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!
“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.
- 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. When 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.
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!
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!
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.
Updated May 2014
* * *