Slide Show

My Breastfeeding Journey

Well it's official...
I achieved my goal to breastfeed Gavin until he's 1!!! (Happy dance!)

Throughout this last year I enjoyed talking to other breastfeeding moms to hear their stories, and their experiences with everything breastfeeding (because lets be real- breastfeeding is not JUST breastfeeding, it's pumping, it's nursing bras, it's weaning...and so on.... you get it).
Everyone's breastfeeding journey is different.

That's why I decided to share my experience,
because it definitely changed over the course of time.

It started out rough. And by rough, I mean awful. And by awful, I mean- I would be on the verge of tears, cursing breastfeeding, vowing that I was "DONE WITH 'STUPID' BREASTFEEDING"
...Ok, insert, crazy-hormonal, sleep-deprived, new mama, rambling utter nonsense at 3 am.

THANK THE LORD I did not give up, like I repeatedly said I was going to.

The First 6-8 Weeks
The first 6-8 weeks were rough hell for me for numerous reasons.
Gavin didn't have the best latch right away. I had to constantly stick my little pinky in his mouth, break the suction, and start all over until he got the right latch.
He also tended to over eat (because I have a very fast let down & flow), which resulted in some massive (well, what seemed massive) spit ups.
Also, in those first couple months my supply was kind of all over the place... during the day Gavin would eat every 2-3 hours, but at night sometimes he would sleep 5+ hours. Since we opted to not wake a sleeping baby, my boobs would get huge and very full. This is when he would tend to over eat, and we even had a couple 'projectile' vomit situations. Those situations are what usually led to the "I hate this, I'm f***ing done with breastfeeding, this is so dumb, I hate it" hissy fits.
Luckily, my husband was a trooper and always told me "it's fine, you can do it, it will get better". Bless his heart.
Oh, and let's not forget about the cracked nipples, right ladies!? If you are one of the lucky few who did not have to endure this misery...I envy you! I did everything to try and prevent cracked nipples, but I wasn't so lucky. I can still remember the pain of the first few minutes of breast feeding with cracked nipples... I would have tears in my eyes because it hurt so bad. Luckily...this phase didn't last too long and I was able to survive through the pain. But it was not fun.

On a brighter note- once I figured out a good pumping schedule- which was around the 6ish week mark, that seemed to help. Gavin was sleeping through the night at around 6 weeks, so like I said before- my boobs would get so full (and hard) it was honestly almost impossible to feed him. So, I figured out that if I pumped in the morning, and Aaron gave Gavin a bottle, that worked much better!
It also gave me a much needed "break" from (what felt like constantly) feeding the baby. 

2-6 Months
So by around 2 months, breastfeeding finally seemed to just click. I wish I had a better way to explain  it, especially to a frustrated, hopeless, breastfeeding mom- but all I can really say is give it time. I truly believe it's a learning experience for both Mom AND baby. Somewhere along the line, both Gavin and I got used to this new experience, and things clicked for us.

From around the 2 month mark to the 6 month mark it was exclusive breastfeeding. Exclusive meaning no formula. We would give Gavin a bottle of pumped breast milk here or there, but it was mostly me nursing him. I also continued to pump every morning, and sometimes a couple times throughout the day...enough that I ended up with an overflowing deep freeze full of milk. More on how I accomplished that here. *If I could go back- I would incorporate more bottles into his daily routine, because he got too used to nursing... and he didn't like to take bottles or sippy cups with milk.* 

6+ Months
At 6 months we started solid food purees, and I continued breastfeeding. This is when I started to pump less... since I already had way more breast milk stored than I needed. Originally I had planned to stop breastfeeding Gavin around 6 months, and just use the pumped milk I had stored to get us to the 1 year mark (because I had enough stored to do that), but since breastfeeding was now easier than having to thaw out and clean bottles throughout the day- I stuck with breastfeeding. :)

From 6 months on it was more of the same. Less and less pumping, until around 11 months when I completely stopped pumping. Even if Gavin would skip the occasional nursing session- I wouldn't pump.
I was ready to start the weaning process.

I started by getting Gavin on a good feeding schedule, with 3 meals a day, offering him milk in a sippy cup with each meal.

Breakfast around 7:30-8.
Lunch around 11:30.
Snack around 3-4 (as soon as he wakes up from his afternoon nap)
Dinner around 6:15.
Last nursing session at 7:30, right before bed.

To begin with, while we were working on getting this schedule set, I was breast feeding right after he ate his 3 main meals.
Once we had this new eating schedule down, I started by dropping the lunch breast feeding first.
After one week I dropped the next feeding, which was the dinner breast feeding.
Again, after another week, I dropped the breakfast breast feeding.
...and the last to go was the nursing session right before bed.
Occasionally I would need to pump when first dropping a feeding, because my boobs would get so uncomfortable!! I had to pump just enough to be comfortable, and within a day or two my body got the hint to start producing less!
I was super intimidated at first about the weaning process- but it was a far easier transition than I expected.

And there you have it.
A condensed view of my breastfeeding journey!
I should also note that we started giving Gavin sippy cups of milk with every meal at 12 months old (maybe a little sooner?) and it took him a solid month before he would really drink milk from them. He would suck down juice- but milk was a different story. Even if he would hardly touch his sippy cup of milk, we still offered it to him during every meal. After a month or so, he still doesn't drink a ton of milk- but he DOES drink it! So small, patient, baby steps with that one...

