Getting Real: 3 Things I Wish I Had Known About Breastfeeding
Before Kai was born, one of the biggest fears that kept me up at night was the thought of breastfeeding. Would I be able to breastfeed? How much does it hurt? What if I can't produce enough milk? The list of doubts went on and on.
After Kai's arrival, the questions didn't stop; They just changed. Is it normal to have blisters for this long? How do I know my baby is eating enough? Is she just fussy or hungry? Can someone please look and tell me if this is a good latch?
As much as I loved and appreciated the advice of my friends, I wish I had a lactation consultant on speed dial. I wish I had known about the Happy Family Infant Feeding Platform. It's a live chat with a team of lactation specialists and Cornell-Certified nutritionists who are all mamas available 7am-7pm CST, Mon-Fri. To have that kind of peace of mind at my finger tips would have saved so much time googling and reading mom-boards! Go check it out here!
Now Kai is 16 months old. We have exclusively breastfed and it has been one of the most challenging experiences. As a full time working mom in sales, my days are spent on the road, going from office to office. Figuring out the feeding schedule was difficult, but pumping in the car in the Texas heat (and preserving the milk) was another ball game. We are now at the end of Kai's breastfeeding journey and I just wanted to share with you 3 things I with I had known before this journey.
1. It's Going to Be OKAY!
Sure you have many, many questions and they never stop at every stage. Any time Kai changed up her routine or got sick or went through a growth spurt, our breastfeeding habit changed. I panicked EVERY time. All my internet searches began with "IS IT NORMAL...". Just please know that it's going to be okay regardless of the changes. Panicking isn't to anyones benefit. Kai usually returned to her routine or we established a new one. Just be flexible and relax! I seriously wished I knew that I could visit the Happy Family Infant Feeding Platform to ask a lactation specialist a simple questions. This would have saved a lot of head aches.
2. Ditch the Guilt!
As women we are "supposed" to provide nutrients to our babies. It is natural to feel a certain pressure to breastfeed. I'm sure you know the endless benefits, but mamas, cut yourselves some slack! One of the most vivid emotions I have about being a working mom is the immense amount of guilt I felt when I couldn't pump enough to replace what Kai ate in a day. I would chug a gallon of water every day, pump at least 2 times during the work day and then power pump at night. I was practically attached to my breast pump and didn't dare to spill a drop. Looking back on it, I wish I would just let go of the guilt. However you end up feeding your baby is going to be just perfect. They say, a fed baby is a happy baby but don't forget, a relaxed mama is also the key. If you aren't sure about supplementing and are too embarrassed to ask, chat with a lactation consultant here!
3. It Should be a Team Effort
I love my hubby to death, but in the beginning of our breastfeeding journey you can't help but feel like the whole burden is on your shoulders. When the baby wakes up in the middle of the night, my natural solution was to give her some milk. This can lead to many, many, many hours spent alone, in a feeding chair while your partner is snoring away. It should honestly be a team effort. Talk to your significant other. Make a game plan. As the days went on, Kevin and I developed a set of routines. He always gets Kai for me from upstairs and brings her in bed and sets up my feeding spot in the morning. When I was pumping 3-4 times a day, he would always help me wash the mountains of pumping bottles. I'm not saying we have the perfect situation, but we found a balance. I felt supported and not alone in this journey. However you are going through this journey, open up to your support system! Have questions you both can't answer? Find some solutions here from a team of infant feeding experts.
The biggest take away here is, breath, relax, calm that little voice of guilt in your head. Let the cards fall where they may. Have a backup plan and a backup plan to that! You are already an amazing and wonderful mama and the most important thing is ensuring your baby gets the proper nutrients, however that may be!