Before we dive into this Q+A, let’s state a couple obvious things:
#1: I am not a breastfeeding expert. Just like everything else I share on here, it is simply my experience but it does not mean it is always right or the only way to do things. There are so many amazing lactation consultants out there to seek for more help with everything!
#2: A fed baby is the best baby. If you are someone who wasn’t able to nurse your children or chose not too, do not feel guilty for that. The only thing that matters is that your baby is growing and is fed and loved by you!
#3: Here is a blog post “My Truth About Breastfeeding” that I wrote when I nursed Ez. For any mamas struggling! This sh!t is so not easy and it’s OKAY to admit that.
Okay – now that that’s is said and done… hello friends! And welcome to this Q+A series. I am answering a handful of your questions submitted all on breastfeeding and we’re going to get INTO it! You guys know me at this point. I am very blunt, open and honest about everything. So I am happy to share the latest and my thoughts with you guys!
(Brody is 5 weeks as I write this!)
- What are you doing differently this time around?
- Nursing a lot a lot more. Brody is a straight up ham. He nurses 2x as much as Ezra did. And I also pumped more with Ez than I do now (more on that below). I also am much much less regimented with Brody because he isn’t preemie like Ez. Ezra had to eat all night (every 2-3 hours) for the first few months he was born.
- Are you pumping less this time around?
- I was psycho about a freezer stash with Ezra. Then when I weaned him, I had this whole freeze of milk and was basically just giving it to him because I had to – I didn’t end up needing it as much (I know you can donate it – I am looking it that this time if I had excess). But for the most part with Ez he would get 1 bottle a day then all his night feedings were bottles because he was wild and never slept and it was the only way anyone could help me. With Brody – I am pumping only when I am not with him for a feeding and when I feel like there is extra left over after nursing, which has happened like once. I use this hand pump after if he doesn’t full drain my boobs. Just for a couple minutes. He eats a lot a lot. I have these bottles when needed.
- What are your favorite nursing bras?
- This is going to sound crazy but I really don’t wear a bra much. I have these ones for when I wear them. But on a daily basis, I don’t. That is because I am home 95% of the time and also because Brody doesn’t latch as well when I have something on. Maybe it’s a coincidence – who knows. But every time I let my bra strap down to nurse him on a nursing bra, he gets finicky. So I just end up going braless or unstrapping the bra completely from the back. I have this pumping bra for pumping though with Elvie (stay tuned for full review soon!).
- Did you ever have supply issues? if so, what helped?
- I did! Linking here to a blog post about it.
- Do you get self conscious whipping out your boobs in front of others?
- To be honest – no I never was and it’s not because I think I have these awesome boobs or something. I just never really cared. The way I look at it is, I am feeding my kids. If someone gets uncomfortable from that, totally fine but it’s not going to stop me from nursing in public. I try to make things as discrete as possible if it’s not my family or something. But I nurse a lot on benches, in coffeeshops, wherever. And I don’t love a blanket to cover us – poor kid can’t breath in there then.
- Did you start pumping to create supply?
- Not with Brody. As mentioned above, I am lazier about pumping right now and also second time around supply comes in faster! I pumped a lot with Ez in the beginning and he was in the NICU so it was important to keep the supply up.
- What should you know initially when you come from from hospital and you’re nervous about nursing?
- It’s going to hurt a bit. For me personally – it didn’t hurt that badly with Ezra. With Brody I had some blistering and used nipple butter. I think it’s because B’s latch is much more intense than Ezra’s was at first. I also didn’t know it took days to get a supply. Be patient with yourself and your milk will come the more the baby demands. Remember it is all about supply and demand.
- What is the hardest part?
- The clusterfeeding at first is really hard. My ass is like a raisin from sitting so much nursing B. And not ever really having more than 3 or so hours of “freedom”. But whenever I feel blah about it I just remind myself that no one is making me do this – I choose to nurse my kids!
- What is your go-to breastfeeding position?
- I am not sure what it is called but I just sit with him in one arm and hold him. Sometimes i lay on my side at night but usually I sit up or I will pass out.
- What snacks do you recommend when you are up all night?
- OMG the snacking and hunger is so real. I swear my food intake probably triples when I breastfeed. I am so so hungry all the time. At night I always love having granola, chocolate cashews (code RACHL), snack bars, crackers (code RACHL) or some cereal (code RACHL). I look for healthy fats and carbs mostly because I think the fat fuels me a lot. And I’m not craving protein like meat at 3am lol!
- What is the best gluten-free lactation cookie?
- I make a mean lactation cookie!!
- When did you introduce bottles?
- Brody has only had 2 bottles so far. One was a few days old and I haven’t tried since – oops.
- How do you store your milk?
- In these bags in the freezer. Then I just write with a marker the date and circle the ounces stored in the bag.
- How do you carry Brody and breastfeed?
- I don’t feed him in a carrier but if anyone has tips on that – let us know in the comments! I do walk around our house nursing him and I sit on the toilet often ha. It’s not safe but mom of 2 and a business…gotta do what I have to do!
- Do you avoid nursing to sleep?
- With Brody no! With Ez he literally didn’t sleep for 4 months so it didn’t matter. Ez was colic and had chronic FOMO. Brody I nurse to sleep a lot. Which isn’t ideal I know, but whatever.
- Where do you even start with nursing??
- *If* you can do skin-to-skin post labor, do it! That is when Brody latched. With Ez he did in the recovery room post C-section (more on my labors here). And from there I recommend talking to the nurses! They are so so helpful in the hospital.
- How often does brody eat right now?
- 2-3 hours during the day. At night it’s a toss up.
- Does anything you eat affect the baby?
- Brussels spruts *sigh*. And cauliflower and broccoli commonly make babies fussy too. After the brussels sprouts bother B, I haven’t tried the others because it isn’t worth it.
- Did you read any books on nursing?
- Nope – I have never read a baby book ever. I am very “go with the flow”
- Was breastfeeding for a year something you wanted to do or felt like you had to do?
- Love this question! At first “want to do” when Ez was born. Then I saw how much work it was and was like “F ME”. And it felt like a chore for the first 4 weeks or so. Then I transitioned into the “wanting” perspective again. That is how I feel now too. No one makes me do this!
- How long do you plan to nurse for?
- Ideally a year but I will let Brody choose. Ez was so over it around 10-11 months. He fell in love with food at 5 months and I nursed him until he turned 1. That was the last day actually – on his birthday.
- How do you know how much brody is getting?
- NO idea! But if he seems satisfied, I move on. If he is still looking for a latch – I keep going.