Showing posts with label adventures in breastfeeding. Show all posts
Showing posts with label adventures in breastfeeding. Show all posts

Friday, September 12, 2014

// a d v e n t u r e s i n b r e a s t f e e d i n g - k a r y s s a ' s s t o r y //

I love sharing everyone's story, even the ones I have not gotten a chance to connect too much with yet.  However, it's always great to receive the stories from the women I've gotten to "know" through instagram; the ones I've followed along with through photos and words.  Karyssa truly seems like such a sweet and loving Mama and I'm sharing her story today!  <3

As soon as I became pregnant I knew I would give my baby my milk. I wasn't sure in which form. My mom didn't nurse me or my siblings and my family who did nurse was never open about it. This is just the beginning of our parenting differences. So after thinking it over I decided I would exclusively pump. As I said none of my family really talked about or expressed love for breast feeding, boobs to me were sexual. Well fast forward to 35ish weeks and everything changed. I saw a mama nursing her sweet little babe and suddenly I longed for that bond. She sat just gazing at her newborn and giving him all her body had to give. After seeing that and coming to the realization that boobs are for babies that is their purpose I was set, that would be how I nourished my sweet Willow.

Our journey didn't start off as easy as I had dreamed. Willow was born with meconium in her lungs so once she was born they had to whisk her off to get it suctioned out. Luckily that didn't take more than twenty minutes and then she was placed on my chest  and she latched beautifully! The biggest obstacle was that she was also very jaundice so it was incredibly hard to wake her for feedings. She just wouldn't wake to latch on to me. The first night at three am just five hours after she was born the nurse told me I HAD to give her a ounce of formula because she NEEDED to eat so I obliged. I have never felt more defeated in my life or ashamed at a mother. Actually this is my first time admitting that I have given her formula. So when I woke the next morning I was determined to do whatever it took to establish my dream breast feeding relationship. So since she would eat from a bottle I asked the nurse to bring me bottles to pump my milk into...but she refused. She had good intentions, she was worried that Willow would suffer from nipple confusion. That didn't make sense though because just hours earlier she had given my dear Willow formula from a bottle so what was he difference? So I sent my husband to go buy bottles for me to pump into. It worked perfectly! Willow was drinking my milk while tanning in her tiny little baby tanning bed. I felt so full of happiness. After leaving the hospital I was able to get her to latch onto me with the help of a nipple shield and a lactation consultant. After two weeks we were exclusively breast feeding straight from the source!

Now we are nearly fifteen months in with no end in sight. This journey has been one of my favorites this far. I am so smitten with the way she plays with my lips, how she just stares at me and the fact that my body is nourishing and providing for her. I am so happy to have pushed through our struggles and been able to made it to this point where it is just second nature. I cherish the moments she's on my breast as I know that someday soon it will be over. These memories will warm my heart forever.

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Sunday, August 31, 2014

// a d v e n t u r e s i n b r e a s t f e e d i n g - c a s e y ' s s t o r y //

I am sharing Casey's story today!  I've met her a few times in Santa Cruz and she is just the sweetest lady.  I'm thankful that she is willing to share her story and I know it will be a help to others.  Thank you lovely!  (Casey blogs at Mrs Casey Ann .  <3

I am so thankful to share my breastfeeding story (thanks sweet Danielle!) because this whole process has been so completely life changing for me—and I'm only four months in, ha! I am so indebted to the many mothers who've shared their stories, especially in this space, because I read every last one voraciously during Luke's middle-of-the-night feedings looking for someone to relate to, for someone who made it through. And I found that here! Over and over again, no matter the journey or outcome, mamas who persevered for their babies and figured out their best way to cover and love them. It was such a hopeful place for me in the midst of it all. Let's keep sharing mamas! 

When I was pregnant, many people asked how I'd approach feeding Luke and I always said that I hope to breastfeed, because I did. But wow!—I had no (no!) idea what it would look like. There were close people in my life who'd breastfed, but I think some of it just glossed over me. I'd read so many books too, all about pregnancy and what was happening to my little boy inside my tummy, but I seemed to just skip the breastfeeding sections, or it was non-existent. I really had no idea what to expect and prepare for.

Then on that wonderful day when we got to meet our little boy Luke, I was completely changed. My time in the hospital was scary and surprising, and in a moment, both Luke and I were in enough distress to warrant an emergency c-section.. not part of my plan, but now a part of our story. The recovery was more grueling than I was ready for.. I had a big incision and didn't react well to the heavy drugs given for pain relief. My husband was my rock during this time, bringing Luke to me for every feeding, changing every diaper, helping me constantly. 

Being in the hospital was a blur. I had no idea how valuable that first feeding would be and I want to hug the nurses that were fighting behind the scenes to get Luke to me for that moment to feed after he was born (he was in the NICU for 45 minutes due to being in distress, I'd already gotten to cuddle him, but not feed him). So as soon as he was in my room, James (my husband) brought Luke to me and what an incredible moment it was! My baby boy felt so familiar there on my chest and as I stroked his skin, it almost felt like I should feel that stroking, like his skin was my own. He was beautiful! As he laid in the center of my chest, he began woodpecking towards my left side to latch (wood pecking is what we called his little head bobbles looking for milk :), and he latched like a champion. I realized how much I longed to do this! But that came along with a lingering sense of feeling so unprepared, unknowledgable and inadequate.

