A mother's guide to breastfeeding your baby for a year & beyond
It has been one year of breastfeeding, its been an incredible journey and I love the bond that we share. The time that he sits and nurses is the time we get to just be together in peace. Its the time that he stares at me and finds comfort in me. I am very grateful for this experience we share.
Before baby boy was born I had it in my mind that I wanted to breastfeed, it was something I was excited for. I was determined to do it. A colleague of mine recommended a book to me called “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding” it is a book by La Leche League, A women’s breastfeeding support group. It covers everything from pregnancy to nursing and weaning. It is a great book that I highly recommend. It answers every concern you may have about breastfeeding. I read this book while pregnant and I was fascinated with all the great benefits of breastfeeding.
During our time in the hospital I worked with the lactation consultant’s multiple times a day. I wanted to ensure Maverick was able to latch correctly, I was able to master the different holds, and I wanted to make sure I had all my questions answered. It was difficult at first, not only was I learning how to master this new skill but I had to teach my baby as well. To make things more difficult my milk was not coming in as quick as I hoped and my baby was jaundice. Pooping and peeing was essential to get those bilirubin levels down and with that we need MILK!
My tips for beginning your breastfeeding journey in the hospital are:
Work with lactation consultants as much as possible let them help you and be hands on.
Start pumping in the hospital to make that milk come in. My baby was sleepy and breastfeeding is about supply & demand. If baby wasn’t nursing the milk wasn’t coming in, so I started pumping. The lactation consult gave me a routine I would change the babies diaper to wake him up, nurse him, then I would pump right after nursing. It was a full times job but it worked!
Drink mothers milk tea to make your supply come in. I was on a mission to make my milk come in and I swear by this tea! I was pumping every couple hours and my supply doubled after just drinking one cup of this tea! My sister in law actually brought this to me in the hospital since I was having issues with my milk coming in and ever since I saw the results i’ve been hooked.
Have your partners support. My husband was in the room 24-7. He was there for the lactation consult meetings, he was there to help me get the baby to latch, get supplies I needed, and help me get comfortable with different breastfeeding positions.
Lots of skin to skin with your baby. There are many amazing benefits to skin to skin contact and one of them according to the womanly art of breastfeeding “It increases the likelihood and length of breastfeeding”
With my baby reaching 12 months the questions have came about weaning, and if I’m done. Truth is I have no idea and its honestly a lot easier to just grab him snuggle him, and nurse him when he’s running around like a wild animal. He is also in a stage where everything goes in his mouth, shoes, dirt, rocks, anything he can get his hands on and I feel like it doesn’t bother me much at this time being because he is nursing and he is getting all those antibodies to combat those germs.
According to the womanly art of breastfeeding there are certain advantages of continued breastfeeding such as sleep time is easier due to the hormones and enzymes that are released with nursing, it is comforting, it is great for illness there is no other medicine or healthy elixir that will make him feel better other than mamas milk. Breast milk is easily digestible so it is great during times of sickness when they can’t stomach anything else.
I feel very blessed to have been able to nurse this long I have some tips and experiences that I can share that you may feel is helpful on your journey.
Be consistent- breastfeeding is all about supply and demand. The more you do it the more milk you will produce. The first couple weeks and maybe even months might feel like your life is an endless cycle of nursing and diaper changing and it mostly is but enjoy it that time is short.
Pump when you are away from baby. It can be a hassle, but it will keep your supply consistent. Start storing a stash of milk as soon as possible, that way if you ever want a date night away from the baby you have a stash ready to go. It is also great to have some milk pumped so your significant other or baby sitter can practice giving a bottle to the baby.
Feed the baby when he is hungry not based on a schedule. Breast milk is digested so quickly that babies tend to eat a lot more than formula fed babies. In the early days it seems like it was a non stop routine of change the babies diaper, nurse the baby, pump, and repeat!
Continue nursing even after starting solids. We started solids around 4 months and still to this day I feel like more food ends up on the floor than in his mouth so he is still requiring breast milk between solid meals.
