Over the last few weeks I’ve been asked to share any and all tips I have in regards to breastfeeding which I’m jazzed about it because hi, I love nursing BUT I’ve decided that this “tip” needs to be said first:
In regards to feeding your child, your way is the right way ✨
No one can tell you how often to feed your babe, how many ounces you should be pumping, how much calories you should be consuming and what those calories should or shouldn’t be. There are no right answers because feeding babies isn’t an exact science! The only thing I can say with 100% certainty is that EVERY single mama has the right to feel confident in feeding her baby in a way that feels right for them. Whether that’s exclusively breastfeeding, exclusively pumping, formula feeding or any combination of the above. I will gladly share MY unique experience for whom ever is interested but this is my experience and my experience alone. Take what I have to say with a grain of salt and PLEASE don’t think any less of yourself if my experience differs from yours… it should — we are all so uniquely different ♥️
Q: When did your milk come in?
A: With each babe it was different! With Preston is took 4 days, Evlin was 2 days and Opal what less than 24 hours.
Q: What was your experience like with teaching your children how to nurse?
A: I love this question because each experience was so unique. Preston and I had a really rough go at trying to nurse. I was struggle with my milk coming in so late and no one informed me I could pump to encourage it. After a week of struggling and Preston losing a bit of weight, we discovered that he has a severe tongue tie that needed to be resolved. We tried to nurse for a few weeks after that but it was more stressful than enjoyable so I decided I would exclusively pump. I pumped for a year before we called it quits.
With Evlin, she latched on instantly and nursed like a champ BUT I couldn’t get her to take a bottle no matter how hard I tried. I exclusively breastfed her for 2 years before I needed to stop for my own mental health.
My experience with Opal has been the best yet, she is such a gentle and efficient nurser. She loves to eat but she always loves to nurse for comfort and I cherish the time I get with her. We are still working on getting her to take a bottle but she isn’t as opposed to it as Evlin was. Fingers crossed we’ll get her to take one more willingly soon!
Q: Do you pump? If so, which pump? How often and how many ounces?
A: I do pump! I started pumping the second my milk came in to ensure my body knew it needed to create a surplus.
I used the Spectra pump (I love it) and pump two to three times a day depending on her sleep. I’m able to pump an additional 15-20 ounces a day. This is A LOT! I over produce and will be donating all of it.
Q: Do you nurse on demand? How often does Opal eat?
A: I do and always will. I can respect a schedule (I’m obsessed with routine) but I let my babies tell me when they want to eat, find comfort or get some extra boob time.
Right now, Opal is eating every hour on the hour during the day and will wake up once or twice at night to nurse. I’m predicting she’ll space out her eating soon.
Q: How do you feel about nursing in public or in a family setting?
A: Babies gonna eat when the baby wants to eat! I try to be respectful as possible but I’m not going to make my baby wait to eat if she’s hungry. If people have an issue with it, they are welcome to not stare.
Q: Do you think your diet and water intake comes into play when talking about milk production?
A: Yes and no. I try to eat a well balanced diet regardless if I’m nursing or not. Same with my water intake, it doesn’t vary a whole lot BUT I think it’s really important to take into consideration what’s going to help you preform your best. I try to eat whole grains, fiber, healthy fats and plenty of protein to ensure my body is getting enough nutrition to provide for me and for Opal. In regards to water, I do notice a drop in my milk production when I consume lower than my normal intake — usually 1.5 to 2 gallons a day. (it’s a lot, I know!)
Q: Number one thing you’d recommend for first timers?
A: This is a hard one because I have so many tips!
I’d have to say it would be to understand it’s a learning process for both the mom and the baby. It is a natural thing but for a lot of babies, it doesn’t come naturally. Seek out help before you even leave the hospital. Lactation consultants are there for a reason!
Q: How many calories would you recommend to eat?
A: Everyone needs a different amount of fuel so I can”t say exactly. My recommendation is to make sure you’re eating when hungry and to keep snacks around for quick munching. Right after you have a baby/when you’re trying to develop your production is not the right time to worry about eating too much!
If I had to guess, I’d presume my intake is around 3000 calories a day.
Q: Does nursing ever hurt?
A: In regards to actual nursing, it shouldn’t! There is a difference between nipple pain and nursing pain. Sensitive nipples are one thing but if the actual nursing process hurts, checking your babies latch is recommended. Lactation consultants can help with this!