Over the next five days, I grilled almost every nurse and lactation consultant within any vicinity to my room. I felt a little bit at the mercy of whatever anybody told me, and however helpful each one was, it seemed everyone had a different opinion and varied information. I had yet to feel confident about what I was doing and changed my methods hour-to-hour, based on what advice was given. I also didn't have that full (engorged/milk in) feeling until probably the last day in the hospital (although Colostrum was there) and even though that small amount of milk was coming, I had the feeling it wasn't enough (although it really was!). And to top it off, when you are in the hospital for five days, they weigh your baby incessantly, and even though they said it was normal to lose some weight, nobody treated it like a normal thing (although it was!). I was stressed beyond belief but I wanted to keep at it.

Over the next weeks and months, I'd experience the engorgement, the rawness, the sensitivity (I truly never thought I'd shower again, yikes!). My husband is all too familiar with the breastfeeding aisle at Target—the creams, hydrogels, the hot packs! I needed it all and I couldn't understand how I could continue for the whole year much less another month..this was no cakewalk! But I wanted to push through and give Luke the best start I could muster. I wanted to fight for this. I read and read, from articles online (ps: the internet is littered with garbage info about breastfeeding, bah!) to books, but by far the most helpful were these personal stories. I needed to know that the pain was normal (it just hurts at first!) and that it will get better. Because it did—it did get better!

I was finally feeling like we'd figured something out and at around two months, my happy, content and alert little Luke was filling his diapers like a champ but gaining pretty slowly. At his two-month checkup, my doctor let me know she wanted to see more bulk. Oof..all those feelings of inadequacy soared in (on top of already feeling insecure about the c-section at the time). I don't have enough for my son was ringing through my head constantly. She suggested supplementing with formula if I felt comfortable with that, and I assured her I had no problem and of course I'd do it, if it's best for my baby. I didn't want to be foolish or stubborn about it all (I now know that I wouldn't have been, even if I'd told the doctor no). So I went home with bottles of formula and after nursing him, fed him the extra bottle, which he gobbled up so quickly; I wept the whole time. He was hungry. Was I being selfish and starving this boy in order to nurse? I just wasn't ready for this to be our answer. I wasn't ready to budge on our nursing relationship. I wanted to do everything possible in my power to make things work.

So I did more research**, tried to get informed and proclaimed myself on a nursing vacation. My last ditch effort. Over a period of a few days, I canceled all my plans and rested with my whole heart (no busy work!), feeding Luke every two hours (or earlier) and removing all fake nipples (bottles or paci). Anytime he looked hungry, I fed. I fed and fed and fed. It was definitely painful at the time (rawness returned) and it was a stretch for me physically. I couldn't believe that he'd be happy to eat so often! I learned and watched carefully for his cues and prayed that we'd hit our stride together. And you know what?—We totally did! In those days, something special happened and I gained a confidence in my role with my baby boy. 

So many things are 20/20 in hindsight. Now I realize (and so does my doctor) that my little boy is on the littler side (just like my husband was!). I also know that he's an every two hour babe, even at four months, he's just a hungry little hippo (just like his parents were/are!). I also know that, despite what everything I've read says, he will not make eating his priority, and will not make himself loud enough to tell me he is hungry in the night (so I still wake him). Oh how I'd wish I'd known all of this ahead of time! 

There was a lot of trust involved in nursing for me.. Trusting that what I had was getting to his belly, trusting that what I had was enough and would adjust appropriately. I wanted so much to be able to be calculated about it all, but I couldn't. And there were just things I didn't know about Luke at the start! My mantra nowadays—don't overcomplicate breastfeeding!! I learned that babies and breastfeeding aren't a formula (no pun intended..), it's a somewhat messy, somewhat painful at first, beautiful expression of love and bonding and comfort (yes, I nurse him for his comfort!). I am so grateful that I've been able to breastfeed these four months and deeply desire to go far into his first year. Will it look like I plan? Ha, probably not. But it's another part of this incredible adventure that I'm so grateful to have a chance to take!

**I wanted to note that the main resource I used for breastfeeding info was Dr. Jack Newman's site ( There are so many videos and info sheets on what a drinking baby looks like. It was and still is an answer spot for me, an invaluable resource in my opinion! And read his article on the myths of breastfeeding, don't let people over complicate it for you (what to eat, what to drink, etc etc), breastfeeding is a gift :)

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

// a d v e n t u r e s i n b r e a s t f e e d i n g - a l l i ' s s t o r y //

I'm sharing Alli's story today.  I love hearing about how she overcame obstacles.  Her supportive and encouraging words are exactly why I love posting these stories.  I hope you all feel as encouraged and inspired as I do when reading these stories.  Thank you, Alli!  <3 <3

The minute I got pregnant I knew I wanted to breastfeed. I don't exactly know why I felt so strongly about it, as none of the women in my family had breastfed and I had never really been around anyone who did. But regardless I threw myself into researching every aspect. I took classes, read books, found forums and helpful mamas online. After 40 weeks and 1 day of pregnancy my little girl was finally earthside and we were ready to begin our journey together. Less than an hour after birth, Naomi nursed for the first time and over the next couple days I quickly realized this wasn't going to be as easy as i had thought. Latching problems, cracked nipples, mastitis, engorgement, lip-tie, we had our fair share of problems over the first month (you know, the things no one tells you about). Luckily I had developed a great support system and still felt very strongly about continuing to nurse my baby. So through every feeding things got a little easier, a little less painful, I wasn't curling my toes in pain anymore. 

