided to wait a few minutes before agreeing. Partially because the back rub felt wonderful, and partially to ensure Lil Man was soundly sleeping this time.
Again, we headed to our previous destination. Another vision came to Lil Man. It was as if he knew what was happening and in his mind went "Mommy and Daddy are wanting to have some fun, start screaming in 3,2,1...."
Yet, that is not the only instance where he has shown his psychic abilities to me. Many nights he has been able to tell the moment I lay my head down to go to sleep. Be it an hour after he is in bed, or five minutes, he knows the second my head hits that pillow. He begins to cry and scream to either be comforted back to sleep or fed.
I am quite intrigued with his capability, while Hubby is quite irritated when it interrupts his fun. I must admit, I find the timing of his visions quite troublesome as well. It has led to many sleepless nights, a intimacy-deprived Mommy and Daddy, and a mom who worries if her son will one day "See dead people."
I try and take it all in stride, enjoying most moments, but as you may be able to tell by the time of this post....tonight it has just led to a sleepless night.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Thoughts on Weaning

This poem was shared on The Leaky Boob's facebook page. I have been having a huge supply dip, Lil Man is fighting daytime nursing sessions still, and I am struggling with winter depression (SADs) while breastfeeding. I have been getting depressed thinking weaning may be in the near future-specifically for health reasons. I read this and it really meant a lot to me.

Wean Me Gently
by Cathy Cardall
I know I look so big to you,
Maybe I seem too big for the needs I have.

But no matter how big we get,

We still have needs that are important to us.

I know that our relationship is growing and changing,

But I still need you. I need your warmth and closeness,

Especially at the end of the day

When we snuggle up in bed.

Please don't get too busy for us to nurse.

I know you think I can be patient,

Or find something to take the place of a nursing;

A book, a glass of something,

But nothing can take your place when I need you.

Sometimes just cuddling with you,

Having you near me is enough.

I guess I am growing and becoming independent,

But please be there.

This bond we have is so strong and so important to me,

Please don't break it abruptly.

Wean me gently,

Because I am your mother,

And my heart is tender.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Right On Mama

I have a New Years Resolution to live healthier. In doing this, I have started joining a friend and walking around the mall every afternoon, Mon-Thurs while her oldest is in school. We push our little ones in strollers, or wear them in carriers. I will admit it is normally the stroller since we are there for 2+ hours.
Since with travel time I am normally away for 3 hours or more, there is usually a need to breastfeed Lil Man during this time. Today, when that need arose, I decided to search out a bench to settle in and get comfortable. With Lil Man being easily distracted I was gravitating towards a quite bench, away from the flow of the main stores, near a barely used entrance. However, I remembered that I had made a decision to nurse in public, and felt it was especially important at this mall, where I have only ever one time seen a baby being breastfed- and it was by my best friend 4 years ago. Also, the fact that I had seen several small babies with their mothers in the mall made me want to do this even more. I wanted to send a message that breastfeeding in general, but even more so in public, is something you should not have to do in a back corner of the mall near the cold air coming in through an entrance.
With my renewed sense of my personal duty to breastfeed in public, I found a bench next to the escalator that leads to the food court. Plenty of foot traffic that would see me, yet slightly away from the path traveled by most- hopefully far enough to let Lil Man focus on eating. His eagerness to explore has made him easily distracted in recent weeks. Not just from site (as I use a cover to help with this) but with sound.
As I sat there, breastfeeding Lil Man, a slightly older gentleman, who appeared to be *crunchy* in nature (some may use the term Hippie) passed by. He smiled at me, flashed a peace sign and said "Right on Mama!"
"Right On Mama!" I sat there, nursing my son, and could not help but smile. Right on Mama echoed in my mind. Yes- Right On! I felt like he had not only said this statement to me, but to breastfeeding mothers everywhere-
So I just want to say to those who breastfeed, have breastfed, and those who plan to breastfeed "Right On Mama!" Right on for providing such wonderful nourishment to your little one. Right on for nursing in public and setting an example. Right on for being so selfless and to give of your sleep, mobility, and any other personal indulgence that you give up to nurse your child. Right on for sticking up for breastfeeding pages like The Leaky B@@B on facebook.
Keep up the good work. Share the love of breastfeeding. Help others to realize that breastfeeding is natural and beautiful. Help others to understand the many benefits to both mom and baby when a mother chooses to breastfeed. Every time you stand up for breastfeeding, nurse in public, or encourage a mother to breastfeed- remember to tell yourself "Right On Mama!"

