This post is part of a series of posts from bloggers with babies who have breastfed. In honor of my journey of breastfeeding ending with my son, I asked five different bloggers to share their breastfeeding stories with us all. My hopes with this series is to share the differences in each woman's experience. I also want to highlight the fact that not one of these mothers did the same thing in their breastfeeding journey and that all of their babies are beautiful and healthy. Moms— Do the best you can do for you and your child. That is what counts!
The Experience of Breastfeeding: Megan and Ruthie & Afton
by Megan of The Boho Mama
I'm super excited to be introducing you to Megan who is going to give us a look into breastfeeding not one, but TWO babies. Megan is a generous, kind soul and I am so lucky to know her and her family in real life and on the web. She blogs over at The Boho Mama about her journey as the mother of twins, natural parenting, and more. She just finished writing 31 days about breastfeeding... and, I'm telling you, there is SO much information that I totally could have use during my breastfeeding journey. Megan also has an eBook out called, "More Milk, Naturally." She has graciously offered to give a copy away here on the blog! Check back later today for the giveaway!
1. Why did you decide to breast feed?
My mom nursed all three of her kids, so it was something I was comfortable with and just assumed I would do. It wasn't until I started reading more about the incredible benefits - both for mom and baby - of breast milk that I was totally sold. When I found out I was having twins, I was even more resolved to make it work!
2. What was your biggest challenge with breast feeding?
We've had a lions share of challenges, actually. First, there is the assumption by many that women can't produce enough for two babies, which couldn't be further from the truth, but it does take a lot of awareness and dedication to protecting your milk supply when there is more than one. As soon as they were born I started pumping around the clock! I also became a little obsessed with milk-making foods, but the great product of that obsession was my e-Book, so now I get to share what I've learned with all the other mamas out there. Oh, and we relied on nipple shields for almost 5 months - messy and inconvenient, but one day they just decided they were done using them without me having to "wean" them, so that was good!
Second, we found out that the girls both had tongue and lip ties after 10 months of uncomfortable nursing. It was pretty painful, and I knew something was wrong, but it wasn't until I saw the 4th lactation consultant that she confirmed that there was a problem. Once it was fixed, it felt so much better. But I was so upset that we had gone that long, even when I explicitly asked the LC's about it.
Third, just the nature of twins means somebody always needs something, and that includes nursing. For the first three months of their lives, I don't think I got up more than to eat and go to the bathroom. Otherwise, it was all nursing all the time. It was and still is a little exhausting, but they grow up so fast and now those early milk-soaked days are a little bittersweet.
3. What was your greatest breast feeding moment?
My greatest moment was when we came home from the NICU and I decided that we would throw the schedules out the window and go strictly on-demand. In the hospital, they tried to scare me into supplementing with formula, and that I wasn't making enough. But I knew that I could, and I knew that is what they needed. We never looked back, and it's been so amazing, despite the many times when I wanted to throw in the towel and give up. Then, every week that we made it after that was my greatest moment. And, 15 months later, it still is such a great moment when I look back on how far we've come.
4. Did you solely breast feed? Supplement with formula or solid food?
The girls were fortunate enough to have donor breast milk in the NICU, which I am so, so thankful for. They had a little supplemental formula added to my breast milk the days or two before they came home, but I stopped that immediately after they were discharged. If I was going to give my body the chance to make enough and meet the demand, I really could not afford to supplement at all. Luckily, it paid off and my body made more than enough milk for the two of them.
5. At what age did you introduce solids? Any tips you can give mommies?
My girls were late to the solids game. They weren't interested until around 9 months. I would give them a little bit of a soft-boiled egg yolk and coconut oil before that, or some mashed avocado and banana, but they didn't want vegetables. I was worried at first, but everything that I read said not to rush them, and when they were ready, they would certainly let me know. Now they're really into food, but for some reason, are still really into nursing, too. I thought they'd nurse less as they ate more, but that hasn't happened!
6. Did you have a breast feeding goal?
My goal was simple: as long as I had milk, we would nurse. What that means for when we'll stop, I'm still not sure!
7. Have you weaned? If so, how did you go about it?
We've weaned through a night feeding, so they're now sleeping after a 10pm feeding until around 6am. It's been gloriously needed, because before that they were waking up every 3-4 hours. I'm still not sure how or when we'll wean, I just can't bring myself to think about it or make a plan!
8. Any tips for mommies out there thinking about breast feeding?
My biggest tip is that when you think you can't go on, just go one more day. Then, that one more day turns into a week, and into a month, and pretty soon you've hit a year. You will not be sorry, and will be so proud of yourself! Honestly, almost every single mama I've talked to that stopped early wishes she hadn't. It's hard when you're in the throes of sleep deprivation and you just want your life back, but when you come through it, it's an absolutely amazing experience.
Oh, and seek help out as soon as you think something isn't right, don't wait! Find a lactation consultant that you like, and see more than one. They all have something different to offer. They have been a lifesaver for me and I don't think I would have made it this far without their help.
My last piece of advice is to eat well and often, and as clean as you can with lots of good fats. No dieting! :)
Thank you so much to Megan for sharing her breastfeeding experience and being part of the "experience of breast feeding" post series! Please leave Megan your love in the comments section! And, don't forget to come back later today for a chance to win Megan's ebook, "More Milk Naturally."
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