Next step, nursing in public. I live in a small midwest city, you know, the "nurse in the bathroom", "cover yourself up!" "nursing in public is like urinating in public" kind of place. So naturally, I was scared. Slowly but surely I worked up the courage to do it, and man am I glad I did. No more staying home all day, or planning outings around when she needed to eat! I felt free! I also learned that by nursing in public and talking about breastfeeding openly, I was giving other moms the encouragement and support they needed to decide to nurse their babies! Over the next 27 months Naomi and I developed a bond that will connect us forever, and although I am sad that she weaned i am so proud of our accomplishment. Proud that I stuck with it, proud that I helped to normalize breastfeeding to those around me, proud that i was able to be the support for new moms that were starting their own journeys, proud that my body was able to nourish and grow a smart, loving, funny, & beautiful toddler. A toddler that will grow up knowing and realizing breastfeeding is an amazing, natural, part of life & wont be ashamed or embarrassed of her body and the incredible things it does. I now hope to continue to be a support system for other mamas when they need it most. When everyone else around them is saying "Give up" I want to be the one who says "Keep going. You are strong. You can do this." Because for me, that was exactly what I needed.

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Friday, August 22, 2014

// a d v e n t u r e s i n b r e a s t f e e d i n g - k r y s t a l ' s s t o r y /

 So thankful to Krystal for sharing her story!  I'm thankful for the vulnerability, because I know that these beautiful stories will only help to encourage and support other women.  Krystal is such a lovely mama.  Thank you, lady!  She blogs at Tie a Little Ribbon. <3

To give you a nutshell of my BFing journey this far, I'll attach something I posted on Instagram awhile back. I had stopped breastfeeding at 2 weeks old, my supply was huge and forceful letdown, it was so so hard. So I threw in the towel.
A few weeks later, I was still a mess from that decision, I felt awful, guilty and less bonded with my son, who never felt quite settled. I called a local lactation consultant, and she was at my door within the hour, and we begun the process of re lactating. I lived on my pump, trying to latch him, had his tongue tie clipped. Amongst this, I was heavily criticized by family and friends for trying to be a Martyr. While I knew there was nothing wrong with formula (my daughter was formula fed), I really wanted to have the BFing experience and to provide this nutrition from my own body. My soul yearned for it, and if I'm being honest, something told me that my sons did as well.

I went through weeks of supplements, pumping, thrush, cracked/bleeding nipples, daily check in with my LC and her clinic. I cried more than I thought possible. We finger fed my son, to try and teach him a good latch and drinking technique.

Within 3-4 weeks, I was breastfeeding him all on my own. No topping him up with formula or pumped milk. No more screaming at my breast. I'd done it. WE'D done it.

It wasn't easy, even once we had established breastfeeding. I had no idea how a BFd baby worked, and was shocked at how often he would eat, even with my abundant supply. I struggled with how to discretely breastfeed while out in public. Heaven forbid someone see me feed my child! Then I found babywearing and my life changed that much more.

It was a very long long road, I struggled a lot mentally and physically. But it was all worth it, 100%. I wouldn't change it for the world. Corbin is now 15 months old, and we are going strong. I bring my son nutrition, comfort, peace, from my own body. There are few feelings more powerful than that. In a weird way, it's boasted my confidence through the roof.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

// a d v e n t u r e s i n b r e a s t f e e d i n g - a m a n d a ' s s t o r y //

 Yay for another adventures in breastfeeding story.  I love how Amanda not only shares her story, but offers her support and encouragement as well.  This is why I share these stories- so that we are able to stay connected.  Thank you to the lovely Amanda for sharing her breastfeeding journey!  <3

With Mackenzie, my first, breastfeeding felt more like a chore and a bit of a hassle. I didn't get much information or encouragement of it. I nursed my daughter only for five months. My breasts were engorged and painful. My nipples were sore. And I was embarrassed by the leaking & nursing in public. And also, because she was so tiny & I could not see exactly how much I was feeding her, I was so scared she was not getting enough milk. I ended my BF journey with her when she was only 5 months. And switched her to formula. It wasn't up until I had my son four and a half years later where I felt sad and a bit ashamed of it. I thought about how could I be so selfish to let myself stop nourishing my daughter with the best food there is for her.. I finally came with the conclusion that I was young. A first time mom. I fed my daughter the best way I could at the time. She was and still is happy and healthy little girl. And because I gave her formula, doesn't not make me a bad mom. Formula is just as good as breastfeeding. I did my best and that's all that really matters!

Almost 10 months ago I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy! The baby boy who changed my whole outlook to breastfeeding. With the help of all the normalization I see on Social Media. Because of all the recent normalizing breastfeeding I have seen and the encouragement of friends and family, I knew when I found out that I was pregnant that I was going to EBF! I had 9 months to do all the research & ask questions from new BF mothers I've made. And since my son first latched on, it's been pretty easy ever since. Except for just the one thing that no one ever really talks about, how time consuming it is!

Around my fourth month of EBF, the time has come where my son was attached to me. I could not put him down for a nap, I could not unlatch him from me at anytime he was asleep. I have now become.. A human pacifier! I pumped but he refused to take a bottle. During this time, I was exhausted. I felt as if I'm doing something wrong. Am I nursing too much? Will this be bad in the future? I suddenly broke down. I was confused and afraid of where this attachment to breast feeding would lead to.  It was then where I searched it all online, finding IG mamas who were in my same position. After reading and chatting with moms about my (what I had thought was) problem, come to find out, it's no problem. All babies are different. Just because they are attached to you, does not make you a bad mother for letting them nurse on demand. It just means that you are giving your baby the best possible thing that they need. You're helping them feel comfortable. You're soothing their pain, their worry, their happiness. You're being a mother!

And to be honest, after the first 5 months, it does get easier! If you are at the beginning of your breastfeeding journey or even near the end and you feel like you want to stop, I would hold you tight, and tell you that you that you are not alone, to not give up! This journey you're going through will get easier! There is that light at the end of the tunnel and this bond you have with your baby will only get stronger!

