Breastfeeding has become a hot topic, and today we are doing some real talk on it. As a mother you hear many different opinions on many different things but breastfeeding is always one of them. Every mama has their own experience and way of doing things and Leah and I are perfect examples of that. We each have had completely different experiences with breastfeeding and we wanted to share them with you.
The funny thing is, we both have felt pressured or ridiculed for our experiences. This is something that moms face day in and day out. Leah and I wanted to share our own experience and say that no matter what you do, as long as you’re trying your best, you’re doing ok! Us moms need to stick together and support each other because let’s face it, our job isn’t easy and it’s probably the most scrutinized.
So here are each of our stories and some great breastfeeding products we recommend along the way! We’d love to keep this conversation going and hear what you have to say on the subject and your experience.
Photos of Jacquelyn by Megan Welker
I remember being pregnant with Court and being nervous if I would be able to breastfeed. I already felt the pressure then with my first baby on the way. My friends had varied experiences and I remember thinking, I just want to try and get to 6 months! That was my goal!! Some of my friends had to supplement and I had a few friends of friends who nursed for a really long time. At the time I thought, ok, that’s weird… I remember another friend saying “if they can ask for it, then you’ve gotta stop”, haha… Little did I know how my breastfeeding experience would go.
– Jacquelyn is wearing a nursing sweater by BOOB –
When I had Court I found that I sort of had a gift for this breastfeeding thing! I produced A LOT of milk, like a lot a lot!! I was able to pump and store a good amount of milk, and was even able to donate it to a friend who couldn’t nurse her baby and to my local hospital. But best of all, I was able to nurse Court and feed him without having to supplement. Court grew and grew, and I still find it amazing that he was completely nourished by me!
Another fun fact… I loved to breastfeed! That was something I had always heard mixed feelings on from other friends. But I personally loved it. It was my special time with my baby and the time I felt the most connected with him. When we had company over I loved sneaking away for some quiet time with Court. And the way your baby touches your face while you breastfeed them, is there really anything better?!
– Jacquelyn’ favorite nursing bra is by Bravado Designs and you can find it here –
Time passed and I surpassed my 6 month goal. Then a year hit, my doctor was so proud of me for continuing to breastfeed for that long. I thought I would stop then, but Court still wanted to nurse! Who was I to deny my son this amazing super food if I had the capability to give it to him? I’ll be honest, it wasn’t always easy. As many of you know breastfeeding can be hard and it’s a selfless act. We give up our bodies for 9 long months being pregnant and continue to do so when we breastfeed. But in a completely selfish way, I still loved having this connection so we kept it up.
– Jacquelyn is using a nursing pillow cover by Woolf with Me –
I breastfed Court till I became pregnant with Cruz. So for 21 long months I fed that little guy and don’t regret it one bit. There were good times; like how he barely ever got sick and still hardly ever gets sick which I credit to breastfeeding and our amazing bonding time. And there were bad times; don’t get me started on the biting phase, and weaning wasn’t easy and broke my heart. My dad even joked sometimes “are you going to be breastfeeding him at his high school graduation” haha!
Speaking of the jokes, I heard a lot different opinions about my breastfeeding… Some positive but a lot negative. Luckily I can say that I’m the type of person that doesn’t really care what others think… Don’t get me wrong, I definitely can be sensitive, but in this case I was so confident in my decision that it didn’t matter. But I did get my fair share of eye rolls and looks of complete shock. Lots of jokes were made about it from family, friends and strangers.
But in the end I’m really proud of myself for nursing Court that long. Yes, he was almost 2, and yes he could ask for it, yes he would even pick which boob he wanted, but in my heart and my mind he needed it.
When I became pregnant with Cruz I again worried, would it be as easy this time? Would Cruz latch quickly and feed as well? Would I produce as much? Did Court suck me dry? Haha… Lots of questions popped into my mind. Luckily we haven’t had any hiccups and Cruz is nursing well and my milk is still coming in strong again. Ultimately I did what worked for me and what was best for my situation. I have no judgements if someone can’t nurse as long or can’t nurse at all! Everyone has to do what is best for them, their family and their baby.
