Tuesday, August 6, 2013

In Honor of Breastfeeding Week, My Story, Tips, & a Giveaway

A few months ago, I mentioned briefly about my experiences with breastfeeding Graham. I talked about what it was like with a toddler running around. How it was different, yet the same, the second time around. And what my thoughts were on breastfeeding in general. Briefly.

I say briefly, because, although I wrote a chapter out of a novel {or so it seems}, I barely touched the surface of what breastfeeding means to me, how it has impacted our lives, and how important it has become to me as a mother.

Do I believe that breast is best? Yes. Do I believe that breastfeeding is beneficial in many ways? Absolutely. Am I an advocate and cheerleader for all new moms to try breastfeeding? One hundred percent. Do I think that it is the only way and look down upon any other method of feeding a child? No, no, no, and no. What is most important, I believe, is for a mother to follow their instinct, trust their decisions, and do what is best for their child, their life, and their unique experiences.

Today, I just wanted to share some of my thoughts on breastfeeding the second time around. Again, I know. Except in a different approach. More of a random pattern, but basically in a way where I am picking out my brain and throwing it out there. Thoughts and feelings that have been on my mind and heart.

Prior to having Elliana, I never really talked much about breastfeeding. I knew I wanted to try it. Andrew and I agreed that we would go this route. But that was about the extent of our conversation... and research. I didn't purchase books. I didn't go to classes. I wanted to just do it and trust that if it were to work out then it would. If it wouldn't, then it wouldn't.

Part of my non-chalant-go-with-the-flow-kind-of-attitude.

The thing is, I never quite realized how lucky I was {and yes, I am still grateful to this day} for how naturally and easy breastfeeding has come to me for both experiences. The reason I say lucky is because I have read countless stories of women struggling. Struggling with supply. Struggling with latch. Struggling with emotions, criticism, and work-related issues. Acknowledging that my experiences were not the same for everyone was the first step in me realizing that I should never take any of this for granted. That although it may have come easy for me, it certainly was not, and is not, that way for many women.

With E, we breastfed for a year {a couple weeks prior to her first birthday}, and then she self-weaned without blinking an eyelash. It was more of a trial day for me, however, in her mind, it was the final day. Just like that, it was over. And we never looked back.

I cannot say that I cried or that it affected me in great ways. I think at that time I was pretty much ready to move onto the next chapter, to have my body back {to a certain degree}, and continue to bond with my daughter in different, yet just as powerful ways. But a part of me wonders if I chose that day for "trial" was in fact for us, or if it was for others. Our family. Our society.

You see, it starts from day one. People asking you..."how long are you going to breastfeed." At every well-visit we get asked that same question. I realize it is for document purposes, but again... it makes you wonder. You get asked that question by family members. By friends. And the closer you get to that age one, the more often you hear it. It seems. In fact, most of the time, those that are closet to you may even say something around the lines of.."don't you think it's time."

I never imagined breastfeeding E past one simply because it was never something that crossed my mind. So when we did the trial day and she didn't even ask? I though that meant that was the right decision. It certainly wasn't wrong by any means.

But today, I sit here and ask myself..."how long do you plan on breastfeeding G." Was it in fact time with E? Did you stop for you, or did you stop for them?

We are reaching 8 months, and I know that 1 year mark will be here before you know it. In my heart, do I believe that we will go past 12 months? Yes. In my heart, I believe we will go much further than that. Did I in my wildest dreams ever think that I would be one to say those words? No, not at all. In fact, I may have even done a side eye 3 years ago had I heard that someone breastfed past 1.

It's amazing what time, growth, and experiences will do to you. How your mind and perspective just changes, just like that.

Breastfeeding is one of the greatest opportunities that I have had to share with my children. It is something that I cherish with them. Moments that I know I will miss down the road. Thus, there is no reason to set a time limit. Just as natural as it has come, I plan to let is just as natural go.

Whenever that time may be.
5 Simple Tips:

1. Breastfeed right away after the baby is born. Skin to skin contact and BF within 30 minutes was top priority for me and the births of my children.

2. Don't be afraid of the public. Buy a cover, use whatever you have at hand, or just do what you feel comfortable in doing. With my first, I was always so self-conscious and embarrassed around certain people. I feel as though I waited longer periods to feed at times so I could sneak away or go in the car. The second time around? When my baby needs fed, my baby needs fed. That means that it will happen wherever and whenever {parks, zoo, museum, mall, dinner, and so forth} and sometimes a cover is used, sometimes just a blanket, and sometimes just discretion with my clothing. Either way, my baby is being fed. That is all that matters.

3. Be comfortable. And relaxed. When you're stressed, your body knows it and your supply goes down. Use a Dr. Brown's Gia pillow  {see all the lovely images with that large cozy pillow}! Where was this nursing pillow when I was breastfeeding E. It conforms great to the body, and the design is genius. The Gia pillow allows the baby to be at an incline angle which helps with digestion and as a result aids in preventing reflux. It is much bigger than my other nursing pillows, and definitely much more comfortable. Watch a more in depth video here.

