Breastfeeding ROCKS!

Breastfeeding in the car

My usual place to nurse while out – in the car! This is Samuel and me when he was 4 months old.

I am a huge breastfeeding supporter and I’d like to offer some helpful tips and links for other mamas out there. I weaned our two year old (born 09/08/2011) last fall (2013) after 25 months. Believe me, he was a breastfeeding supporter too! ;) He showed his support by being a very enthusiastic nursling. Haha

I have found breastfeeding to be the natural and beautiful thing it was designed to be. I nursed our daughter (now 14 years old) until she was 14 months old and our first son (now 10 years old) until he was 16 months old. I LOVE breastfeeding for all its benefits and blessings to both mother & baby, and would cherish seeing a BIG jump in the numbers of breastfeeding mamas in the coming years!

World-Health-Organization-job-vacancy

“The World Health Organization recommends that infants start breastfeeding within one hour of life, are exclusively breastfed for six months, with timely introduction of adequate, safe and properly fed complementary foods while continuing breastfeeding for up to two years of age or beyond.” Check out the WHO’s 10 Facts about Breastfeeding Even though there is strong “evidence” that breastfeeding is the best thing for babies and toddlers, it also just makes sense. Think about it, why else would God design women’s bodies to *perfectly* feed their young if that really wasn’t the best thing for them? What did women do for the centuries before formula existed, if there was some reason a woman couldn’t nurse? They had another woman nurse the baby! Breastfeeding is appropriate and necessary for optimal health.

All that being said, it is normal to have concerns come up in the first few days, weeks, and months of breastfeeding. Take heart - MOST breastfeeding issues can be resolved! Please look here if you need help. kellymom_badge128

  • I had a blocked milk duct about a week after I had my little one, Samuel. It was very painful and hot. I was thinking that I’d have to go to the doctor, get put on antibiotics (because you do NOT want to let an infection go unattended!) but after reading about natural remedies in a breastfeeding book I had, I quickly began doing the suggested things, which were: heat under the arm (I used a heating pad for 15 minutes at a time), rest (I treated myself like I was sick), drank more water, and nursed FREQUENTLY. It cleared up after 2 days so I stopped doing those things. Then it came back. I did the “treatment” for 2 more days and it was gone! No meds needed, thank goodness. My point is that there ARE ways of naturally resolving issues, so be informed! :) *Update Feb 21, 2013* For some reason I am really prone to clogged ducts this time because I have had a total of FOUR since his birth. *sigh* BUT, I have been able to treat them at home and all is well.
  • Also, check out this post about how I handled being bitten when Samuel was 12 months old, and having to heal from the cut on my nipple while continuing to nurse. *Another update* – THREE bites in 19 months…3 treatments…still going strong! ;)

Be very cautious about using formula. I don’t say this because it’s bad or anything, but because of the effect it can have on breastfeeding. If you “top off” your baby with formula because they are not satisfied at the breast, it TELLS YOUR BODY you don’t need to make more! Especially at the beginning, it is crucial to let the baby nurse as often as they need to so that he/she can show your body how much they need! And those first few weeks are the “establishing” of your milk supply, so use caution! Growth spurts (multiple feedings) are responded to by a woman’s breasts. Your body will continue to make the same amount, instead of increasing, if you stop at a certain point and then give formula. Manual breastpumpWhen breastfeeding, you may decide to offer expressed milk. First, unless you plan on hand expressing, you will need a breast pump. If you need to do some serious pumping (to feed a preemie, for example) you can usually rent one from the hospital. For a mother who will just be using one for part of the time, though, you can read reviews by other moms before you buy. It’s important that you know how to store and reheat breast milk, so here are guidelines for safe handling and storage. Speaking of pumping:

  • Found this wonderful article on Pumping as a Stay At Home Mom – it has so much great information!
  • I worked part-time when our daughter was a baby and I was exclusively breastfeeding (no formula), so I bought an Evenflo single electric pump and used it one time per shift. I had to plan to feed her right before leaving for work and right when I got home. It was only slightly challenging, and well worth it! With both our boys I’ve stayed home but I bought an Avent manual pump so that I wasn’t the only one able to feed them. My husband has enjoyed being able to stay with Samuel and not have to rush me to come home. With our older son, Joshua, he refused the bottle after about 4 months, but at 8 months I was able to give him expressed milk in a sippy cup, so you should know that this option is available for the older baby/toddler.
  • Here’s a fantastic post on Exclusively Pumping, with foods and herbs to increase your milk supply.
  • And another great post on boosting your milk supply.

just mommies

Please reach out for support as much as you can! Did you know you can visit friendly and active message boards to get breastfeeding support? JustMommies is a good one. Baby Whisperer is another one that is always very active. There is no topic untouched on these boards. Feel free to read and ask away!

Breastfeeding twins

Feeding Twins? Check out http://Breastfeedingtwins.org.

~~~~~Recommended blog posts~~~~~~

Check out this post for 10 Things Nobody Told Me about Breastfeeding - it’s a sweet and informative post. Aside from the bit about supplementing with formula, I agree with everything she says.

Need a good laugh while learning about the mechanics of breastfeeding? Check out this post! You’ll find out if boob size makes a difference, and how exactly it is that we make milk. So funny.

A big concern for new moms can be summed up in one word: Poop! ;) There is a HUGE range of what’s considered normal, especially among breastfed babies. If you are concerned, have a look here. And then if you’re still not sure, definitely run it by your baby’s pediatrician.

Nursing in public can be intimidating. Check out this article with a great many practical tips for feeding your baby in public.

Please read this mama’s wonderful experience of breastfeeding twins for the first 6 months. So inspiring!!

A great review of a nursing bra.

There are plenty of “feminist” reasons NOT to nurse…and this post fights them all! I dare you to argue with this woman! Lol

Here is a post full of breast milk remedies for common ailments like pink eye and bug bites!

An article on tips to getting a better night’s rest, while continuing to breastfeeding – from newborn to toddler!

I highly recommend a wonderful article about keeping it simple; it is a very calming post and reminds us how natural breastfeeding truly is.

It is possible to continue nursing while pregnant for a great many women. For some, the milk will dry up or lessen significantly, but others can continue all the way through to delivery, and then even tandem nurse once the new little one arrives.

I enjoyed this post about a mother’s experience being pregnant and breastfeeding her talking 2-year-old. So sweet!

And  MoreThanJustAMumBlog gives the reasons she breastfeeds: “It’s what nature planned babies to have (made by mum not a factory) It protects them (they can’t catch things like tummy bugs when exclusively breast-fed) I’m lazy! No bottles no sterilisers etc Night feeds are sooooo easy. I don’t need to turn on lights or leave my comfy bed It’s better for me, my body and future health”

An important article on D-Mer, which is a physiological response to milk letdown, causing negative emotions from Kellymom.

This is a very encouraging post by Tedavidson, who reminds us of some important facts about breastfeeding.

Here is a mother’s experience, where she nursed her one year old while pregnant for as long as she could.

A beautiful article on trusting your body and allowing your baby and breasts to work together.

This post has great advice on the how-to’s of bottle-feeding a breastfed baby, from when to introduce a bottle to what you can do if they refuse it.

Be aware of the possibility of Tongue Tie if you are having continued problems nursing. Check out this article which has the signs & symptoms as well as the treatment (and LOTS of feedback from mothers with babies who have gone through it).

Also, a mama shares her experience and gratitude for tongue tie division.

Is your baby getting enough milk? Find out in this wonderful post!

A beautiful list of ten things that contributed to the breastfeeding success of a mommy of three!

My poetic experience of breastfeeding our third child, from baby to toddlerhood.

An awesome post on the truth of breastfeeding, and how it “sucks” . ;)