Breastfeeding is such a personal part of being a mom and it’s such a short part of it too. Why set judgement or have stress on something that in the long run only defines such a short time of your journey as a mom? My advice is to see how it goes and make any adjustments as needed but don’t stress yourself out over not having enough or having too much. As long as you give that baby love and nourish them however you need to it will all work out!
When I first got prego with my first Edie back in 2011, I knew I wanted to breastfeed…hands down that’s what was happening. I never really thought about the struggles that came with it for some reason. She was born almost 6 weeks early and that’s when the ball dropped on me. Her birth was traumatic and very stressful. I had her at 10:15 in the evening and was so sick after I had her. I remember them wheeling me back up to my room and her staying in her little incubator down in the NICU. The next thing I remember is waking up in my room and telling my hubby we needed to go down so I could breastfeed her!! I was frantic. When I got down there the nurses had already fed her formula and I was upset that they didn’t ask me first. I get it… there was a lot going on and at the moment they were doing what was best for her, but again, it wasn’t part of the plan. I nursed her as much as could the next 10 days, but it was so difficult because she was in the NICU and I had to pump, which was also depressing. I could see the amount of milk I was producing and it was such a little amount. Now I look back I think about how hard I was on myself. I was a brand new mom, learning it all for the very first time and super stressed that my new little babe was in the NICU. Stressed I wasn’t producing enough milk for her, and pumping never helped the situation. After about 2 months of what seemed like killing myself over it, breast feeding her for so long and then supplementing because she was still hungry, I literally felt like I was feeding her 24/7!! I finally threw in the towel, and after I did I felt so much better. I was harboring so much guilt for not being able to feed her, I felt like I failed. But I finally felt like it was ok…I was still a good mommy and I was doing the best I could.
– Leah’s pajamas are by BOOB –
Fast forward to my second and It was a little better since I knew what I was getting into, although I still had high hopes for myself. A similar situation happened with Isla and she had to be in the NICU as well, but only for 3 days. This time around I was a little better prepared with the pumping and making sure I woke up every 3 hours to make a trip down to the NICU so I could feed her. This time I also got a lactation nurse, which was a good refresher. Then we got home and that night she wouldn’t stop screaming. My husband suggested that she was probably hungry and I didn’t even think about that because I had been feeding her a lot! But sure enough, I made her a bottle and she calmed down. Cue the mom guilt again, but this time it wasn’t as intense. I was still determined to go longer than I did with Edie. I was definitely more relaxed and not as hard on myself.
– Leah’s nursing essential is this nursing tank by Bravado Designs you can layer under anything –
Then my experience with this little guy was different because fortunately he didn’t have to be in the NICU and it made a world of difference having him in my room with me. He nursed for the first four days and we bonded perfectly. On the 4th day though, the nurse suggested I give him formula because he was losing so much weight. It was definitely disheartening, but it was ok. Supplementing was all I knew. I was still going to breastfeed him as much as I could and I was ok with that and so was he.
For me it wasn’t so much the judgement, as it was me being hard on myself. I couldn’t help it at first. I needed to experience the struggle for me to be able to look back and see the bigger picture. I did the best that I could and I was proud of myself. I still bonded beautifully with each of my littles even though it was more through bottle feeding than breastfeeding.
My advise it just to relax. It’s so hard when you have a baby and the pressure is intense, but just slow down and take in the moment of the miracle that was just created. That is by far one of the best things life can offer.
Hope you got something out of this personal post… As parents we are all trying to do our best and none of us want to feel stressed or judged at such a special time. Breastfeeding or feeding your baby can be amazing no matter what. We wish all of you mamas and mamas to be the best experience that is perfect for you.