This post has been whirling around in my mind for quite a while, in fact, I wanted to write this post about two years ago when I weaned my first daughter. However, after a complete FAIL at breastfeeding my second daughter, I just felt inadequate.
So, before I get to my tips I thought I’d briefly share my journey with you. When I was pregnant with my firstborn, I was determined to breastfeed for a year. It was going to be so easy – I mean, everyone I knew that breastfed their children made it look so easy, and I took a class so obviously, I’d be a professional right after delivery… right?
I wish I could tell you that it was easy, I really do but the reality is, that it isn’t. My firstborn had severe reflux, and so most of what she ate was projectile vomited back up (super gross, I know!). As a result, my daughter was breastfed about 50 percent of the time and then 50 percent bottle fed.
She was fulled weaned by 10 months.
My breastfeeding journey with baby number 2 was very brief. We were in the middle of a major life change, and as hard as I tried to breastfeed, I just couldn’t. My milk never came in, and I was so stressed out with our recent move across the state, that I made the decision to bottle feed and it was literally the best decision ever!
Yes, I said it. The BEST decision ever, one I do not regret for a moment.
Bottle feeding gave me such a sense of freedom, I was able to allow my husband to help out with the feedings, and get some sleep or go for a run a few times a week.
In August of 2016, I was fully intending to bottle feed baby number 3. When my second born weaned at 6 weeks old, I was devastated – I spent months feeling like a complete failure. So, as we were approaching the arrival of our third baby I knew I didn’t want to go through that emotional rollercoaster ever again – so I was going to bottle-feed.
Funny thing about my plans, they almost NEVER work out. So, when we arrived home from the hospital with our darling little girl in September of 2016, I also arrived home with a clogged-duct. Knowing that I could get develop mastitis, I got to work pumping, and feeding. It took about a week, but everything cleared up and as a result, I had established a pretty solid milk supply and my little one had figured out how to latch!
After 13 months of mostly exclusively breastfeeding, my girl has weaned me and I can honestly say, I am so thankful for the experience. Breastfeeding wasn’t easy, but we made it 13 months, a full 13 months longer than I thought and as she becomes more and more independent I can’t help but reflect on the times I got to hold her close and provide everything she needed.
Now that I’ve shared my story from feeling like a failure to breastfeeding a toddler I thought id share a few things that helped me overcome my breastfeeding anxiety and grow to love the experience.
- Find a Tribe
Be Confident in Public
- Supportive Family Members
- Supportive Friends
- Online Groups
- Have a good cover, and know how to use it
- Learn to feed and walk
- I mastered feeding and walking in two different baby carriers – LIFE CHANGING!
- Know the law for your state, here in Florida a woman has the right to breastfeed her baby anywhere she is allowed to be (More information here).
Eat a Well-Balanced Diet
- Keep a bottle of water near you at all times
- I prefer one with a straw, it’s much easier to drink out of when your hands are full.
Master the Latch and Positions
- When you are establishing your milk supply, you don’t want to be cutting calories. In my experience, if I didn’t eat plenty of nourishing fruits and vegetables my supply would start to go away.
- A bad latch can cause serious pain, make sure the latch is deep and comfortable.
- I watched several youtube videos from La Leche League to help me understand how to find a comfortable latch
- I also spent some time mastering different feeding positions until I found ones that worked for both of us
- In the evening I would do side-laying position because it was the easiest to get my daughter back to sleep and transferred into her crib.
What is your breastfeeding goal, how can I help support you in your journey – Let’s connect!
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