A mama shares the reality of a major growth spurt with her little one, and how their breastfeeding schedule looks while going through it. Great info!

And here are 25 Historical Images That Normalize Breastfeeding!

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Weaning is sometimes the easiest thing in the world to do and other times, a real challenge! There are many reasons a woman decides to wean; it might be her choice, or it might just be impossible to continue nursing any longer. Whatever the reason, mamas need support! In my experience, it has been harder for me than our little ones (emotionally, I mean). What helps ease the blow? Weaning gradually. With our daughter, I began at 12 months and ended at 14. I took 2 months to wean her so that we both adjusted to it. With our son it was done over a 3 day weekend and that was much harder on me physically and emotionally. While he was only nursing to go to sleep for his nap and bedtime (and the middle of the night) it was still hard on me emotionally. I do not recommend weaning quickly. We only did it because he began fighting me after nursing and then still wouldn’t go to sleep. My husband took over naptime and bedtime that weekend and he did fine. But again, I don’t suggest doing this!

  • Kellymom has a good amount of information on weaning.
  • This article is a nice one about extended breastfeeding.
  • Some parents decide to let their child self-wean. I have no experience with this, but they say that the average age of self-weaning is somewhere between two and four years. I would not be ok to have my 3 or 4 year old still nursing, so this isn’t an option for us, but some mamas do – and more power to them! :)
  • This article is one worth checking out! She talks about how important breastfeeding is, as well as about early weaning and why/how to avoid it.
  • Check out this wonderful post from LatchLove on Extended Breastfeeding.
  • Here’s a blog carnival on extended breastfeeding focusing on twins, but singletons are welcome too.
Breastfeeding Samuel at 14 months.

Fourteen months old. He was sick at the time and nursing was a comfort to both of us.

Seventeen months old and still happily breastfeeding.

Seventeen months old and still happily breastfeeding.

Medela Breastpump Image Credit: reuvenim via photopin cc

Twins Image Credit: TheDivineGoat via photopin cc

Updated May 2014

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71 thoughts on “Breastfeeding ROCKS!

  1. Pingback: Healing from a Baby’s Bite « Atlantamomofthree

  2. This is such an encouraging post! I come from a family that is very very modest, so breast-feeding has always been done behind closed doors, so it has been hard for me to get the hang of previously. With my first 2, I just wasn’t comfortable making them uncomfortable. Whenever we are blessed with the next one, I’ll be visiting your posts a lot :)

    • I know the feeling. I have slowly changed a bit each time (each child I BF’ed, I mean). With my first I only fed at home or in a room alone if we were out. With my second I would nurse in the car occasionally and I used a cover-up a lot when out. With my third, I have nursed in the car uncovered on a regular basis (we don’t have tinting either), on family’s sofas, and even on park benches uncovered (but still discreetly)! I do not put anyone else in an uncomfortable situation, though. For example, I excuse myself and go in another room if we’re at my grandfather’s house because he would likely have a heart attack seeing me nurse since his wife only bottle fed and he isn’t accustomed to seeing that sort of thing! I am considerate of others, *however*, I am going to feed my child one way or another. ;) Glad I am of some encouragement to you!

  3. To add to your mention of pumping to breastfeed a preemie (or any other baby who needs to stay in the hospital for a prolonged period), many insurers will cover the cost for a rental OR (BIG OR) the cost of your own pump. Since I traveled from San Diego to Boston in order to deliver my baby with a heart defect, a rental would not have made sense, since only a one time rental is covered. I was able to pick up a Medela Pump in Style Advanced at a local medical supply store and it was covered 100% by insurance! Make sure to check with your insurer.

    • Wow!! Those things are expensive too! I worked at Babies R Us when my daughter was small, and that pump was $249!! Yikes. That is *awesome* that your insurance covered it! :) Thanks for the info too.

      • Re-on the topic of pumps: in Germany, if you have bfing difficulties, you can get your doc to prescribe you a pump and get a hospital-grade Medela at home for free. Once the prescription expires, you get a further one. I had a Medela Symphony at home for 3 months, and didn’t even pay the cost of the first batch of membranes/bottle.