The Leaky B@@B is back on FB

WOOHOO!!!! Thousands of people showed support and The Leaky B@@B is BACK on Facebook!
Hopefully sites like facebook will start to realize that breasts serve a true, functional purpose and allow images of breastfeeding to be shown without the threat of having your account removed.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Lending Support To The Leaky B@@B

A very inspiring breastfeeding blog- The Leaky B@@B - had their facebook page removed recently because of "indecent" pictures. It is rediculous that a woman can take pictures that are sexual in nature, showing cleavage, and a lot more, yet a picture of a baby LATCHED on to their mothers breast eating is deemed offensive and gets a page shut down!
It just goes to show how our culture as sexualized the breast and forgotten that they have a purpose- to nourish our young.
Please- go to the facebook pages below to show your support for this great blog.!/pages/Bring-back-The-Leaky-Boob/185706648121870


Take A Look At This Post

Since I brought up swaddling and breastfeeding, I wanted to share this article. She links studies that talk about the negative effects of swaddling on breastfeeding. As I said before, there are some cases where swaddling is necessary and productive to breastfeeding, but in general, it is something that should be carefully considered.

What Advice Would I Give?

I have been very open in the fact that I believe lack of proper education and support played a major role in my failure to establish an adequate milk supply. During a conversation with a friend, she asked me- "If you could give out 10 points to help successfully breastfeed, what would they be?"
"Only ten?" I replied. She laughed! But really, I don't think I can narrow it down to just 10, but I am going to try. So here are my main words of advice. Please remember, these are based on my personal experience and experiences of friends. Every baby is different so I go off of what I have noticed in the majority of breastfeeding relationships.
  1. Understand that latch is not an automatic thing. - When I took the breastfeeding class, they spoke a lot about latch, they never explained that it could take weeks for a baby to start latching well on his/her own. I have heard numerous moms say "I tried breastfeeding, but my baby had a bad latch so I had to stop before my milk even came in." Also, this is still latch related so it counts under the same number, try not to worry too much about the latch. Breastfeeding will hurt a little in the beginning (for most women) even with a perfect latch. The important thing is that the pain is not intense, it does stop after a few weeks, the milk is flowing, and both you and your baby are comfortable. Sometimes we think to much about "The Latch."
  2. Do not swaddle your baby- I know what you are thinking- WHAT does swaddling have to do with breastfeeding? Swaddling makes your baby sleepy, therefore, they do not nurse as well, they sleep longer than they are designed to, so they do not demand food as often (which effects supply), and swaddling during nursing often makes for a baby that falls asleep before he/she is full. The exception- a baby like our guest blogger had for her first- where the reflux and other physical issues make it so stressful to breastfeed that it is better to go ahead and swaddle your baby.
  3. Do not give a pacifier for at least 4 weeks, preferably 2 months- Everyone has heard this, but they have heard the following reason- nipple confusion. I have another reason- it can hurt your supply. The first few days to months, it is important that you nurse on demand and frequently in order to build up your supply. Not only does a pacifier take away the times when your baby may have been willing to nurse for comfort, a hungry baby may also settle for a pacifier at times. Either way, it is time your little one is not on your breast, which in turn can effect your supply, especially in the early days and weeks.
  4. Do not have a lot of visitors in the hospital or at your home for the first few weeks- Breastfeeding is hard work, awkward in the beginning, and both you and your baby need to be relaxed. When you have a lot of visitors, especially ones you are not comfortable showing your breasts too, you may tend to push off feedings, give a bottle in place of a nursing session, or rush your little one to finish before they are full. This again may effect your supply, your baby's willingness to breastfeed, and more.
