Things I Wish I Knew About Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is something I was lucky enough to experience. And I say lucky, because I feel I was able to really bond with Izzy through feedings. It wasn’t all rainbows and roses though, I had a tough time.
I worked from home when Izzy was born so I was able to feed her all day. This was a major plus because the pump and I were not friends. I would pump just enough to let Joe feed Izzy 1 time every other day and save a tiny bit at a time in the freezer so we could send Izzy to my moms and get a little break.
I drank a lot of water, ate a lot of spinach, took my prenatal vitamins… all the things they say to eat and drink I tried, but I just wasn’t one of those gals who made much.
Beyond the supply, it was very painful for me. Izzy was a lazy latcher from newborn, past 6 months of age. It pinched when she ate.
Early on, like most mothers I had super cracked, dry and bleedings nipples. I silently cried as I fed her and pumped. I went weekly to a lactation/breastfeeding group at the hospital where Izzy was born. This is where I gained strength to keep going and got tips for the location consultant and other moms.
But I was determined to breastfeed Izzy. I knew there were a lot of benefits and my sister did it, so I figured why can’t I? Not to mention, formula is so expensive. Izzy loved being close to me and honestly I learned to love it too. I never thought I’d say this, but I even miss it. She never took to a pacifier, I became her comfort and source of food. We made it until she was 11.5 months when I dried up and was unable to continue.
There are always new findings, products and advice to be given as each year passes so I wanted to share some information with you I recently learned and picked up from experience.
1. Start Pumping As Soon As You Get Home Or Your Milk Comes In.
Having a supply in the freezer is not a bad thing. I was told originally by girls not too pump right when you get home. But it’s actually easier to pump and maintain then have to get the supply back. I quickly learned to pump every night after Izzy was put in her crib. I also would feed on one side in the am and pump the other. This way I could start building a supply.
2. Plan For Long Term Gut Health
I recently learned about Evivo. There was a new clinical trial at the UC Davis Medical Center which recently published in mSphere. The study showed that for the first time ever a probiotic is able to significantly reduce potentially damaging gut bacteria. This harmful bacteria is found to be linked to short and long term health issues such as allergies, diabetes, colic, eczema and obesity. Amazing right? Mixing Evivo with breastmilk contributes to a foundation for life-long health. I’m urging you to learn more here. Why? Because via the clinical trial Evivo was proven to restore infants’ gut microbiome 100% of the time, yes 100%! There was an 80% reduction in potentially harmful bacteria for these babies. Harmful Bacterial: E. coli, clostridia, Staph and Strep! The babies in the trial that didn’t get Evivo had four times the level of these potentially harmful bacteria versus the babies who got it.
Food for thought, but here are some consequences of a disruptive gut:
Every Kindergarten classroom has at least two children with food allergies (FARE)
Over one million children in the U.S. have type 1 diabetes (American Diabetes Association)
The obesity rate has doubled as children grow from toddlers to teens (CDC)
9.6 million children under the age of 18 have eczema; of this total, 3.2 million children (33%) have moderate to severe cases (National Eczema Org)
3. Try To Attend A Support Group
Breastfeeding is easy for some and difficult for others. I had a girlfriend who breastfed and supplemented with formula. She just didn’t make enough to 100% breastfeed. If you are able to, and really want to breastfeed, you will need to attend a support group. My sister breastfed 2 kids by the time I had Izzy. She lived in another state and over produced milk. She was able to donate and I was struggling to get just enough for Izzy. So although I did call her for advice, going to a group with a location consultant was super beneficial because I was able to hear many stories from many woman and speak with the consultant at some point during the meeting.
4. Water, Water, Water
Drinking water is crucial when breastfeeding. Think how much fluid you are giving to your baby. If you think you have drank enough… drink more.
Remember you are burning a ton of calories when breastfeeding. So you need to eat! Eat foods that are nutritious and keep taking your prenatal vitamins too! You need energy to heal from the birth, feed your baby and be a mommy.
6. Comfy Breastfeeding Friendly Clothes
Prior to Izzy’s birth I got a few breastfeeding tops and bras. I suggest getting more (keep the tags on and in bags with receipts on most if you are worried you may not produce milk.) You can always have someone return for you, but it’s hard to have people pick things out for you. It’s best to go try things on for comfort and fit. Not only did I have comfy nursing bras, but tanks, tops, robes and dresses.
I hope the things I’ve learned on this motherhood journey are helpful to you.