This community of breastfeeding mamas are incredible! If it weren't for all of you, I would not have the most amazing bond with my sweet baby boy! I've decided to breastfeed him as long as he wants and as long as he needs to. I don't have the heart to completely take it away from him at 1 year. Instead let him self wean himself. Even though I am nursing, does not mean I don't feel the same for formula fed mothers! We are all different people which mean we have different choices. And just because we may feed our babies a bit differently DOES NOT mean I don't support you any less! If you are a mother who takes care of your children the best way you can. I support you!

As for me, this breastfeeding journey has been far more than amazing. I'm loving the fact that he needs me. Still at ten months. He falls down, he'll come to me to nurse for comfort.  He's sleepy, he'll come to me to nurse him to asleep. He's grumpy, he'll come to me to nurse him till he's happy. I only hope when he's grown and this breastfeeding journey is long gone, he'll still come to me. To make him dinner when his belly is hungry, to help him with his problems, to give him the best motherly advice as I possibly can. I hope this for my daughter as well. Even though I didn't breastfeed her for very long, we will always have that special bond because of it. Breastfeeding is a start of an everlasting mother/child bond that  I will always share with both my babies. 

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Friday, August 15, 2014

// a d v e n t u r e s i n b r e a s t f e e d i n g - c a s e y ' s s t o r y //

Casey is sharing her story today.  Casey is a family friend, of sorts.  I haven't met her (YET!)  but she is daughter of my mother in law's good friend.  I was so excited to hear that she wanted to share her story.  I think her experience is so important to share because although breastfeeding is magical it can also be HARD!  It really is a lot of work, sometimes.  Usually it is, but there are those who experience no difficulties.  Thank you for sharing, Casey!  I look forward to meeting you and your lovely family some day soon! <3

Ever since I found I got pregnant, I didn't even question formula or breast. I knew I would be a badass breast-feeder, hands down. So fast forward to the day I deliver and it's time to have my main squeeze latch on to me. Well, that was an epic fail to say the least. I had about 10 different hands on my nipples and breasts.. all of them trying desperately to shove my nipple into his mouth to get that sweet tasting colostrum into him! I got about 5,000 different opinions as to why he wasn't latching.. "he has a shallow suck", "he's lazy", "boys take longer to learn than girls", "your nipples aren't long enough", "you aren't holding him right"... I became frustrated needless to say. After a day and 1/2 in the hospital, they sent my husband and me on our merry way with barely any information on nursing (which I find absurd..), and literally said "GOOD LUCK". 
The next week was absolutely brutal. I was trying EVERYTHING to have my guy latch, and I even saw a lactation consultant who happens to be Declan's nurse practitioner affiliated with my midwives. He was eating, but not efficiently. The following week, Declan was diagnosed with thrush.. and at this point I almost said, "screw this I'm doing formula". I couldn't take it anymore. What happened to nursing being such a beautiful thing? All of these women posting beautiful pictures of their babies nursing so lovely on social media sites... why wasn't that us? How could I snap a good shot if my son is popping on and off my breast and SCREAMING his head off while milk is squirting him all over his face?? I didn't understand. 
The following weeks didn't get easier either. His thrush cleared and came back and he passed it to me.. (or so we thought) and I was put on an antifungal immediately, along with Declan staying on his medicine as well. But something didn't seem right to me.. this was not normal. So I started asking around different breastfeeding groups on facebook and almost immediately found some answers.. (those women are LEGIT) Lip-tie. They recommended me to oral surgeon and off I went to get a consultation. The next week we were scheduled for surgery. I googled my little heart out about lip ties and the recovery and found that almost everyone wrote that instantly their child's latches were fixed from this procedure. I was SO excited for him to get it done! 
Well, again, that wasn't us. His latch did get a little better, but it still felt like my nipples were on fire... Okay, maybe not fire, maybe like a 2nd degree burn now. Recovery for my son was INSANE.. crazy swelling, screaming for hours, still popping on and off my breast, spitting milk everywhere, both of us crying. WHAT THE HELL.

So here we are today, 3 days post surgery and it's getting better.. we're pushing through, just like we did from day 1 together. I realize that my story isn't beautiful like some women's are where their child latches and white doves fly into the room and harps start playing lovely music.. but my story is still special. I pushed through for my son. I didn't give up EVER because he didn't either. Eventually we'll figure this whole thing out. Eventually it will become easy.. I have to remember this. The fact that I can still provide my son with enough breast milk to become the porker that he is, is satisfying enough for me. I love nursing my boy, even if it's not picture perfect. 

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

// a d v e n t u r e s i n b r e a s t f e e d i n g - a l i c a ' s s t o r y //

I feel terribly about the break in the series.  Adventures in Breastfeeding is one of my favorite things about blogging and I plan on continuing it as long as their are women willing to share their stories.  I wanted to remind everyone that this series is not just about successful breastfeeding.  It's about women sharing THEIR stories, whatever that story may be.  It's about seeing how connected we really are, despite differences in opinions/experiences.  We love our kiddos and that's all that matters.  Today, I am sharing Alica's story.  I love the spirit of her story; that all our successes as mothers can help other mother's out there.  Even our difficulties can be used to help others.  I relate to her story and am so grateful that she has shared it! Thanks lady. <3

God has blessed me with 2 beautiful little beings, Alivia 3 and Oliver 1.  Alivia is my adventurist, free spirited and full of love child; while Oliver is a loving, calm, and at times, wild child.  Both are the happiest children I have ever seen, full of smiles and laughs all day long.  They make being a mama so rewarding for me!

When I was pregnant with Liv, I knew that I wanted to breastfeed.  I figured, "how are could it be," babies are born to breast feed?!?

