Breastfeeding is hands-down one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever experienced. The bond it helps create between a mother and baby really is beautiful and unlike anything I can describe. There is something magical about the ability to nourish and supply your children with all they really need.
But, let’s be real for a second – while totally beautiful, breastfeeding is anything but easy, and I totally feel for the moms that can’t do it. I’m so lucky that my body is letting me give Temple this amazing gift because so many moms aren’t this fortunate.
While I was pregnant, I was super nervous about all the challenges that can come with breastfeeding. People would always ask me, “are you nervous about your natural birth?”. Truthfully, I was much more nervous about breastfeeding. I think it was because I wanted it so badly. I’ve read so much about how amazing breast milk is for your baby, especially given all the antibodies it provides.
Looking back though, I wish I wouldn’t have put so much pressure on myself during my pregnancy. Breastfeeding is no joke and it doesn’t come easy for everyone – for some, it doesn’t come at all! At the end of the day, your health and happiness are much more important when it comes to being the best mama you can be!
Before I launch into my personal experience with breastfeeding, I want to make one thing clear: I am in no way claiming to be an expert. I’m just a first-time mom trying to figure it all out. These are the things that have worked for me and hopefully, they can help you in your journey, too!
After Temple arrived, my breast milk only took two days to come in (on average it takes 3-5 days for most moms). I truly believe my natural birth played a role in my milk coming in so quickly. There was no medicine in my system, so I think my hormones could process everything a bit easier.
Let’s talk about when your milk comes in… holy sh*t! Talk about intense. I was feeling like Pamela Anderson with how big my ta-tas were! Remember – you just had a baby and you don’t know what the hell you’re doing. Not to mention, you’re exhausted! Now, you’re expected to know how to latch a baby on your boobs?! For the most part, Temple was really great at latching, but she wouldn’t stay latched for long. Those first few days, she would latch on and then let go, so she wasn’t getting enough milk and my boobs were so engorged and sore.
When I went in for our first check-up (3 days after Temple was born), my midwives helped me with latching and that was a total game-changer! I was being way too gentle with Temple and letting her latch on and off. They told me to get forceful and when that baby latches, don’t let them off the nipple. Boy did that work! After Temple finally got the hang of it, I felt so relieved – both mentally and physically – now that she had a full tummy.
Overall, my top tips would be to stick with it as long as you can and to look to your resources for help. Don’t be afraid to call your doctor or meet with a lactation consultant. In my opinion, there is no cost too great when it comes to feeding your baby! The first month or two is definitely the hardest because baby is nursing on-demand and it can seem like a lot. But, once you get past that first month or so, it does seem to get easier! Latching becomes second nature and baby is stronger, so feedings don’t take as long and aren’t as frequent. Temple is two months old now and we feed every 2 hours, compared to every hour in the early days! This is still a lot of nursing but that extra hour helps your boobs and your sanity! There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and when it gets tough, just remember how amazing breast milk is for your baby. That being said, try not to put too much pressure on yourself – you got this, Mama!
Please feel free to message me with any questions, or if you just need a little support. Below I’ve listed all the products, recipes and more tips that have helped me along the way!
Products I recommend
- Haakaa– get one of these, pronto! My cousin is a baby gadget guru and got me this for my baby shower. I think it might be the best breastfeeding invention ever made. It suctions onto the breast that baby isn’t nursing from and picks up all the drip. You will collect so much milk this way that would otherwise be leaked and wasted. They call it liquid gold for a reason, and with the Haakaa, the motto is NO MILK LEFT BEHIND!
- Spectra s2 Pump– I can’t speak for other pumps, but this is the one I use for Temple, and I love it. It really seems to get the job done! I read lots of reviews and this is the one that I felt was the best choice. I would always check what your insurance will cover first, though.
- Medela Symphony– If you are serious about a super legit breast pump, then I’ve heard this one is the best of the best- it’s hospital grade.
- Meleda Manual Hand Pump– I use this on car rides or when I needed a quick release while out and about.
- Pumping Hands Free Bra
- Comotomo Baby Bottles– make sure to start with the ‘slow-flow,’ so you don’t cause nipple confusion. These worked great for us.
- Natursutten Glass Baby Bottles– I haven’t tried these yet but bought some to try for baby #2.
- Kiindle Kozii Bottle Warmer (you can heat glass bottles directly in here!)
- Green Sprouts Organic Muslin cloths. These are the absolute best. I always recommend getting longer burp clothes so that they don’t slide off your shoulder as easily!
- Kiindle Twist Pouches– this is what I store my breastmilk in.
- Skip Hop Breastmilk cooler
- Freezer Holder –we kept our breastmilk bags in these containers in the freezer. They fit perfect and help the breastmilk freeze evenly in the bags.