    • Thank you! Yes, I *feel* passionate about it. :D It’s how God designed for us to feed our young and for CENTURIES that’s exactly what women did! I want women to know that there are solutions to B/F’ing problems, and to stick with it. It’s so, so good for baby! Thanks for stopping by. :)

  4. Yes, I’m so glad there’s a personal blog out there to help mom’s with breastfeeding, had I known how good it was for my daughter way back when I would have breastfed longer and not grumbled so much. Not that I didn’t know but there were conflicting studies saying formula was just as good, but that’s silly because all I had to do was read the label to see how false that was!!! These experts were probably getting kickbacks from the corn growers to tell that big fat STORY. But that’s another topic lol. Anyway, I’m glad there is help and encouragement for mothers now. Much better than the early 90′s. Not that there wasn’t information out there but, it’s so easy now to get anything you need online. And what’s better then a personal no kickbacks blog!!!! Blessings, Valerie.

  5. Love this post! I have been nursing (and tandem nursing) our 3 kids for 6 years since I first became a mom and everyday I thank God for His wonderful design. It’s hard to do sometimes, but the benefits outshine the struggles. Thanks for sharing!

    • God sure did design us wonderfully, didn’t He?! I am in awe STILL that our bodies can make babies (well, with His hand in it, I mean) from microscopic cells and then procede to feed those babies without any need of supplement until they are months & months old! Do you go with the WHO’s recommendation of two years then? I am up in the air as to how long I’ll nurse Samuel, though we both feel 18 months is minimum. :)

    • Thanks! I know, I wish I taken more too. I’m not in as many photos as I should’ve been because I was the main one behind the camera! I am trying to be more conscious about that because I will wish I had more pics of me in years to come.

  6. Love this page and love your bfing pic so beautiful and pure :). And I love the little bfing supporter lol! And thanks for sharing my blog post!

    By breastfeeding, I feel close to the Almighty everyday as I help sustain another life that He created. Please keep up the good work and passion! We need mommies like you!

    • YES!! I feel closer to the Lord while breastfeeding, and when pregnant too! It is INCREDIBLE to me what these bodies of ours can do (and no thanks to us – it’s all Him!)
      I love sharing my passion for breastfeeding and natural childbirth. And I am thankful that blogging makes it so easy to do!

  7. The last woman in our family to have a baby was ummm 20 years ago and she didn’t BF because she didn’t think the baby was getting enough. I’ve used my entire pregnancy to make sure that shouldn’t happen to me – I bought a pump, hydrogel pads, nipple cream and I read books and blogs. If I get to (have to!) go through carrying a baby then I figure I may as well use the rest of the parts that god gave me that are baby related. I’m given these parts for a reason fter all! Plus even the worst BF poop is so much less nasty than formula poop!

    • Yes, God definitely intended for us to not only use our uterus’ but also our breasts as nourishment! Good point! You’re going to do great because you have the right attitude. ;)

  8. Loved the article! It’s nice to connect with Mamas who breastfeed or breastfed their children- where I live there is NO ONE who breastfeed/fed in my social circle (yet…there’s a girl at work that I’ve rallied that plans to breastfeed when she has her baby). I only hope that more and more women decide to breastfeed.

    I read your article about being bitten…I’m scared of teething and happy to know its not an automatic kill-all for breastfeeding.

    P.S. I love taking pics of my son breastfeeding, too :D

    • I have felt that way too – that there aren’t other breastfeeding mamas in my area (though I know that isn’t actually true for me!) because no one does it in PUBLIC, making it hard to feel supported! Then I *do* see bottle-fed babies out and about everywhere! I’ve only seen maybe 5 women breastfeed in public since having my daughter 12 years ago! I’ve been much more free this time (with baby #3) and will whip ‘em out in my car without hesitation when my son is hungry. ;)

      • Other than myself (and I’ve only done it at the doctor’s office…not because I was shy but that seems to be the only place he gets hungry in public, lol!) my mother is the only person I’ve seen breastfeed in public. I’ve only witnessed her and one of her friends breastfeed EVER. Other than the health of my child, my Mom was the primary influence of me breastfeeding. She was highly supportive (and even gave me her electric breast pump from when she was feeding my little siblings who are now 5 and 6) and very encouraging. Dedric was not so supportive at first- he didn’t want me breastfeeding at all until I made him read up on all the benefits. By the time our son was born, he was so supportive that he would stand next to me in the hospital helping me get him latched, keeping him awake, and repositioning pillows as needed. The hospital staff kept commenting on how he was the most involved Daddy they’ve ever seen in regards to breast feeding which made me feel so lucky.

