two days this little lady of mine turns eleven months! Together, we have battled workouts, sleepless nights, and teething difficulties, and we are still breastfeeding buddies! I never thought I would be able to say I breastfed for this long, but here we are celebrating eleven months of solely breastfeeding, and it doesn’t seem like Adelaide will be wanting to stop any time soon.
I previously wrote a little blog post regarding my journey with breastfeeding, so I’m not going to cover that tonight. If you are interested in my rollercoaster experience, you can read my blog post here. The journey with Adelaide was full of ups and downs for months. The milk would come; the milk would go. Adelaide would be satisfied some days, and other nights she’d be crying because I didn’t have enough that day. As I felt my milk supply start to decline, the memories of my previous experiences with McCarthy and Bennett kept creeping into my mind. Maybe I’m not made for this; maybe my body doesn’t know what it’s doing. This is too stressful. I want to give up! I could give you a hundred reasons for why I wanted to give up! But I would also be able to give you the same number of reasons for why I wanted to keep going.
If you are reading this article and you have chosen not to breastfeed, know there is no judgment coming from this mom. This is my story, my experience, and the choices I made were right for me. I know the battles we face as moms daily! We need to support one another, rally around each other’s situations, and celebrate when someone else makes a breakthrough.
So Adelaide and I pressed on, and I was determined to try everything I could to keep the milk flowing. I love reading blog posts that are short and to the point that give me the information I need without a lot of words. So that is exactly what I’m going to do! Rather than drag you through the emotional mess of my stressed-out-breastfeeding-mom experience…I’m going to fast forward and tell you what did work for me!
Eat your fat:
Fat is amazing because it makes us feel positive, packs nutrition into our bodies, and tastes delicious! When breastfeeding, our babies are feeding off our fat stores and depleting us every day if we are not refueling properly. When people hear “fat,” they often think that eating it will slow down our baby weight loss or make us fatter. This actually couldn’t be more wrong. When we eat healthy fats, our bodies function better. Our bodies know how to burn healthy fats, and our cravings for negative food choices actually are depleted when we eat healthy fats. Drinking coconut milk, for instance, made a huge difference in my milk supply. Coconut milk is packed with delicious fats, and my body was craving more sustenance. I started making protein shakes every day to help my body get more liquid as well as the fat it was craving.
Work out less:
If you would have told me this with babies #1 and #2, I would have told you where to put your opinions. But we live and learn, right? With Adelaide, I definitely noticed a change in my milk supply when I did any workouts over 40 minutes. I started realizing that my body just couldn’t balance breastfeeding and these extended workouts, so I ditched them. I shortened everything to 20-30 minutes a day—quick and powerful—and I saw results. The baby weight kept coming off, and my milk supply increased! Though I believe working out is one of the best things you can do for your mind and body post-baby, there are times when you can overdo it. So set your clock, ladies, for 20 minutes and go! This is the type of workout that will leave you gasping for air and sweating your ____ off. Don’t take it easy on yourself because you’re a mom and you’ve worked hard enough already today! Yep, you heard me! Move your butt and remind yourself who are and why you will not take the easy road.
Let your friends feed your kids:
Okay, this may seem weird to some of you, and that’s okay! When I was in the depths of breastfeeding struggles, I enlisted the help of my sister-in law and my friend Rebecca, who are milk machines, to help me feed Addie while my supply increased. You will never know how thankful I was for those bags of milk and the amount of stress it took off this mom. Struggle is a real thing, ladies. It happens to all of us at some time or another in our lives, so to pretend we have it all together is just way too stressful. Be open, be honest, and trust the people you know have your back with your story…and maybe even let them feed your babies. J
Do what brings you life:
I know in this craziness of having a baby and not being to think straight, the only thing you want to do is sleep. So do that! But then I want you to write down one thing that brings you life and go do it! If your partner is not available, enlist a friend to hold your baby or babies. When we relax our minds and feed our souls, the body responds in positive ways. If we are always running on fumes, our bodies will know it, and so will your baby. Stress does kill your milk supply, and it also can make the flavor of your milk change, causing your baby to be a poor eater. Whether it’s taking 10 minutes in the morning to throw some music on and clear your head or getting your nails done once a week, you do you! This is so important because you’re Mom, and the joy you carry with you is so important to the ones around you.
Do what works for you:
This is my last one, and for me it was the most important. I believe in sleep training and 100% support it, but it wasn’t the best thing for Adelaide early on. My milk dipped, and I panicked. I knew from previous experience that it might not go back up, so I made the choice to wake up in the middle of the night (sometimes many times) and nurse her to keep my body producing. This worked for me! I did wean her off of this at 10 months because I felt like I was solid at that point. Adelaide loves nursing (which was not the case in the beginning), and I feel like we are just the most special team together. Sometimes people’s advice is amazing, and other times you need to shelf it. This is your baby and your body, and you need to do what works for you.
I hope this helps encourage you in your journey. Feel free to leave questions or comments.