Breastfeeding is hard – at least, for some moms, at some times. This post is meant to encourage you in your breastfeeding journey and let you know you’re not alone. I’ve partnered with Lansinoh for this post.
Wednesday will mark 8 months of exclusively breastfeeding my son, Gideon. 8 months! Where has the time gone? Normally around the 6 month mark I introduce solids into my baby’s diet but with Gideon it’s been different. I tried giving him pureed butternut squash around 6 months and he gagged. Literally gagged. I tried again a few days later with applesauce, then again with sweet potatoes, then with pears.
No matter what I’ve tried, he’s gagged every time. I even tried to give him a tiny bit from my finger instead of a spoon. It didn’t matter. More than anything, especially with his strong aversion to anything but milk, I’m thankful that my breasts continue to provide all the nourishment that he needs right now. Breastfeeding is so natural and easy for us both, but it hasn’t always been that way.
I wanted to write a post today to encourage breastfeeding moms out there who are struggling right now. I know breastfeeding can be tough — trust me, I’ve been doing this off and on for nearly 7 years now, with 4 different babies. The sucky truth about breastfeeding is that it can be really rough sometimes. I’ve dealt with plugged ducts, mastitis, over supply, severe engorgement, babies that are awake every 90 minutes throughout the night wanting to nurse, biters, etc..
The first 4 months of breastfeeding baby Gideon were pretty miserable for me, due to an extreme oversupply of milk. I was engorged for so long! Trust me when I tell you there were many nights and days that I just wanted to break down and cry. There have been plenty of times when I wanted to call it quits, but I’ve fought through the trials and, let me tell you, it’s been worth it! There’s nothing better than to look down into my sweet boy’s eyes while he’s nursing and he breaks his latch to smile back at me, milk spilling out of his mouth in the process. It’s a bonding time we get to enjoy a few times a day and it’s an immediate comfort for him 24/7.
If you are within the first 6 weeks of breastfeeding, just hold on. Take it one day at a time. Trust me, the first 6 weeks are definitely the worst. It will be SO much better after that. Breastfeeding will not always be a struggle.
Of course, there are products out there that can help you along the way too. The following have been a big help to me over the past 8 months:
- Lansinoh SmartPump: This pump has been wonderful and the free app that goes along with it has just been amazing! It’s made keeping track of my pumping session, diaper changes, feedings, etc., SO much easier. If you’re breastfeeding, even if you’ll be a stay at home mom, a quality breast pump should be one piece of baby gear that all nursing mamas own!
- aden + anais Nursing Pillow I found the pillow to be so helpful during the first few weeks of nursing and then I stopped using it. Well, lately my son has gotten much heavier and I find myself thankful for the added support it provides at nursing time.
- HPA Lanolin: Look, there is nothing worse than sore nipples….well, maybe nipples with bite marks (ouchie!). HPA Lanolin is amazing to soothe them! I make sure to always have some on hand, just in case, especially for the first few weeks.
- Lactation cookies: There are tons of recipes out there, but if your supply starts to dip, they are a delicious way to build it back up. My favorite is this Chocolate Lovers Lactation Cookie recipe.
- Therapearl 3-in-1 Breast Therapy Gel Packs: Ladies, you MUST have these! They provided me so much relief during the first few weeks and, as a bonus, even though I haven’t needed them for my nipples in a few months, I keep them in the freezer and they have been used for sunburn relief, headaches, and other ailments. This is one of those breastfeeding supplies that I make sure I have on hand before my baby is even born!
If you’re struggling right now, please know that it will get better AND that there are people out there who will gladly support you and help you in any way they can. You don’t have to go through this alone! I’m here, companies who produce breastfeeding products, like Lansinoh, are there for you, you could look for a local La Leche League, or you could even join a Facebook support group for breastfeeding moms. If you’re struggling right now, get some help and just try to take it one day at a time. You can do this mama!