  5. Understand When Supplementing is Needed- This is my biggest thing. When I was discharged from the hospital, I was told Lil Man had lost "too much weight" and I should start supplementing. Oh, how I wish I knew then what I know now. First- Lil Man was in the hospital a day longer than the typical vaginally delivered baby so of course he lost a little more weight. Second- I received extra fluids due to my c-section, which I later learned can inflate a baby's birth weight. Third- Lil Man was ZERO percent jaundiced. He really had only lost 2 oz over the "acceptable" amount. There was no reason I should have had to supplement. Supplementing meant time away from the breast. Also, it became easy during those first 6 weeks (the hardest weeks of breastfeeding) to say "give him a bottle" because the doctor had told me to supplement so it was "necessary."
  6. DO NOT HAVE FORMULA IN YOUR HOME- This is really important. You hear all the time how much easier breastfeeding is than formula feeding. Well, in some ways it is. You don't have to pack bottles around, less dishes, etc. HOWEVER- during the first six weeks, growth spurts, and marathon nursing session that formula is very tempting. If you don't have it in your home, and actually have to drive to the store to get it- it is a lot easier to get through a rough nursing session. Breastfeeding is hard work. If it was so easy- everyone would do it.
  7. Be prepared to stand up for breastfeeding- People always talk about horror stories of being told they can't nurse in public, glares from strangers, and so forth....NOT VERY COMMON! What is common- a well-meaning grandmother who tells you that she put her baby on a schedule instead of feeding by demand, an aunt who says you should give formula at night so your child will sleep better, a cousin that is mis-informed and states myths to you about breastfeeding, or a friend who doesn't understand why you are nursing your baby AGAIN. These are the comments you will most likely encounter and they are the ones you need to be prepared for. It is easy to blow off a stranger with a glare but when someone you care about and respect tells you that you should be putting your baby on a feeding schedule, and pushes it, you may feel like you need to do it. STAND UP FOR BREASTFEEDING.
  8. Understand the importance of feeding on demand- Since I used the example of a feeding schedule, I thought I should talk about feeding on demand. This one sounds simple enough- your baby is hungry so feed him/her. However, some babies are hungry every hour, on the hour and will eat for almost an hour. I promise, this won't last forever. However, your baby may still nurse during the night long after your friend's formula fed baby sleeps 10 hours. Don't let that detour you. Studies show that breastfeeding mothers still get as much sleep. Also, feeding on demand is important for your supply, and it teaches your baby that you are their for his/her needs and you will take care of him/her.
  9. Do not give a bottle for at least 4 weeks, 6 is better- This is because of three things. Nipple confusion, Time away from the breast, and BOTTLE PREFERENCE. I have a friend who I know her child is developing a bottle preference, but I have no clue how to tell her. Bottle preference comes when a baby realizes how much easier milk flows from a bottle than the nipple. Yep, just like my husband, baby's will take the easiest way to getting food in their mouths. However, bottle preference does not mean you can not offer the benefits of breastmilk. Pumping is a great option (See Wiski's Story). Many moms feel that dad giving a bottle is a great way for them to bond with baby. Their are other ways dad can bond- giving baths, cuddling, etc. It is important to your supply and your breastfeeding relationship that you bring your child to the breast and avoid bottles as much as possible, for as long as possible. Worried your child won't take a bottle? Try not to. Many still will, after a little coaxing, take a bottle from someone other than mom. If not, women have been able to get their little ones to take a sippy cup as early as 4 months.
  10. Have a great support team- This is probably the most important one. Explain to EVERYONE that breastfeeding is important to you. Be sure your child's doctor is breastfeeding friendly. Many pediatricians are quick to suggest formula for everything. Often times when formula would actually be the exact opposite of what would solve a "issue" a baby may be having. Make sure Daddy is on board with breastfeeding. I am so grateful that my husband understood how important it was for me. There were many days I just wanted to quit, and he encouraged me to keep going.
  11. BONUS ONE- have faith in your body and its ability to produce milk and feed your baby. Almost every obstacle you can think of is either preventable or can be overcome.
I think those are the main things I would tell someone if they asked what they should know in order to succeed at breastfeeding.

What words of advice would you give?