        I think a lot more women would breastfeed if they had the right support system. There is a girl at my job that is now going to breastfeed her unborn baby when he/she arrives because of me. I am happy that I have helped another woman make the right decision to breastfeed- and I hope that I can help many more.

      • That is so cool about Dedric, that his opinion of breastfeeding changed!! You’re right – support makes all the difference. Women whose husbands are wishy-washy about it don’t have the same likelihood of nursing long-term as women whose men support it fully.
        My husband has always been a huge breastfeeding supporter (and it doesn’t hurt that he thinks it’s sexy!! ;) ) He loves that it’s been the best nutrition for our babies, it’s FREE, and it creates a bond between his wife and his child. :D I couldn’t agree more!
        That’s awesome that your friend is going to b/f because of you! My younger sister has watched and learned from me as well and is likely to nurse when she finally has a baby.

  9. This is a great article! I’ve brestfed my son since he was born (except for a week in the hospital where I had to pump and we had to suplement with formula since milk hadn’t come in yet). We’ve introduced solids and will try to up the amount until he weans himself. I don’t expect to go past 2 years by any means but hope to leave the timing of it to little man. My husband has been a great suporter and I never knew before just how comfortable I would be brestfeeding in public. Thanks!

    • Thank you! That’s great that your husband is so supportive! Mine is too. He is all for natural (and it helps that it’s free too – lol) I am pretty comfortable nursing in public these days. I fed him at the Mall a few weeks ago! Woo-hoo :D
      How old is your son, btw? Our kids are 12 years, 9 years, and 16 months. :)

  10. You go Mama! Both my boys were natural birth and “extended” nursers. My 14 year old, Colten was just under 3 years old when he fully weaned, and my 10 year old, Joshua (great name btw!) was just 28 months old. “just” lol!

  11. Wonderful post, lot’s of useful advice there. I really agree that breastfeeding is the most natural, normal thing. Our bodies are designed to do it!

    Can I suggest that you might add something about d-mer? It’s the experience of negative emotions upon letdown. I blogged about it myself (http://wp.me/p2oc89-22), had it quite badly and really struggled with it emotionally. Kellymom has some great info here: http://kellymom.com/bf/concerns/mother/d-mer/

    When you start searching the internet about it, it appears it is actually surprisingly common. It was a revelation for me to find out about it, so I’ve been trying to spread the word. Women don’t speak about it as they feel confused and upset at experiencing negative emotions while feeding their baby, to know it’s a ‘real’ thing really helps.

    • Awesome! Do you have plans of weaning or are you following his lead?
      Thank you. :) You know, I don’t think there’s enough positive energy and support about breastfeeding online. Unfortunately, most promoting I’ve seen is done in such a way that it comes across as being judgemental or pushy, and I don’t ever want to be either one! I want women to have the help and encouragement that they need. No one needs “mommy wars”;)

      • No please, not the mommy wars. :) We are all responsible for our own children, not anyone elses.
        I’m planning on getting to at least age 2. With my first, I got very drained and tired, then took some advice to wean my daughter at 19 months, which actually made no difference to my energy levels anyway (and I think this lady had another little motive!). With my second, I got pregnant with my first and she was a bit upset with how my milk was tasting (and the same woman encouraged me to stop again). I was only feeding her before bedtime at that stage. And now with my 18 month old, number three, I still feed him 2 or 3 times a day, depending on what he wants (they aren’t big feeds), and also in the night at the moment as he’s unwell. We’ll keep going as long as he is happy. And I will not listen to anyone this time telling me what they think is right for me and my son! ha ha!

      • Well 19 months is a long time even without the suggestion to wean! You did great! :D