On March 10, 2011, my beautiful, 9 pound 11oz, free spirt came into this world.  After 13 hrs of labor, I ended up having to have a c-section because she was getting stuck.  It was another 4hrs of waiting after birth until I was finally able to hold her and try nursing.  I was exhausted and tired, but I was very eager to start our breastfeeding relationship!  With the nurses help I was actually able to get her latched for a few seconds.  However, it wasn't going the way I had it planned out in my head.  She was tired and didn't really want anything to do with eating.  So we all got some sleep and decided to try again in a few hours. The next attepte wasn't much better than the first, and it eneded with use both crying and me telling the nurse that I couldn't do this. The next 2 days we spent in the hospital werent any better.  Each time we tried to breastfeed I would end up feeling defeted and stressed.  I didn't understand why this was so hard for me!

We had just moved to a differnt state 5 months before I had Alivia, so I didn't really have anyone I could lean on for help. I sought out help from a lactation consultant who reasured me that I was doing everything right, but after 2 weeks of lots of tears, stressing and feeling defeated, our breastfeeding realtionship ended.  3 years later, I am still hard on myself for not trying just a bit harder or sticking it out just a bit longer.  Alivia is happy, healthy and beyond bright and that's all that matters!

When I became pregant with Oliver, breastfeeding was the only option for me.  I was not going to fail again! I spent the next 9 months reading and filling my brain with every piece of breastfeeding knowledge I could!

On June 27th, 2013, my handsome 9 pound 2 oz Ollie was born.  I rememebr the nurse saying, "wow he's a big boy!"  My husband and I just laughed and said, "he is little compared to what his sister weighed!"  He had some breathing problems right after birth so, again, it was another 4hrs until I was finally able to try nursing him. He was a natural! This baby in my arms was born to breastfeed!  I thought to myself,  "so this is how breastfeeding should be," and it made my heart so happy!

When we got home I started to stress a bit.  Even though everything was going great, I was stressing about something going wrong like it did with Liv. In the hopital you have people there to help you.  At home, when it is hardest, you are all alone!  I just wanted to live at the hopital for the next year?!?

The next 2 weeks were extremely  rough!  My nipples were constantly sore and my milk coming in.  This is the stuff moms dont warn new moms about.  I was just frustrated that I didn't remember all this from last time?!?  It was around 3-4 weeks that our perfect and easy breastfeeding relationship started getting really hard for me. Every time Ollie would nurse it would hurt so bad.  I would watch the clock just waiting for him to be done! I remeber calling my friend crying and begging her to come over and help!  After 5 weeks of horribly painful nursing, I finally decided to go and see a lacation consultant.  Of course, while she was watching, I was able to nurse pain free.  Why couldn't I do this at home?  At the appointment she was able to find our problem, Oliver was tongue tied.  Being tongue tied was making it impossible for him to take in enough nipple while nursing.  This was causing my nipple to rub againt the roof of mouth because of a shallow latch.  Finally, I dont have defected boobs!!!

My lactation consultant directed us to an oral surgeon, and around 7 weeks we went to get his tongue tie clipped. The first nursing session after the procedure was a success.  I could tell a difference right away.  It took us another 2 months until we finally got a good latch down because he was so used to nursing the wrong way for 7 weeks.  It was going to take time for him to learn how to nurse the right way.

Before I became a full time breastfeeding mama I looked at breastfeeding in a totally differant way.  I supported breastfeeding, but always viewed it as something that should remain private.  I felt it was somthing that should be done under a cover or in another room.  I had never been around it a lot, so I didn't know any better.  Within the first 2 months of nursing Ollie my views completely changed.  I now understood why using a cover was so annoying.  It's 100 degrees outside, why am I covering up my kid? Why should I have to hide something that is so natural?  And thus, I began to openly breastfeed wherever I was. 

Breastfeeding has opened my eyes, and my views, to a whole other world.  A world filled with milk sharing, support and love!  It's somthing that I love, and am very passionate about.  It's somthing that I love sharing and normalizing with the world!

We just hit 13 months on the 27th of June, and I have had 13 months full of support from my husband, family and friends.  Without them, I wouldn't have made it this far!

As of now, we have no plans of stopping anytime soon!

I urge veteran moms to encourge and support new moms.  Encourage them not to have fear about nursing in public, covered or uncovered.  Encourage them to not listen to  the negative comments or advice, but instead, listen to their baby.  Give them help and guidence if they need it, and always show them love <3

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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

// a d v e n t u r e s i n b r e a s t f e e d i n g - s a s h a ' s s t o r y //

Sasha is sharing her story today and I'm so glad she did.  These stories are so important and only help us to see our similarities.  I'm thankful for all the positivity and love: you guys truly inspire others!  <3

