My Breastfeeding Journey

I’ve been having my boobs used and abused for four weeks and counting! WOOH. In all fairness, it really is the coolest thing my body has ever done. I think breastfeeding is so fascinating. My body creates everything Annie needs to sustain life. That is truly wild! But it’s hard. And I won’t say people don’t tell you that – I think most people go into breastfeeding worrying about how hard it will be. And according to professionals, that’s why most new moms give up before they really get started.

But this isn’t a “breast is best” speech. Fed is best, always. But if you are starting your breastfeeding journey, I hope hearing from someone who is going through it gives you a little more confidence.

What the hell is “nipple confusion?”

I still don’t know! I got heavily judged by the breastfeeding consultant for having a pacifier on hand for Annie at the hospital. This clueless mom didn’t know that pacis were frowned upon for newborns. Whoops!

But Annie B came out with the instinct. From the moment they placed her on my chest, she started rooting, and we latched by that afternoon. Maybe the paci messed us up? I have continued to give it to her because she loves it. At a certain point, she started to just use my boob as a soothing device, and mama needs a break. The paci totally calms her down and teaches her not to just hang out at the teet. Eat or leave, woman! But she started to struggle a little bit with latching after she got attached to it. I guess it’s a lot easier to latch onto a little rubber toy. So that’s probably the nipple confusion everyone talks about. Can you tell I’m definitely a professional on this topic?

Does breastfeeding hurt?

In a word, duh. Everyone says it doesn’t hurt forever, but I don’t think that’s true. You do get used to it, but the older Annie gets, the more aggressive she seems to be. I am not made of pull taffy. My mom says that she’s not old enough to understand the consequences of her actions, but I have made a habit of stopping the latch when she bites. I just won’t stand for the disrespect to my bits.

How’s your milk supply?

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I was worried about whether or not my milk would come in while I was pregnant, but I soon realized that I wasn’t having any issue. I was leaking in my sleep at 30 weeks.

But I did worry about keeping it up. I wanted to create a milk stock in the freezer just in case I ever stopped being able to breastfeed. Plus, Tanner enjoys feeding her a bottle here and there so they can get that same bonding time in. So, I came across Milkful, a Charlotte-based lactation treat company. I love supporting North Carolina businesses! You’ve probably heard a lot about women eating ten lactation cookies a day. I am not on that train, although any excuse to eat ten cookies a day would be nice. Milkful recommends one to two bars a day as you’re trying to increase your supply.

Do lactation bars work? I can’t speak for all brands, but these sure do. In fact, they might work a little too well. I am now only having about one bar a week. When I first tried them, I went full throttle with two bars a day. Normally, I could only pump about 2 ounces at a time, maybe once a day. And that didn’t even make it into the freezer stock – Annie would just take it in a bottle right away to give me a little break. After Milkful, I pumped 4 ounces that went straight into the freezer, and needed to pump again by that night. So, yes. These things clearly worked for me.

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I recommend Chocolate Banana Nut if you like your bars to have a little more texture, but I love them all!

How do you pump and store breastmilk?

I started out with a hand pump because I didn’t want to buy equipment that I didn’t end up using if something were to go wrong. There’s no returning breast pumps once you open the packaging! But after nearly giving myself arthritis over two measly ounces, I wanted to get a real pump. And not something that needed to be rolled out in some sort of ridiculous suitcase. I’m not about being confined to one space for any reason. I chose the Willow Pump for exactly that reason. It is slightly more expensive than other mechanical pumps, but it has been worth every penny.

Please brace yourself. The following image not only reveals some serious mom-bod, but much like other wearable pumps, the Willow looks like something out of a sci-fi movie. But we’re normalizing breastfeeding, right? So here’s the truth.

There’s a bit of a learning curve with this type of pump, since it doesn’t come with a bra to attach each side of the pump. You can just wear them with bralettes or standard nursing bras to hold them into place. It’s totally hands-free, and tracks how much you’re pumping on an app. I can watch how much I’m pumping in real time, or just go about my business and the Willow will turn off when the bag is full or after 25 minutes, whichever comes first. I also get notifications directly on my phone for any issues that might require my attention, like a loss of suction or an improper latch. Although, I haven’t had those problems so far. The Willow is pretty easy to use, once you get the hang of it.

Here’s the thing.

Whatever works for you is your business. As long as your baby is full, you’re killing it. But if breastfeeding freaks you out, I hope reading about it from a fellow first timer helps you get the hang of things. And please, please, please, if you meet someone who is formula feeding their baby, don’t ask why. That’s between them and their OB/pediatrician. You never know someone else’s story, and more importantly, it’s none of your business!

A very full baby.

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becs lynk

thanks for visiting! there's a first time for everything, and I share those firsts here every week. to chat one on one, follow me on Instagram @becs.lynk

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