Hello. I would love to welcome you to a brand new weekly feature here on The Crafty Organized Mom – The Friday Five. Each week, a group of five fabulous moms will come together to offer you some really great advice about an important parenting topic. We will choose a different topic to feature each week so be sure to Subscribe to our newsletter so you will never miss a post.
This week we will be focusing on the important topic of breastfeeding. While every mother will have her very own journey and relationship with breastfeeding, it can be so helpful to get the advice of other moms that have been through the experience before.
My First Breastfeeding Experience
I remember when I was a brand new mom and essentially all I knew about breastfeeding was that I was going to do it no matter what. Social Media wasn’t nearly the powerhouse that it is today and the class that I took did little to prepare me for the actual realities of being successful at breastfeeding. It was given by a nurse that preached how natural and wonderful it would be. So I went in gung-ho and because of a poor latch, ended up engorged with cracked and bleeding nipples. It took three days for anyone to tell me something was wrong because I just assumed I had to deal with it.
Thankfully I was able to get the support of a lactation consultant that corrected the latch and ordered me a hospital grade pump to give my nipples a chance to recover. It took my daughter and me another month or so to get the hang of it and we went on to have a wonderful 10-month run. But gosh, I wish someone had told me how hard it would be to start and how important getting help early was if it hurt. It would have saved me a lot of pain and tears. With my next two children, I was so much more prepared and confident and things went much better. I asked for a lactation consultant to come and assess my latch early and it made a big difference.
I hope you will find some great wisdom in this post that will help you along with your own breastfeeding journey!
Katie Mac | From North to South
Full disclosure, I never had the intention of breastfeeding. I just couldn’t get myself comfortable with the idea. Then after joining some support groups online, speaking with those mamas and hearing about their journeys, I decided I would ‘give it a go’. It was the best choice I could have made. Our breastfeeding journey lasted about 6 months with my first. I rarely fed in public, and if I did it was under a cover that was a battle to keep on. With the encouraging words and support of my groups, I ditched the cover with baby number two and made it 9 months before he lost interest. By the time baby number three came along, I felt like I was an old pro. We are almost 10 months in and going strong.
I was fortunate to have such great experiences overall. There were definitely those days, those days when I just wanted to throw in the towel, run to target and buy some enfamil. Those days when my nipples hurt so bad I had to walk around topless to avoid any irritation. On those days I turned to my support systems. My husband, my mother and every other mother dealing with the same issue. Facebook groups are a godsend to moms. There’s a group for everything. Whether you’re a first time mom struggling with a latch, or a ‘seasoned’ mom who is dealing with a first time issue. The best advice I can give is join a support group and ask questions, share pictures and know that you’re not alone.
Vanessa Pak | The Four Pak
I think the key to being successful at breastfeeding is to just go with the flow (literally and figuratively!). I had every intention to breastfeed, but once my twins were born, they were four weeks premature and in the NICU for about a week and a half. Feeding at my breast didn’t come too easily for them, and I’m sure my feelings of being stressed and overwhelmed didn’t help. Luckily, they took to bottles very easily so I decided to exclusively pump and give them my milk in bottles. Pumping for two was not the easiest thing in the world, and my babies only got breastmilk for their first four months, but that was pretty good in my book! You have to remember that fed is best and you’ll get through whatever breastfeeding challenges come your way!
When I found out I was going to be a mom, I looked forward to being able to breastfeed. I knew that it would be such a beautiful time with my daughter. However, my daughter was born 8 weeks early and after being introduced to a bottle in the NICU, she had complete nipple confusion. She would scream for hours and I became an overwhelmed, emotional mess. After 2 months of trying, pumping, lactose teas and cookies, diminishing returns, working with multiple lactation specialists and nipple shields, I made the decision to let go.
While it was not what I had envisioned when becoming a mom, switching to formula was the best decision for both me and my daughter. If you are a mom who is struggling with breastfeeding or simply can’t for whatever reason, know that you are not alone. Everyone has opinions, but you must make the decision that is right for you and your family.
Tiffany Houseman | The Wholesome Housewife
3 Important Things You Need to Know If Breastfeeding
#1 Baby should be checked for tongue/lip-tie ASAP after birth
With my first, I suffered through every feeding for 10 months until we finally figured out that Baby Boy had both a tongue AND lip-tie. They were causing my plugged ducts, nipple pain, thrush, unexplained fevers, and shooting, burning breast pain. First feeding after his laser surgery was nearly pain-free.
#2 Nursing can be uncomfortable at first
Even if Baby does not have either tie, it may still be a little uncomfy at first as your body gets used to the friction from nursing. Changing positions of hold can help and I highly recommend Earth Mama Angel Baby nipple butter!
#3 It’s worth sticking out
Some mamas can’t produce enough milk or have health issues themselves preventing a good breastfeeding relationship, but in most cases that’s not the case. Your milk is important for baby, and nursing releases feel good hormones to relax you. Don’t give up, Mama, it’s so worth it!
Betsy Smith | Bug and Baby Girl
I was as surprised as anyone when my son’s first birthday came and went without weaning. I had planned to stop breastfeeding at a year and, believe me, friends, family, and strangers made it clear that I “should;” some because they thought breastfeeding a toddler was strange and others because they were convinced it was dangerous for the pregnancy I was carrying.
But, unsolicited advice aside, my son, my doctor, and I were all happy, so I decided to roll the dice. Everything I read told me that he would, likely, self-wean during the pregnancy and, if he didn’t…well…I figured we would cross that bridge when we came to it.
Well, he didn’t. So we crossed the bridge.
And, because motherhood is nothing if not surprising, I realized that the hard choice I thought I was making was actually the easy one. So many times, I watched them together, seeing the comfort that my son took in being at the breast with his baby sister, and wondered why the world had tried to keep this secret from me. This “hard” thing was easier for my two sweet babies, who never had to question their place or whether there was enough of me to go around. And it was certainly easier for me than having a one year old ransacking the house while I nursed a newborn all day.
To everyone’s surprise, I nursed my babies side-by-side for another two years. And, like so much of my breastfeeding journey, it wasn’t at all what I expected. It was so much better.
I hope you have enjoyed this post and have found some great inspiration from some amazing moms! Be sure to stay connected to all of the great ideas from The Crafty Organized Mom by signing up for updates. When you do, you’ll also grab a free copy of our Family Meeting Guide + Meeting Printable!