I've had this story saved for months now and have been so hesitant to share. I'm not exactly sure why. but, lately with all of these account deletions for posting breastfeeding photos I think it's time to feel brave. I only wish I had the courage to share my own breastfeeding photos on my IG account. so, I will share here instead (baby steps if you will) and I hope you all enjoy my story.
i always knew once I had kids I would breastfeed. what i didn't know was how much breastfeeding would impact my life. my adventure began in March of 2011. i gave birth to a healthy baby girl after 19+ hours of labor. immediately after delivery I has a crowd of visitors in my room. i had a few short minutes of skin to skin and then everyone took turns holding my baby. I didn't even attempt our first latch until TWO hours later!! looking back now, i cannot believe i waited that long. I remember my sister sitting beside my bed and helping me as I attempted to get her to latch for the first time. I also remember feeling so overwhelmed and then frustrated that it didn't happen right away. that first night in the hospital we had some struggles. she didn't seem too happy when I put her to the breast. luckily my post partum nurses were very helpful in aiding in my efforts. I felt an unbearable amount of pressure to have it all figured out quickly. reason being, when I gave birth to my daughter I was in my last semester of the RN program. I was only allowed to miss one week of school in order to graduate on time. it was a tough decision, but one that I had to stick by. the third day of breast feeding was brutal. I suffered from some insanely sore nipples. the cracked and bleeding, cringing at the idea of a towel touching them out of the shower, crying for the first five minutes after baby latched - kind of sore nipples. i swore i had to be doing it wrong, but my mom and the nurses assured me I wasn't. on day four i pumped and baby gulped down her first bottle of mommy's milk without hesitation. my mom encouraged me to start pumping often, so i would have plenty of milk saved up for when i went back to school. just the idea of going back was overwhelming to me. I may have been in denial that I was actually going through with my plans to finish. My head was spinning out of control
with emotion. how on earth was I going to leave my newborn baby? and how in the world could I continue to exclusively breastfeed her? I was so painfully engorged once my milk came in and I didn't even realize I needed to pump and store the excess after she nursed. seems like a no-brainer now, but as a first time mom I really had NO clue what I was doing when it came to breastfeeding. I reached out to friends that had babies, but none of them breastfed for any longer than 6 weeks. I felt pretty alone in my efforts, but was determined to find a way. so, I pumped a few times and had about 15 oz in our fridge as I left on the following Monday for an 8 hour day. we were doing our psych rotation at a local mental health facility and I only pumped once, yes ONCE, during an 8 hour shift!! my teachers had made such a fuss over my pregnancy and taking time off that I felt scared to ask to go pump. so I suffered with insanely engorged breasts for four hours until our lunch break, pumped in my car and put my milk on ice. seriously, what was I thinking?? I obviously had no clue what I was doing. every single day I felt the stress of whether or not id have enough milk pumped for the next day. 

I remember coming home and crying when I saw that all of my milk was gone in our freezer. my husband and I had arguments over milk and how much baby needed to be fed throughout the day. when she was colicky we both questioned whether or not I was making enough. I took her in to our pediatrician who assured me that she was doing great and at a very healthy weight. in mid-April I began my preceptorship and had to work seven 12 hour shifts shadowing an RN. these shifts were in addition to our normal lecture days. some shifts would be so busy that I would only find the time to pump once in 12 hours. my husband even had to make trips to the hospital to pick up milk after running out at home. looking back now I honestly have no idea how we did it or how my supply kept up when I didn't pump enough? thankfully, we all survived! I owe so much to my mom and husband for their help, love and support. I graduated from the program in late May and took the entire month of June off from studying for boards to just enjoy my baby. I landed a job as an RN in July and began working full time on night shift in November. I honestly thought the worst was past us, but once I began working nights my milk got confused. my daughter was sleeping through the night now and when I would pump at work in the middle of the night I would get very little milk. then when I got home and pumped I would get the same result. one night I pumped both breasts for a total of 30 minutes and got a 1/2 oz total. that morning I went home and cried. i decided then that it might be time to give up. each pumping session, day or night, resulted in very little milk. my body had not adjusted to working night shift and my work schedule was all over the place. so after nine months, I gave my daughter her first bottle of formula and breast milk. I reached out to a local lactation consultant, but I honestly didn't have the time or the energy to really try all of her suggestions. I felt as though I was barely getting by at this time with all these new changes. it clearly affected me more then it did my daughter. she was so used to taking a bottle, that it never phased her when I didn't offer my breast again. I pumped a few more times and mixed milk but then eventually stopped breastfeeding altogether. I look back now at our story and I'm sad that I gave up so easily. I think that maybe had I known more, had I educated myself more on breastfeeding that I could have gone on longer. if I had known the laws, maybe I would have demanded to be able to pump more. I found out two months later that I was 7 weeks pregnant. I knew this time around things would be different. I began to read and started following @latchthebabes on IG and other breastfeeding moms that were her followers. I gave birth in late august in the middle of the night. no meds, no visitors, and we had our first latch 20 minutes after she was born. she went right to the breast and nursed for 20 minutes on both sides! i couldn't have been happier. I had twelve weeks off until I had to return to work. I began pumping religiously once my milk came in. I pumped 4-5 times a day (in addition to nursing baby), I pumped when I felt too full, I even pumped at 3 am after nursing baby. I was exhausted taking care of a newborn and 18 month old, but I was making lots of milk. when it was time to go back to work I had over 200 oz of pumped milk in my freezer! Sadly, a few months later we had a power outage and my milk spoiled. all of that hard work had to be thrown away, which was very emotional for me. my husband and I made the decision for me to return to work part-time and I was able to pump enough extra milk for the nights I was away. our only hiccup this time was that I struggled with post partum depression and when baby was 8 months old I started taking a low-dose of celexa. it helped me tremendously, but it also affected the baby. so without any hesitation I stopped the medication and silently suffered for months. my post
partum blues are behind me now, but it was a very real struggle for a while. my daughter and i have made it 23 beautiful months of breastfeeding and I'm not sure either of us are ready to wean any time soon. I'm honestly extremely thankful for this community of beautiful, supportive breastfeeding moms that I've found here on IG. it's wonderful to see other moms who share your values and love for breastfeeding. thank you Danielle for sharing my story :)

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Sunday, August 3, 2014

// a d v e n t u r e s i n b r e a s t f e e d i n g - d a n a 's s t o r y //

 The next Adventures in Breastfeeding is from Dana.  When I received her story and looked her up on instagram I instantly fell in love with her photos.  I think it's great to hear so many stories of nursing through pregnancy and tandem nursing.  It can be extremely difficult, but more than possible.  It's a choice, for sure.  But like Dana mentions in her story, laying down to nurse while pregnant can give a much needed break.  <3  Thank you for sharing your story, Dana! 