4. Water water water! Staying hydrated was so important {for obvious reasons}, but definitely helped with my supply. As well as oatmeal! And pump pump pump!

5. Lastly, just trust your instinct! Follow your heart. Forget what others are saying. And just listen to your baby.

***disclaimer: this post is not compensated or sponsored in any way. I was provided a product to review, however, all thoughts and opinions are that of my own. 

And lastly, win a Gia pillow for yourself, or someone you know! This would make a great gift. Better yet, 5 of you can win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I love this post! I was did not make it very long breastfeeding and I felt so terrible for so long but it was what was best for us so I love that you mention that every woman knows what is best for their child. And I applaud you for being able to make it that long!

  2. Great post! I wish I could have breastfed my son. People don't realize how hard it is for some women & how you actually may not be able to. I had a hard time with not being able to emotionally but at the end of the day I did what I had to do for my baby. I commend any woman who can breastfeed no matter how long you do it for.

  3. This post came at such a great time for me. I feel like I am living, breathing, eating, sleeping breastfeeding right now. Like my whole life is consumed by it. But really...I wouldn't have it any other way. I have such a great sense of pride when Elliott is gaining weight and I get complimented by the doctor. Fingers crossed I hope I win this pillow...the only problem I am having is the comfort of it--I have such bad posture sometimes.

  4. Loved this post! Breastfeeding is truly amazing. I didn't realize how much I would love it. I struggle in public because I am such a modest person. Breastfeeding is natural but so many people make such a big deal over it that it gets viewed negatively. Maybe with my second child I will have the same feeling you did.

  5. Great post! I breastfed my daughter for 14mo and I went back to work fulltime when she was 8 weeks old, so yes that's a lot of pumping! I read this post while nursing my 1mo son, so hopefully just begining our journey. My daughter is almost 26months old....sound familiar? :) I agree the 2nd time around the hardest part is entertaining the toddler!

  6. awesome post! I'm hoping to post about my breastfeeding experiences this week too.

  7. I had a really difficult time nursing my first son. He never would latch well and fell asleep at the breast constantly. The doctor's freaked me out about him losing weight and suggested I supplement. After getting used to a bottle nipple, he never would latch again. Instead I pumped for almost a year so he was almost exclusively drinking breastmilk. With my second son (due this month), I crave that one on one bonding time and really want breastfeeding to work out. I could use all the help I can get. I've been doing tons of research and buying all sorts of products to help with latch and supply.

  8. Our pediatrician asks a lot of questions and how long did I plan to nurse was never one of them. Interesting.

  9. I feel the exact same way as you with every single thing you just said about breastfeeding! I as well have a 2 year old and an 8 month old. I bf'd our first until 14 months, and yes I had someone say the whole 'You're STILL breastfeeding?!' I was also very shy with our first too, but like you said with the second, when you baby is hungry- damn right I will feed her whenever or wherever. We have the right to feed our child. I think with the 2nd it brings a lot more confidence in breastfeeding too. I'm so blessed that breastfeeding was a breeze for me and pray that it will stay the same way for the future. Happy Breastfeeding Week Becky!! =)

  10. I've been breastfeeding my toddler for 19 months now! We're going to slowly wean now, but it has been a fun journey.

  11. What a great post! I feel like I would be so embarrassed but good for you!

    Sparkles and Shoes

  12. Thanks for sharing! As a woman who will be a new momma within a couple of weeks and will be trying to breast feed my baby, it's great to read about other people's experiences and know that there is a community of support out there!

  13. Thank you for this post and awesome giveaway!:)

  14. Lovely post! Breastfeeding has been an awesome experience both times around. Going longer this time however has made me appreciate my ability to breastfeed even more.

  15. Love your story! I am linking to this post on my breastfeeding awareness month series on my blog! You are a truly inspiring momma!

  16. As a mom who didn't BF the first time around, I truly appreciate your views. Any mom that I have encountered to date chooses to focus on my reasons for not BF'ing (which is no one's business but my own). I think most moms see it as a choice, when really they don't know the specifics. I'm definitely going to try BF'ing (again) this time around. Just recently I learned the first hour (though I'm glad you said 30mins) is crucial in forming that initial "bond" for BF'ing. Thanks for allowing me to feel more confident as a mother no matter which way I choose to feed my child(ren).

    I am curious however to see how this "new (to me) routine" will go with an almost two year old running around! Yikes! :)

  17. Love this post! Agreed, I was asked so many times "how long" and it stressed me out. And I had such a difficult time nursing, didn't make it very long. Took me a long time to get past that. Thank you for this post and the tips!


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