ORGANIC BREASTFEEDING SUPPLEMENTS:
- I highly recommend Legendary Milk. They use only 100% organic ingredients, and I have seen a significant improvement in my supply since taking them. They have several blends to choose from, so make sure to do your research to find what’s best for you. I take Liquid Gold and Pump Princess when BFing. BONUS- I have a discount code for 15% off!! Use code MADA15 at checkout for 15% off any items.
MISC: NURSING ITEMS:
- Nursing App to track feedings- It’s called Baby Tracker in the app store. Perfect for tracking diapers, nursing, and sleep schedule.
- Organic Nipple Butter
- Booby Tubes– warm or freeze for breast relief.
- I love this hydro flask water bottle– it helps me drink way more water with the straw, and trust me, you will be sooo thirsty when BFing.
- Have meals prepped and frozen for when baby arrives. This is something I didn’t do when Temple was born and totally regret! There is this book, The Fourth Trimester, that I’ve since read and next baby I will 100% use the last month of my pregnancy to get nourishing foods prepared and frozen so that I can easily eat well. You will have friends and family bring food which is wonderful but that usually only last the first few weeks. It is tough making meals with a newborn and you will get very sick of takeout. Plus, if you plan ahead you can cook some of your favorite things and foods that support your body healing and breast milk supply. Another tip: be specific about what you’d like friends/family to bring when they visit baby. Usually friends will ask beforehand if you need anything. Use this as your opportunity to tell them you’d love for them to cook up a recipe. You can send them a few options such as a nourishing soup, lactation muffins, etc.
- Eat well: I can’t stress how important this is. Like I said earlier, you are going to be so hungry those first few weeks. Nourish your body, or your milk supply will suffer. It’s as simple as that. You should be consuming 500 extra calories per day, and my midwives told me to have a snack and a big glass of water every time I sat down to nurse.
- Drink tons of water: You will find that you’re much thirstier than normal while breastfeeding. Try to always have a water nearby, especially while the baby is actually eating. I love this hydro flask water bottle– it helps me drink way more water with the straw.
- Get plenty of rest: They say to nap when baby naps and it couldn’t be truer when it comes to breastfeeding. The more rest you get, the more milk you will produce.
- Offer both breasts at each feeding: Although baby may not want both at each feeding, it should always be offered. If baby fills up on just one breast, offer the next one first at the next feeding. Using your app to track feedings will let you know which breast you started with last! Trust me – you’ll forget!
- Try not to pump the first 2-3 weeks: My midwives told me not to pump in the beginning because it’s all about supply and demand. Producing a lot of milk is wonderful, but making too much can be a problem. If you pump too early, your body will think baby needs more milk than she actually does, leading to an oversupply. This is when you find yourself engorged and in pain because you have too much milk! It’s almost like you’re confusing your body into thinking you either have one super hungry baby or twins.
- Want to increase your supply? Pump after you breastfeed (after the 2-3 weeks mark): You may not produce a ton of milk directly after a feed, but pumping will stimulate your breasts and signal a need for more milk. Again, it’s all about supply and demand. The more often baby nurses or you pump, the more milk you should ultimately make. Make sure to pump for at least 15 minutes per session to really reap the benefits.
- How often should you breastfeed? Whenever baby seems hungry! Again – I know I sound like a broken record – but your body makes milk based on supply and demand, so the more often you feed, the more milk you’ll produce.
Lactation Boosting Recipes and Easy Snack Ideas:
- You will need Organic Brewer’s Yeast, Ground Flaxseed and Oats: these lactation boosting products are in almost every recipe out there. You will use them a ton!
- Miracle Milkookies– get these delivered to their home. They are so yummy and seriously help with your milk supply! Something fun you could send a new mama friend too! Use Code: madaleighblog for 30% off your first order!
- Easy Snack Ideas: peanut butter/almond butter toast, avocado toast, lactation muffins (recipe below), smoothies, hard boiled eggs, 1/2 avocado with hot sauce, banana/apple with almond butter, yogurt with granola on top, CHOMP Sticks, GoMacro bars, etc. There are tons of things you can eat but just make sure you are prepared to have easy snacks/leftovers on hand.
- Banana Peanut Butter Smoothie Recipe: you can play around with this recipe but the brewer’s yeast and flax should always be included.
- 1 banana
- 1/3 cup almond milk
- 2 tbsp local honey
- 1 tbsp peanut butter (or nut butter of choice)
- 1 tbsp brewers yeast
- 1 tbsp flax meal
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- *add ice if you want it cold which I always prefer!
- *BLEND AND ENJOY!
- Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins: that is the recipe I use and they are delicious. I eat mine as a snack each time I sit down to breastfeed. I usually freeze half of them and just take them out individually when I want one! I like topping these with peanut butter, too!
- Energy Milk Balls:
- 2 cups whole oats
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 1/3 cup honey
- 3 tbsp brewers yeast
- 2 tbsp flax seed
- 2 tbsp filtered water
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- *Roll into 1 inch balls and put in the fridge for at least one hour before eating
- Pinterest has tons of lactation boosting recipes, too!