Anyways, like I said at the beginning of this post- everyone's breastfeeding journey is different.
EVERY breastfeeding mom has their own individual struggles.  
I sure have, and I've chosen to be open and honest about them, mostly because it seems to give comfort to other moms struggling with the same things I did.
It's always a big relief when you realize you are NOT the only one struggling with something.
And trust me, you are not the only one struggling with breastfeeding!!!!

 So for the struggling breastfeeding Moms: 
Stick with it!
Give it time!
Talk to someone- whether it's your doctor, your mom, a friend, a lactation consultant- trust me, this will help.
But most importantly, don't give up out of frustration!!

Need more motivation to keep on keeping' on with breastfeeding?
Check out my Motivation for Breastfeeding Mamas post.

September Updates!

How did this happen??

Where did Summer go?!
I swear, every Summer goes by faster than the one before. 

August was by far the fastest and busiest month. We stayed busy enjoying as much time in the pool as possible, soaking up every ray of sunshine we could, and I of course was busy with all kinds of house projects!
It was also my sweet baby boy's 1st birthday!! (holding back the tears...) 

Life with a 1 Year Old
It's so much fun having a 1 year old!
He's at that fun age where you can totally start to see his little personality. As in...they know how to start pushing the limits, being silly, making you laugh...etc. 
He's been walking since he was 11 months old- so now he's pretty much a pro. ;)
He loves to just walk around and explore the house- which means of course I spent numerous days baby-proofing every room. UGH. 
He's always been a bit more of a Mommy's boy...but lately he loves to cling on to my leg...and not let go. Aaron could be standing right next to me doing nothing, but of course Gavin needs to be attached to my leg as I try to bounce around back and forth in the kitchen and make dinner. 

Gavin's down to 1 nap- which is honestly something I was dreading.
Yes, I am admitting that, NO SHAME.
I LOVED that morning nap time because it was my peaceful, quiet, enjoy my coffee on the couch time. RIP peaceful coffee time. Now I get to enjoy my coffee during Sesame Street while Gavin crawls all over me and snuggles in my armpit. 
We realized Gavin needed to go down to 1 nap when we started having bad HORRIBLE, "WE ARE DONE HAVING KIDS" nights. Ya, those kinds of nights.
Gavin would wake up at 1-2am and not want to go back to sleep for 2-3 hours. Thank the Lord for coffee.
Once we went down to only 1 nap (which is currently around 1pm...and lasts 2+ hours) he went back to sleeping through the night. Hallelujah.

When's the Next One???
Speaking of "WE ARE DONE HAVING KIDS"... it reminded me of the fact that it seems like the 1 year mark is this magic mark where people feel like it's appropriate to start asking you when you're having the next one.
Those couple weeks post-birth are still WAY TOO VIVID in my mind to want to go through all that again... and after a lot of the sleepless nights we were having with Gavin lately.... ya, the next kid can wait!!! We definitely have a time frame in mind, but I like to tell people- within the next 5 years....maybe. :)
But if you ask me after one of "those" nights, my answer is "Gavin is going to be an only child".

MomLife Updates

I'm almost done breastfeeding! Which is funny, because I now realize I can start wearing regular bras again- not just nursing bras! I also realize how much more freedom I have- and it's awesome. Not gonna lie.
All that needs to go is the last feeding right before bed.

I also find myself in that weird place where I look back at old pictures of Gavin when he was a little baby, and I think "awww, I miss that!!!" and at the same time, I LOVE the age he is now. He's so much more independent (in a sense) and honestly, every day with him is fun! I'm really, really loving the age he's at now. :) 

Other Randomness Updates

The kitchen/living/dining room update is 98% done! We have a hole in the ceiling (from the fireplace we ripped out) that needs to be patched, and 1 piece of trim left to be put on! That's that! It feels SO good to be done with it all, and we LOVE, LOVE, LOVE our "new" living room!

I also am about 90% done with painting all of our upstairs trim and doors white!! The difference it makes is INSANE. We love it!

Another SUPER exciting change- we are updating our downstairs "bonus" room into a playroom. New paint, new carpet, and of course- white trim & doors! 
...and super cute decor once I finally find the time to take a trip to Hobby Lobby!!!!
I painted the entire room in 2 days. I just have 1 more coat of white to paint on the trim... then we just need to get our new carpet in!!! 
The most exciting part about this project- is all of the toys that accumulate (and don't get put away) in the living room- will be GONE!!!! I can't wait to have a room specifically for all of the toys!! I'll get my living room back!
Here's a sneak peak...
Before new paint...
...After new paint!!

Here's a non-house-project update: we took our yearly trip to the lake this year! It marked the third year we've gone to this lake with my side of the family! The first year we went Aaron and I had only been married a couple weeks! The second year we went (last year) Gavin was about 10 days old. This year, we had a 1 year old cruising all around the house... our little explorer. It was awesome to get away with the family. Even though vacations with Gavin right now aren't exactly "relaxing" like they used to be, they somehow still recharge you. 

Post Signature

Post Signature