I nursed my children for a combined total of 48 months. That is 4 solid years of breastfeeding experience! In that time I learned just how beautiful breastfeeding can be. I also learned a lot about the technical and emotional side of nursing a baby. From thrush to pumping to weaning, here is a collection of important things I’ve learned about breastfeeding.
13 Thing I Want You to Know About Breastfeeding
1. Pain while nursing could be thrush. – Does your baby have white patches inside their mouth? Do they have a diaper rash that won’t go away? Are your nipples sore? Those symptoms could mean that you, your baby, or both of you have thrush. Thrush is an infection that is common in breastfed babies and it can be hard to get rid of. Thankfully, I was able to use gentian violet to cure Noah’s thrush.
2. There are eco-friendly breastfeeding supplies. – You can find a complete list of eco-friendly breastfeeding supplies at 10 Eco-Friendly Breastfeeding Accessories.
3. Pumping isn’t just for working moms. – Even if you aren’t working outside of the home, there are several reasons why you might consider pumping breast milk. Read all of them at 9 Reasons Why SAHMs Should Consider Pumping Breast Milk.
4. Every breastfeeding mom who pumps (even just for an occasional bottle) needs to taste their breast milk. – This might sound crazy, but it really is the most important breastfeeding advice that you’ve probably never heard before. Do yourself a favor and educate yourself before you end up in the difficult position I found myself in.
5. You can get paid for donating breast milk. – If you find yourself with more breast milk than you need, there is a milk bank in Oregon that will pay you for your breast milk. They will even cover shipping costs if you don’t live within driving distance.
6. There is a ton of great breastfeeding inspiration and information on Pinterest. – I have gathered a list of 7 breastfeeding themed Pinterest boards that are worth following. I follow all of these boards myself and contribute to many of them.
7. Weaning from breastfeeding can be an emotionally difficult for moms. – We often celebrate all the wonderful ways that our babies are growing up: sitting up, first steps, and first words. Weaning is another important milestone, but it can be much more emotional and harder for moms than the other milestones we celebrate. That is why I wrote Babies Don’t Keep: A Benediction to Nursing Moms.
8. It is okay if you don’t feel comfortable nursing in public right away. – When my babies were newborns, it was hard to maintain a good latch. I didn’t want to nurse in front of anyone because I wasn’t comfortable with the whole process. As time went by, latching became easier and my comfort level with nursing in public increased. In time I began to see the important of nursing in public. Plus I learned the importance of thanking moms who breastfeed in public.
9. Nursing tank tops are amazing. – You can read about all the reasons why I love them, and which brand is my favorite in the post One Thing Every Breastfeeding Mom Needs. If you are interested in hearing about more of my favorite breastfeeding supplies (nipple cream, nursing bras, and more), you can read 14 Things You Need for Your Postpartum Body.
10. Breastfeeding beyond a year is normal, even if it doesn’t always feel that way. – I was surprised to find myself nursing my first baby beyond a year. I was even more surprised to still be doing it at 18 months. I knew that Grace wasn’t ready to wean and I wasn’t so sure I was either, yet there were times I felt embarrassed to still be nursing. If you are breastfeeding beyond a year, perhaps you’ll take comfort in reading about my personal struggles with extended breastfeeding.
11. Breast is best for baby and mom. – From calories burned to lower risks of cancer, there are many reasons why breastfeeding is a good choice for moms.
12. Weaning from extended breastfeeding can be done peacefully. – When you wean a child who is over the age of one, it can come with some special challenges, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be dramatic. I was able to gently wean my daughter with these 6 tips.
13. If your baby refuses to take a bottle, your breast milk might taste bad. – It is true! Pumped breast milk can develop a bad taste over time, which is caused by excess lipase activity. Thankfully, there are things you can do to stop the bad taste from forming. If you know you have excess lipase activity in your breast milk, we need your help. Could you take a moment to share your experience in order to help with research about this condition?
When it comes to breastfeeding, don’t forget to take it one day at a time. If you find yourself struggling because of low supply, excess lipase activity, struggles with weaning, or any other variety of problems that can come along with nursing, try to take it one day at a time. It can seems so overwhelming when there doesn’t seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel, but that light will come. Find a great lactation consultant to support you. (They are worth their weight in gold!) Don’t suffer in silence. Relief will come.
Were you surprised by any of these things? What breastfeeding advice would you add?
Photos by Cicely Berkey