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*Quick disclaimer: I am not a lactation consultant nor have any professional medical experience. I do have 2 prior breastfeeding journeys and I’ve been a mom for 11 years – so I think I know a thing or two.
To commemorate my success of breastfeeding Clayton for 6 months, I would like to share some things I’ve learned along the way. It has not been easy but definitely worth it. I am looking forward to the next 6 months of this journey together.
Tip #1: Find a breastfeeding support group
Before giving birth, I knew I wanted to breastfeed. It was at the top of my to do list. I tried previously with the girls but I did not have much success. I made it one week with Kaydence due to engorgement and almost three months with Madelynn.
I spent a lot of time on Google trying to prepare and ended up finding a great support group on Facebook. That group of ladies are amazing! It’s ran by a few lactation consultants and they truly offer great advice and resources. I was happy to find out even though I was having a c-section I would still be able to nurse after recovery! Yay!
He latched beautifully in the hospital and once we got home decided that he didn’t want to anymore. Yikes! That first night home was awful – I had to learn how to work my pump very quick so that he could eat.
Tip #2: Invest in a quality pump
Unless you plan on exclusively breastfeeding you will need a breast bump. I was given one through my insurance and it was not that great. I knew I wanted to continue my journey for the long haul so I opted to get the Medela Sonata – I really like it. It has the option to connect to your smart phone to track the times you spend pump. It also allows you to set a timer for auto shutoff.
A manual pump also works well. I own the Medela Harmony you have complete control over the suction. It will feel weird at first but you’ll get used to it.
Friendly Reminder: Change your pump parts for maximum output!
6 months or as needed
Tip #3: Hands Free Pumping Bra
A hands free pumping bra allows you to have so much freedom. It was game changer for me. You will quickly learn that you will spend a lot of time pumping and you will appreciate being able to be hands free to work, scroll Instagram, or play with your baby.
Tip #4: Set small goals
It’s so easy to get overwhelmed when deciding to breastfeed. You’re a new mom and that’s hard enough. The pressure is on and most people go in with the idea that they have to make it to a year. A year is a great goal but it’s a long term goal.
When my son wouldn’t latch I thought that was possibly going to be the end of journey. I felt like a failure, I tried everything in the book. His pediatrician told me to chill, stop worrying and it will happen. In the meantime, if I wanted him to have breast milk, I should pump and provide it for him. Around a month or so he began to latch well on his own but pumping became my reality for a while.
Make your first goal 3 months and celebrate. Every day you continue to provide your milk is another day in the book. You got this mama!
Tip #5: It’s okay to supplement with formula
Formula is okay! You are not a bad mom because you can’t provide breastmilk to your baby. It doesn’t matter if it’s on a temporarily basis or if you have to end your journey and only give formula.
Tip #6: Move Milk to Make Milk
Moving milk is the only proven way to make more milk. When you start experiencing a low supply a few rounds of power pumping can help. If it does not you may want to seek out a lactation specialist in your area. Skin to skin and latching baby are also great ways to improve milk production.
Tip #7: Proper Milk Storage
It’s so important to handle your liquid gold with love and care! With freshly pumped milk it can last at room temperature for 4-8 hours or in a cooler for 24 hours.
If you’re choosing to freeze left over milk it’s important to use the proper bags. I have made the mistake and bought cheap bags thinking they would do the trick. They stored well in the freezer but once I unthawed them they leaked and I lost milk.
My top 3 bags:
3. Kiinde (very good but pricey)
Tip #8: Continue taking your prenatal vitamins
I honestly didn’t know I was supposed to keep taking my prenatal vitamins after pregnancy but it does wonders for your body. I personally hate taking pills so I started I found some gummies that I love.
My top prenatal gummies:
2. Smarty Pants
Tip #9: Mentally Prepare for Returning to work
Most people take 6-8 weeks of maternity leave. If you’re able to take more you’re extremely blessed! I was not prepared to go back to work. I experienced a dip in supply and began to freak out. I had to adjust my body to its new norm.
No matter how your journey begins or end – you’re an awesome mom! I hope these tips were helpful to you. Below are some websites that can provide you with great information from the pros.
Toxnet – check this when taking medication