I am a mama of two. Balthazar Mundzuk, three and  a half years old, and Alba Fauna Cassiopeia, twenty months old. When she was born, he was as old as she is now. During my pregnancy with Mun I read Ina May Gaskin´s books and became inspired and determined about wanting to homebirth and breastfeed. His joyful birth was an amazing, highly spiritual, uplifting and empowering experience. He latched on almost immediately and all was smooth until the third day, when my milk “came down”. My breasts where so big and full of milk that it was very hard for him to get a proper latch, and my nipples became cracked and sore. After this small crisis, in which a small manual pump that would pull my nipple out before he latched helped a lot, all was very smooth and happy and he grew beautifully on exclusive breastmilk for a year. He did begin to try solid foods at about six months but was never very interested in food at this point and always preferred his Mama Milk.
A couple of days after Mun´s first birthday we found out we were expecting our second. He continued to nurse regularly but my supply decreased dramatically. Here there was a crisis because there was a period of adaptation for him to begin to really eat some food and nurse less. During this period he seemed to try and try to get more milk out but there simply wasn´t much in there! It was frustrating and emotional for me to not be able to nourish him as I always had, but we soon got to a point in which he was eating more and nursing became just a going to sleep ritual.
As I grew bigger expecting my girl, nursing actually seemed to make things easier for me, because it gave me a chance to lay down and rest sometimes during the day. It was very exhausting to run after my toddler while heavily pregnant. We napped together a lot which was so nice.  When I was in the trance of Alba´s homebirth, “riding the waves” of the contractions, I nursed my boy to sleep which brought a big, very intense wave.
When Alba was born Mundzuk had to adapt to this new ´ having to share mummy´ thing, but he was very pleasantly surprised to have “rivers” of milk flowing again. I tandem nursed them for a year, and then I weaned him because it became too much for me. It was a little bit hard for him but he was two years and eight months by then and adapted very soon. At this point I was only nursing him to sleep at night and naptimes and he had to learn to fall asleep with stories and cuddles. I remember energetically feeling  like a second time giving birth. What I mean is that I felt him separate from my body, like he became a little less an extension of my own body. It was emotional and beautiful to learn to fill him with love without giving him the breast.

Fast forward to now, Opia (what she likes to call herself) is still a very avid nurser, I absolutely love the time spent snuggled up with her nursing and to any new or expecting mamas I say, breastfeeding is no doubt the best option for your child and for your own convenience. I know for different reasons it may be difficult but I tell you, it is so worth it. On an extra note, we are not supporters of traditional occidental medicine and vaccines, and I strongly feel that breastfeeding is a very big way to help children grow healthy.

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Saturday, August 2, 2014

// a d v e n t u r e s i n b r e a s t f e e d i n g - b e e ' s s t o r y //

When I realized it was World Breastfeeding Week I thought:  What a perfect time to start the Adventures in Breastfeeding series again.  And after asking if anyone else would like to share and receiving so many beautiful stories, I can say I am truly grateful.  I've followed Bee's instagram for a little while now and I was so glad she sent her story over.  Her story was different with each child and I think it's important to remember that each child will have a different story.  Maybe not completely different, but still unique.  Thank you for sharing, Bee!  She blogs at Bee's Circus <3

When Danielle asked for breastfeeding stories to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week, I jumped at the chance. I have a total of 30 months of breastfeeding experience under my belt, and it is one of my parenting choices I am incredibly proud of. I wouldn't have it any other way, those moment shared just between us, with tiny fingers grabbing at my hair or shirt, their inquisitive eyes locked on mine. Not having to worry (too much) about what they are eating or germs - I have worked with children for years and have developed an iron clad immune system, which I am so glad to have passed on to my boys. Obviously I understand how lucky I am to have experienced this with both boys without any real troubles, and respect any decision a parent makes about feeding their child. Looking back through these pictures make me so nostalgic for those days with my teeny tiny babe, even though he's snuggled pretty sweetly in my lap right now. (Edit, that snuggle lasted all of four minutes)

My breastfeeding journey started in 2010, with my first son, Daniel. He was born at7:22am, after a fairly quick labour, and he latched almost immediately. There was meconium in his waters so we had to stay in overnight to be monitored, which was lucky I guess because we struggled to nurse that night. I was exhausted, and crying to the nurses that we were struggling but they just sent me to the nursery, where we waited for an age for a midwife to force a latch. As a first time mother I didn't know any better, but it was very sore. After a few days I started to crack and bleed, freaking out. Luckily, a family friend who was a midwife came to our rescue, teaching us to latch properly. It's amazing how blasé you get about people seeing your breasts when you're nursing, like what's the big deal. I would use a cover in public to stop others feeling uncomfortable, especially male friends, but no one ever even noticed. I breastfed Daniel until he self weaned at 10 months, he always refused to take a bottle and I was more than happy exclusively nursing. With your first child, I feel milestones are so exciting you're always pushing for the next one, so although I was sad to stop, I also felt it was time. 

