When I first became a mother, breastfeeding was the hardest part. It left me feeling stuck – in a chair, on the couch, in the car…I guess I didn’t realize how rigorous feeding a baby every 2 hours would be. It was isolating. It was messy. It was milk-stained shirts for months. You have to calm your body down, slow down, and enjoy the time with your baby. It’s been the toughest, yet most rewarding part of motherhood yet.
Now that she’s almost 2 (23 months to be exact), I’m hoping she begins the weaning process naturally, but I’m letting her take the lead and not forcing anything. However, I’ve gotten an overwhelming amount of people asking me how I made it this long, so I thought I’d share a few tips!
Disclaimer: *I’m no lactation consultant, but this is what worked for me as a stay-at-home mom*
Invest in the Right Breast Pump
When I was pregnant everyone tried to tell me I could get a breast pump through my insurance like it was so easy! It was not. I ended up receiving an electric breast pump as a gift…but sadly I’ve only used it once!
I quickly realized I preferred my hand pump, which I’ll link below. The hand pump is great for stay at home moms who have a baby on one breast and a leaky breast on the other side. Aurora always hated the sound of the electric pump and would literally rip the tubes out and freak out 😂 The hand pump was great for me personally, because I didn’t pump unless she was feeding. It pumps right into the bottle that you can store in the fridge or freezer. And since I stayed at home and she didn’t really ever take a bottle, we used the extra milk for the occasional feeding with Daddy.
2. Pay attention to your diet!
I was never one to cut out entire food groups because our breastfeeding journey has always been pretty smooth. However, if your baby’s body isn’t agreeing with your milk, this is something to look into. My bigger issue was getting enough food. I lost all the baby weight PLUS 20 more pounds while breastfeeding. I was skinnier than I had ever been, and it made breastfeeding uncomfortable. I started eating a lactation bar as soon as I woke up in the morning, added lots of healthy snacks throughout the day, drank protein shakes, and started eating more REAL foods.
3. Nursing Bras are EVERYTHING!
I had terrible back pain when I first started breastfeeding. Posture is very important, but what helped my posture even more was buying nursing bras that didn’t strain my back. Plus…nursing bras are specially designed to pull down easily. I’ve linked my favorites below:
4. Breast Pads
When I was in the heat of breastfeeding a newborn, I couldn’t leave the house without these. I’d suggest keeping a few extra in the car, in your bag, at home…you never want to be somewhere in public with leaky boobs and no way out 😅
5. Lastly, put your phone down!
Okay okay, I know what you’re thinking…breastfeeding is boring! Why can’t I look at my phone? You totally can! However, for that *initial latch/letdown* process, I’ve noticed that paying attention to my body & Aurora’s cues really helped things go more smoothly. You can always wait until your baby is asleep to pick your phone back up again 😉 Just relax, be patient and soak up the cuddles.
Again…what works for one person doesn’t always work for another, and I’m not an expert, but I know breastfeeding can seem so overwhelming in the beginning. I hope sharing my experience will help another new mama out there get by just a little easier.
XO, Elizabeth ❤️