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For National Breastfeeding Month, I wanted to create this comprehensive, useful post about different aspects of breastfeeding. I’m pretty private about my breastfeeding, so I don’t have a ton of posts on the topic. Luckily, I have plenty of other great stories to share with you! I wanted to share posts with different viewpoints and a really positive and supportive message. Please click through the links to read other posts about breastfeeding from some awesome bloggers over at Mom Blog Tribe along with a few of my other blogging buddies! From my expereince, breastfeeding is so rewarding, but also challenging.
This Breastfeeding Handbook can help you stay organized!
You Need Stuff
You’ve obviously got the basic equipment, but if you want to make your life easier, products like a breast pump and nursing pads are going to come in handy. I’d also suggest investing in some comfortable bras and tanks. Here are my favorite products:
Alexendria also has a list of her favorite things for breastfeeding at Naturally Made With Love.
There’s A Learning Curve
For something so natural, it doesn’t always come naturally! I didn’t take a breastfeeding class, so I had a lot of on the job training! Breastfeeding can definitely be hard in those first few days, especially while you and baby get to know each other.
Figuring out a good latch, waiting on milk to come in and trying to take care of yourself while taking care of your little one can all be difficult in those early days. They’re pretty much a blur to me now. Feed, sleep, repeat.
As your baby gets older, nursing sessions can take longer, and babies may start to lose interest in feeding when they start noticing the world around them. This wasn’t a big problem with my oldest. My younger kids had more to be distracted about. If you have older kids in the house, you may need to head to quieter territory.
Read how Lacey of Small Town Solace created a distraction free zone!
I learned so much about breastfeeding during the first weeks of life. A few months later, I felt like a pro!
Pumping is Hard Work
Let’s face it, this part isn’t fun. It takes a lot of time, and you don’t really get much appreciation. But, if you’re a working mom, it’s pretty much unavoidable.
Check out the tips on pumping and storage from Tarynn at Mama by Fire
I see stories about other moms who have 100+ ounces stashed in their freezer. Or, maybe they’ve been donating. These moms are so amazing!
You can read Stephanie’s incredible story about donating breastmilk at Monarch Mommy.
I can’t imagine having that much extra milk, because I always struggled with pumping. Every ounce was precious and very needed for when I was away at work.
I can totally relate to Inez wanting to cry over spilled milk over at Diary of a New Mommy! That stuff is like liquid gold!
Whether you’re pumping for an occasional night out, pumping for working hours only or exclusively pumping, it can definitely take some getting used to!
Read about Brooke’s experience as an exclusively pumping mom on From Nurse to Mom
You Have To Make Sacrifices
Time. Breastfeeding takes a lot of time. In the beginning, you really have to focus on what you’re doing. Once my kids started to gain head control, they started to need less and less help. Eventually, I was able to do some multitasking if I really needed to.
Diet. You’ve really got to pay attention to what you’re eating. You’re trying to eat healthy foods, keeping your calories up, and drinking enough water. If there are allergy concerns, you may have to change your diet. My youngest had lots of tummy issues as an infant. At one point, I eliminated milk and soy from my diet in order to continue breastfeeding. I have introduced soy back, but I haven’t had dairy in almost two years!
Sleep. I haven’t had any in quite a while. My older two kids slept through the night around 6 months old. My youngest still doesn’t sleep through the night.
Carolina of Mama Instincts explains how she feeds her baby in bed.
Relationships. If you’re co-sleeping or just plain not sleeping, you can easily get over tired, which can have an effect on your relationships with your spouse and other children.
Naya talks about how breastfeeding can affect intimacy.
You Want Just the Right Amount of Milk
I didn’t have a lot of trouble with this, but I know so many moms who struggled with their milk supply.
Sophia describes her struggle with an oversupply.
If you’ve got too much milk, you’ll also want to check out these tips that help with breast engorgement from Monarch Mommy.
Others may not be making enough milk. Luckily, Julie has some options to boost your supply!
Not Everyone is Supportive
While attitudes towards breastfeeding are definitely getting better, there is still room for improvement. Over the years, I’ve encountered my share of less than supportive friends and family members, as well as some breastfeeding bullies.
I know a lot of moms who are confident enough to breastfeed in public. I though maybe I’d get there eventually, but the introvert in me still likes to have some privacy.
Mama Instincts has 8 tips to nurse in public without fear.
Tiffani at My Mommy Vents checked in with other moms to see how they felt about the issue.
There May Be Challenges
Just when things start to go smoothly, small changes can affect your routine. My kids would struggle during bouts of teething or go through growth spurts where they wanted to nurse constantly. They’d also have trouble on trips or when my work schedule changed.
Christine from Tapped Out Travellers talks about traveling while breastfeeding
Taking Care of Yourself while Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is so hard when you’re sick. But, even when you’re feeling your worst, your milk is usually still the best option!
All Good Things Come To An End
My older two kids self weaned around 13 months. My youngest is still breastfeeding as a toddler, and I may have to read up on how to wean her if she doesn’t decide to do it on her own.
I’ve truly enjoyed breastfeeding all of my babies and it will be bittersweet once they’re all done. When I look back, breastfeeding my babies was so rewarding and I will be a little sad. Although, I will appreciate the sleep and freedom!
That finishes off my post! What things were the most memorable or unexpected during your breastfeeding experiences?