        Samuel is also 18 months and nurses multiple times per day and night still (as he asks). Some days when we’ve got more going on and we’re out and about, there are far fewer nursings, but other days it’s pretty often! Thankfully, the 7 teeth he was getting (all at once!) are finally through and he’s nursing less because his mouth isn’t hurting anymore.
        I’m sorry your little one isn’t feeling well. :(
        I have no idea how long we’ll nurse. He LOVES it, so I’m inclined to continue. ;)

  12. Thank you for adding my link! One of my friends just delivered her 2nd baby and is having trouble breastfeeding. Going to point her to your page here.

  13. Wow! I was thinking about starting to write up something similar just yesterday. My sister and sister-in-law both have newborns and are asking so many questions.

  14. I am just researching on exclusively breastfeeding. I feel lonely sometimes because I do not know anyone around be who has done it at 7 months. I would like to join the camp of baby led weaning and you can start when your baby can sit up. Mine cannot so I am waiting… :)

  15. Great compendium of information! I was worried about plugged ducts and mastitis when my milk was coming in. No one ever told me that my breasts would feel like the worst sunburn of my life! The doc assured me it was probably just my milk supply getting established, rather than an emergency, so I, too, did the hot compress and shower treatment, followed by pumping to relieve engorgement. It really helped a lot.

  16. So glad you linked to a breastfeeding twins article! My twins are now almost 6 (!), and I nursed them until they were 27 months old. I kept putting off weaning them, because I thought they might be my last babies. (ahem. I’ve had two more children since then!) I love that picture you have there, since it reminds me of myself. I RARELY tandem nursed with my boys, instead, I just nursed them back to back.

    For problems with clogged ducts, I think I read something about taking lethicin. (??) I had mastitis when the boys were a year old – I had gotten lazy about pumping at work, and it all went downhill from there. I didn’t go on antibiotics — just loads of fluids, rest, pumping and warm compresses. NOT an experience I ever want to repeat. UGH.

    Breast milk is a super cure for a LOT of ailments! I had an ear infection a few weeks ago (sinus issues and allergies, plus being run down from being postpartum), and really wanted to avoid antibiotics. A few days worth of putting expressed BM in my ear, and I was back to new! Awesome!

    Great, great post for The Thoughtful Spot!

  17. Hi Valerie, what a great post! I’ve been breastfeeding my little monkey for 18 months, until he himself suddenly decided to quit – in the middle of an ear infection! However often I offered him my breast in the days after he wouldn’t take it and after 4 or 5 days I was fine with that, too. I am still overly happy that HE was the one to decide and that I didn’t have to force him into something he wasn’t ready to. Also I am really proud I kept breastfeeding him so long, even if our surrounding was starting to wonder already. Again, thanks for that lovely article, all the useful info and your blog. Kind regards, Netti

    • Thank you. :)
      My youngest weaned from his pacifier during a cold, so I know how that can go! Glad to hear that you enjoyed breastfeeding and that weaning was so natural! XO

  18. This is a great resource for breastfeeding moms!
    Thank you for stopping by the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop this week. We hope to see you drop by our neck of the woods next week!

  19. I know they say its rare for a baby to wean before 1, but both of mine did. Granted, I did start mixing cows milk in with breast milk a little after 11 months. I did that for two reasons 1. so they’d get used to the taste and 2. because they were nursing less and less anyway and I had begun to see a HUGE supply drop. Abby weaned herself at 11.5 months and Miles 2 days shy of 1. They were just no longer interested. I had actually planned to wean much more slowly (like you did from 12-14 months) by slowly dropping one feed at a time, but they had other plans! :)

    • That’s awesome!! I would have much preferred for my babies to have helped in the weaning process. If a child (or children, in your case!) shows they are ready that young, I think it’s great to follow their cues. :)

  20. HELL YEA!!!! Love this!!! I’m still a bit shy about not using a cover in public, but I don’t care about doing it in public anymore as long as I’m a bit covered! Breast feeding definitely rocks! Love the pics! Power to putting our boobies to good use – and what they’re meant for! :)

    • Haha, thanks, Sue! :D It’s something we’ve got to be strong about. I hate hiding to do something we were meant to do in the first place. I believe in discretion, but not hiding. ;)

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