When Joshua was born in 2012, at 10:16pm after an even quicker labour, he latched quite soon after. We were allowed to leave as soon as he had fed and I had been checked over, and I was confident in my nursing ability this time. I knew how to assess his latch and what felt comfortable, I felt like a pro. We did struggle though, for a few days he would only feed from one side, screaming when I tried the other, which had me worried. Dr Google reassured me it wasn't an issue and it did only last a couple of days. Nursing with a toddler around wasn't easy, and Daniel watched more TV for those first few months than I would usually allow, but he was a great help and very understanding despite his young age. We nursed until Joshua was 20 months old, I wrote a heartfelt blog about our journey ending here. That almost two years seemed to fly by, I never once felt restricted by breastfeeding (except in the clothes I could wear, but that's a small price to pay), quite the opposite in fact. It opened doors for me, into a world of natural attachment parenting that I was unaware of before, despite practicing it myself as instinct. I have met so many wonderful friends and Mamas, including Danielle, and felt connected immediately because we share the same views on motherhood, the same ideas of beauty, the same instincts. 

Happy World Breastfeeding week to all the Mamas, whether you breastfed for two minutes or two years, whether you bottle fed or pumped, let's lift each other up and support each other regardless. 

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Friday, August 1, 2014

// a d v e n t u r e s i n b r e a s t f e e d i n g - m y s t o r y //

I never thought of breastfeeding before I became pregnant.  If I had, I probably would have been in the “please be modest, cover up and don’t show my husband your boobs” camp.  As I typed that, I felt a little shame, but I try to focus on where I am now.  (Where I am now:  “Only cover up if you want to, but please, it’s just a boob.”)  My pregnancy was a surprise.  We had just returned home from a three-week cross country road trip that also served as our HONEYMOON.  Yes, I said honeymoon.  So, to say that I wasn’t prepared is an understatement.  However, I went to my doctors appointments and read up on pregnancy and sooner or later, I was determined to breastfeed.  I’m not sure how I became passionate about it, but I’m so glad I did.  I read it was wonderful for my child, so my mind was made up:  I’m breastfeeding.  

When Elliot was born, he latched on right away.  However, he was having some breathing troubles, where his breaths were coming faster and faster.  I woke up in the middle of the first night and I heard some of the worst sounds coming from my sweet, first born son.  He was sick and unable to breastfeed.  I was devastated.  Elliot had to have five days of antibiotics.  And until further notice, breastfeeding was out of the question.  I’m embarrassed to admit, I wallowed in self pity for a few days.  I kept wondering, “why? why does my son have to be sick?”  I’m embarrassed to admit because others have experienced far worse, but truthfully, I had no idea what was going on yet.  

Then, the nurse who saved the day.  I had been crying, holding my son’s tiny fingers as he was attached to tubes and iv’s.  I could not breastfeed him until I was given the okay by a doctor.  However, the doctor would not be making his rounds until the next day.  The nurse could tell that he was okay to nurse, so she called until she got a hold of him.  I was given the okay a day earlier.  My husband recorded the event on video, while I cried huge, happy tears.

From then on, our breastfeeding relationship was relatively easy, although it was hindered by my fear of breastfeeding in public.  Elliot was incredibly active (people who know him are not surprised by that)  and he would kick the cover off.  So, I nursed in bathrooms and in rooms alone.  It was sweet, but not as sweet as it could have been.  Then, lo and behold:  pregnancy surprise number two!

I gave up nursing when Elliot was nine months.  I was exhausted from pregnancy and had little milk left.  It was emotional, but I had so much going on.  We were living with my parents, unsure of where we were headed after and Elliot had no problem with ending our nursing relationship.  I was sad, but way too preoccupied.  

As for Asher, it was a bit different.  When he was born there was a perfect latch, however he was a sleepy baby and I had to encourage him to feed regularly by taking off his clothes to wake him up.  I was way more prepared this time.  But, as life often does, I was thrown a curveball.  Out of nowhere, at about 3.5 months, he stopped wanting to nurse.  I kept trying and trying, which could cause him to throw up the little milk he did consume.  I was scared and started to obsess, which was my largest problem.  I was incredibly stressed and had little help.  I had a eighteen month old and was stretched thin.  After over a week of not eating and loosing a little weight, two teeth popped through.  They told me it was too early for teething.  Apparently not.  

So, here I am.  Nearly two years of breastfeeding my youngest. We have begun the weaning process, because I felt as if it was time.  Asher was wanting to nurse all day and if I couldn’t, he would get very upset: even hitting and pulling at my shirt.  He wasn’t sleeping well and I think needed to feel a little more connected with Jimmy.  So, now we breastfeed at “night night” times.  (naps and at night.)  During the day he will ask for it and then go “nooooo, nigh nigh” and giggle.  If he really does need a nursing session, I won’t deny him that.  But it’s been nice seeing him connect to Jimmy more.  (I will nurse Ash and then let Jimmy put him to bed.)  

This has been super long, but I wanted to start this series again with my own story.  I hadn’t shared and thought “well, that’s just silly.”  I believe posting photos and breastfeeding in public is important because it absolutely encourages and promotes breastfeeding.  When women see it, then they aren’t ashamed of it.  They are able to ask questions and actually have a visual of what it looks like to nurse.  That sounds silly, but if they have never “seen” it, how will they know?  It’s not enough to get thrown into it at birth:  in fact, it’s detrimental to the longevity of the nursing relationship.  Also, baby wearing.  Babywearing and breastfeeding all the way.  Especially if you have more than one child.  Nothing feels more badass and accomplished in the world of breastfeeding then being able to take a walk downtown with your family and breastfeed while socializing, getting errands done, etc.  I remember the first time I got the hang of it-  I was giddy with excitement!

Thanks for reading my story, guys!  Happy World Breastfeeding Week!  Whatever your story may look like, be proud!  Seriously.  We all love our kids and now, let’s love ourselves.  We are strong women, and our stories inspire others to feel pride in our role as mothers.  <3

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