Monday, May 16, 2011

it's official: breastfeeding is a thing of the past

It's official, my little Hayden has weened herself and I have stopped producing milk. After near three years of nursing babies and being pregnant, this part of my life is over. My kids walk, communicate and feed themselves. I can hardly believe it!

I've been thinking about some of the lessons I've learned along the breastfeeding path and thought I'd share them here. NOTE: I AM NOT A LACTATION CONSULTANT OR DOCTOR, these are just things that worked for me and may encourage new moms to nurse:

* Don't expect to just know how to breastfeed. Don't expect baby to know how. It has to be learned and there could be a stiff curve for some. Be patient and seek help, if necessary. There are lots of wonderful resources out there. If you are in Southern California, Jennifer Richie at Milkilicious was a HUGE help with Hayden when we were struggling with nursing issues (yep, after nursing one for 15 months, baby number two had challenges).

* Make yourself comfortable. You may not be the gal to whip out a boob in public, so invest in a good nursing cover. I purchased a Bebe Au Lait for both kids and it makes public breastfeeding much more comfortable. And if you need a chair or stool for comfort, get it!

* Nights are going to be a bear to start! Fresh babies need to eat every two (or so) hours, whether it be from you or a bottle. And to get your milk supply going, you will need to nurse or pump every two hours. I don't mean to be a downer, but don't plan on huge stretches of sleep to start with. The upside? You will adapt, I promise! Suddenly two hours of solid sleep will be a dream!

* Get yourself properly fitted nursing bras that are comfortable. And good nursing tanks. I've been very happy with the Motherhood Maternity bras and the Target nursing tanks. La Leche League has a wonderful line and I really loved their sleeping nursing bras - gave the perfect support for sore breasts.

* HANG IN THERE! Breastfeeding to start with can be frustrating. Sure, there are mama's and babies who it just "clicks" with, but I suspect with the larger percentage of the breastfeeding community it took work. Get passed the three week mark and you will see it becomes easier. I actually thought even easier than bottle feeding - I hate having to lug "stuff" around.

Some of my favorite memories will always be nursing my little girls. I loved curling up with them on the bed, letting them nurse themselves to sleep. Hearing their breath. Feeling their skin. And drifting to sleep myself. Such beautiful, intimate moments.

If you are a new mom, or mom-to-be, I encourage you to give it a fair try. For other nursing moms, what other insights can you share?

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