Ask for help! When I first started breastfeeding I would get a clogged duct every month! Things happen and road bumps come along the way, but don’t give up. I would ask other moms advice or of course search the internet. There are many Facebook groups online that are for groups of moms that ask and answer everyone’s questions about anything motherhood.
Biting is every moms fear. My son will do it every now and then, but I notice it’s usually when he’s done eating and he just wants to play and get a reaction out of me. At that point I remove him completely away from my breast, place him on the ground, and tell him “no thank you!” sometimes a little flick helps as well.
If you are returning to work make sure you have enough breast milk frozen for the baby sitter and continue to pump at work. For questions on this read my guide to pumping at work
There are plenty of yummy snacks to help with your supplies. My favorite are the lactation cookies by mommy knows best. I got them off amazon and all you have to do is mix an egg and butter and bake them. Super easy! If you like protein shakes or smoothies I recommend the Milk drunk protein powder. It is a protein powder made for lactating mothers, it helps with boosting supply. It is a great breakfast or anytime snack alternative and it comes in a variety of yummy flavors. If you want a discount I am an ambassador for them and you can get 10% off by using the code Sarah10
Remember you are not alone! I spoke with a couple of mothers and I had them share their experience and some advice with me on breastfeeding:
Melanie, Mom from Houseontoffee.com (@_houseontoffee) said
“The worst advice I got was Feed every 3 hours, on the dot, not sooner, or later 24/7. Yeah, not going to work for my current baby. He eats every 2 hours (my milk, then supplements with special formula due to cow’s milk allergy) and he sleeps 11 hours at night. Not going to wake him up!
The good part is having a supportive husband! I wasn’t very comfortable feeding in public, I used the two shirt method, baby didn’t like the whole cover idea, but my husband was so supportive and would have made a big deal towards anyone saying something or giving dirty looks.
The bad was lip tie! Thankfully our amazing pediatrician took one look at it and handed me and ENT referral to get them clipped. It made all the difference! From crying in pain during every feeding to now not even really feeling it, it’s soooooo much better now.”
Hi, my name is Su. I’m 35 years old and creator of the blog Dash Of Lemonade
1.How long have you been breastfeeding?
I’ve been breastfeeding since my baby was born, for 21 months now.
2. What was your motivation for breastfeeding as long as you have?
My motivation for breastfeeding this long, besides the nutritional benefits for my baby, has been laziness, convenience, and how it saves me money. No need to sterilize a million bottles and carry them in your diaper bag. When the baby wakes up in the middle of the night not having to get up and prepare a bottle, gives me extra time for some needed rest. When you out and about and your baby gets hungry, just whip one out and latch your little one.
3. What were some difficulties you faced?
When my baby was 3 days’ old started refusing to latch to my right side. I visited a lactation consultant and she noticed that when the baby was trying to latch my nipple was inverting so I had to use a nipple shield for around two weeks, until my nipple decided to cooperate.Now that my baby is older and with a full set of teeth, sometimes breastfeeding can be a little painful but I just reposition his latching to feel more comfortable.
4. Any advice to give to a first time mom who will begin her breastfeeding journey?
Breastfeeding can be a challenge for some new moms. Seeking knowledge and perseverance will be the key for a successful journey. Find a support group on social media or in your community. La Leche League do free in-person meetings in most areas, so this could be a great tool for getting help on anything you may need.
For other great amazon finds to assist in your breastfeeding journey I recommend this amazing book that inspired me, this tea that made that milk supply come in, and these cookies if you want a snack that benefits you, and this boppy. This boppy is great for getting comfortable in various breastfeeding positions.
Disclosure: This post contains amazon affiliate links – that means I will make a very small commission if you happen to make a purchase through one of my links; this helps me keep my site up and running so I can continue to provide you with free workouts, recipes, and resources. There is no additional cost to you!
What is your motivation for breastfeeding or not to breastfeed? Share your experiences below!