Monday, August 8, 2011

World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

So, technically this was last week, but I was so extremely busy I had no time to blog and acknowledge it. Better late than never! I just wanted to share my thoughts and experiences on the subject matter.

This month actually acknowledges 6 months since I stopped breastfeeding Braden. He and I both made the decision that just after he turned 1 year it was time to stop. How did Braden, a 1 year old, help me decide - you ask? Easy! I knew what would be my last time breastfeeding him...but I also had an open mind that if he was showing me signs that he wanted to continue that I would let him, but just in the evenings or mornings if I was home, because I didn't want to let it hinder me going to work or going out to have a social life! It just so happened that Braden and I were on the same page and he never indicated to me once that he wanted to nurse when we stopped.

As odd as it may sound I was really excited to breastfeed when I was pregnant. I was looking forward to that special bond I would create with my baby and to be able to provide him with the perfect food to give him the best start to life as possible. I would have dreams not about labor and deliver...but about nursing! I had some breastfeeding education through my job and I have wonderful resources in my life that have done it with their babies and that have taken the 18 hour breastfeeding course through work.

One of my 3 goals when delivering Braden was to do it naturally (check!), to have no IV (check!), and to have him placed on my chest for skin-to-skin as soon as was safe, preferably right after delivery so I could nurse him ASAP (check!). It was better than the best experience I could have ever imagined. He latched like a champ and we never had a problem from the get go. I am lucky and I count my blessings. I know that.

Here are the things that I have learned and my advice for soon-to-be or new breastfeeding mamas:
  • it hurts! Every book you read (and even some ill-experienced nurses) will tell you that it's not supposed to hurt and that if it does - you're doing it wrong. This is BS with a capital B and every mama who's done it will back me up on this. You might have to adjust the latch, but in all honesty it is toe curling-ly painful at first - literally. It honestly took a good 6 weeks for it to be 100% comfortable and non-painful, just when you think you're getting used to it, your baby will have a growth spurt and you will be raw and sore all over again!
  • if you want to do it, you can! There are so many wonderful resources - use your friends, nurses, lactation consultants, La Leche Leagues, and awesome websites like! My attitude towards it is that there's only a handful of women who cannot produce enough milk and literally cannot breastfeed their babes sufficiently, and that a ton of women in the world have no other option but to can we.
  • don't introduce a pacifier right away. I introduced a soother at 6 weeks and he didn't take it right away...he started at 3-4 months. The recommendation is to introduce it at 3 months or at least until breastfeeding is well established
  • introduce a bottle and start pumping at this time if you want to have the option to pump and give bottles for a bit of a break
  • if you are 100% dedicated to breastfeeding and do not want your baby to receive formula, stick to your guns and don't let breastfeeding naysayers influence your decision. I know that in many hospitals, including the one that I delivered in, have a policy that if the baby's blood sugar is too low the nurses have to give formula...I would NOT have been happy if this was to happen and I am very proud to say that not a drop of formula has ever touched my sons lips
  • breastfeed anywhere and everywhere! I got myself some awesome Hooter Hider nursing covers and they're really easy to use, light, breathable for baby - one of my best investments and I always give them as gifts at baby showers now
  • remember that breastfeeding is FREE! No dishes, no equipment, no extra trips to the grocery store, no warming, re-warming, cooling down! It can save a Canadian family $2000-$3000 per YEAR!
  • it is a unbreakable bond between a mama and babe. I will never forget the middle-of-the-night feedings...and am even getting a bit teary reminiscing...seeing his little eyes peer up at me and then falling into a milk-drunk sleep
  • the health benefits of breastfeeding for mama and can't ignore! I'd have to write a whole other post...or 2....or 3 on this! But some...
    • reduces infection
    • promotes optimal brain development
    • reduces the risk of breast and ovarian cancer for mom
    • decreases health care costs related to asthma, ear infections, GI disease, diabetes, obesity, etc.
    • reduces risk of SIDS
  • did I mention how awesome breastfeeding is for losing the baby weight? My uterus was completely "shrunk" and back home at Braden's 2 week appointment
I am a big advocate for breastfeeding, but I do not judge moms who use formula, and I know that everyone has a different story and a different reason, I just truly believe that if you want to breastfeed - YOU CAN! It's not easy for everyone, and I recognize that...maybe I was one of the few lucky ones? I pray that with our next baby(ies) that it will go as smoothly as it did with Braden, and that if it doesn't we can get through it and make it a positive experience.

It made me really sad that at Braden's 18 month appointment last week when the nurse asked me when I weaned Braden and said 12 months 1 week...she was proud of me, but also said that I was on the very low end of the spectrum of moms who breastfeed so long. Wow. My original goal was to get to 6 months, and hopefully beyond...I'm so glad that I went beyond!!

Breast is best! :)


  1. Excellent advice for new mothers who want to breastfeed! And congratulations on making it to one year. 1 year is my goal and anything over that is bonus. I think I'll also wean like you - don't offer, don't refuse.

    New follower for TAT! Come visit me at

  2. love this post. and yes, you were one of the lucky ones! i also believe if you truly want to breast feed you can, but as per my own experience, it can be a bitch! after having all the education i've had since then, i'm sooo excited for breastfeeding when i have another one. i would have done things so differently. and told certain people at the hospital to shove the formula up their ass!

  3. Thanks for following, Jet's Journey I'll be sure to return the favor!

    Laura, I always have you in mind when talking about BF'ing and YOU of all people gave it THE most valiant effort that anyone ever could! Thanks for the comment, I'm so excited for you to have another go at it with your baby #2 whenever that is!

  4. Great post and congrats on breastfeeding for a year! What a fantastic accomplishment, Momma :)


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