You could say I’ve been through quite a bit in the last three years with three sons under the age of 3.5 years old! Each pregnancy and birth experience was different and my circumstances and mindset were different too. Therefore how I fed them was also different. I’ve formula-fed. I’ve pumped and bottle-fed. I’ve done combos of both. I’ve just exclusively breastfed.
With my firstborn I didn’t take the time to learn about breastfeeding
With my firstborn, I had no clue what I was doing, and I truthfully didn’t take the time to even educate myself about breastfeeding. I wish when I was a first-time Mom, I had tapped into and been more aware of all the resources/support groups out there for breastfeeding.
I wish when I was a first time Mom, I had tapped into and been more aware of all the resources/support groups out there for breastfeeding.
My oldest was breastfed for one week before I ended up switching to formula. With my middle son I did a mix of breastfeeding and pumping for nine months (mainly pumping!).
My mindset with my youngest was completely different
When pregnant with my youngest son, I made the decision I really wanted to commit to nursing him, and I was really going to take the time to get educated on a breastfeeding plan, as well as seek outside help via a lactation consultant if needed.
However, I wasn’t prepared for my youngest son to enter the world in the way that he did. When he was born he was not breathing. I wasn’t able to hold him immediately, or even attempt to nurse him directly for the first four days of his life.
We were transported to NICU 24 hours after he was born
My son and I were transported via airplane to the NICU 24 hours after he was born, and he was on a CPAP machine for the first 4 days of his life. I really mourned not being able to have that immediate nursing connection with him, but I was committed to breastfeeding so I worked hard with the lactation consultant at the hospital to come up with a plan to get my milk to come in around the circumstances.
I pumped every 2-3 hours sitting next to him until my milk finally started to come in. After 4 days, he was taken off of the CPAP machine, and was just on airflow. It was at this time the hospital let me start to try to nurse him directly and I was so happy.
Whilst our breastfeeding journey didn’t begin how I envisioned, with the right support we got there. My lactation consultant helped me every step of the way with getting my milk to come in, adapting to the unplanned circumstances, and gradually developing the bond I had hoped for.
Our breastfeeding journey didn’t begin how I envisioned, but with the right support we got there.
Being open-minded and adapting is key
One of my biggest takeaways from our unique first few weeks breastfeeding was to be open-minded, and coachable in adapting. I was committed to doing whatever it took to figure out a breastfeeding bond, which meant being open to seeking a lot of help and trial and error until we found what works best for us.
If I could give ANY advice to a mom (new or seasoned) wanting to breastfeed, it would be to mentally commit, but be open to adapting/trial and error as needed. Every baby and experience is unique and so different. I don’t think there is a such thing as a “perfect” immediate breastfeeding experience, so having an open mind, and being open to asking for help can truly make or break your experience. Allowing the lactation consultant to truly help me, and seeking her support, I really believe is the reason my son and I are still breastfeeding, and a huge reason I have the confidence this time around. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!!! You are not alone (even when it can feel isolating). Utilize your resources and support groups!
I’m passionate in supporting all mamas nomatter how they choose to feed
Whilst I’m pro-breastfeeding I support all mamas however they choose to feed their babies. It’s something I’m so passionate about because each one of my boys has been fed differently. Each time, I’ve been and become a different woman and mother.
After each birth, my mental health has been in a different state. Each pregnancy was different. Each labor was different. My life circumstances were different each time. Each one of my sons different humans. One was partially tongue-tied. One came a week early after an abnormal stress test. One was in the NICU for 9 days.
After each birth, my mental health has been in a different state. Each pregnancy was different. Each labor was different. My life circumstances different each time.
I’ve formula fed.
I’ve pumped and bottle fed.
I’ve done combos of both.
I’ve just exclusively breastfed.
You’d never know which son had any formula and which ones didn’t. They are all healthy and amazing, beautiful, handsome, strong boys.
A mother’s mental health is everything
If I could go back to first time mom Jess who felt this immense pressure to only breastfeed or I was a failure of a mom in society, I’d give her a hug, pour her a glass of wine and tell her that her mental health is the most important part of the season she was in. For both her and her baby.
And that when her sons are older, no ONE will look at them and ask them or judge them based off if they were exclusively breastfed or not. And to ignore what anyone else says.
Your children will however look back at photos and remember if their mom was a happy, positive person or not. Your babies will also remember how much you loved them and how present you were in their lives.
A mother’s mental health is everything.
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