Why I love breastfeeding...but don't care if you do it.

Okay, maybe that title's not entirely true.  I do care if you breastfeed, if you want to have an honest chat with me about it and maybe share some laughs over occasionally squirting our kids in the face {unintentionally of course} like a Super Soaker 3000.  But here's the deal, I firmly believe that as mothers, we are all just trying to do what's best for our littles and our families, and maybe breastfeeding didn't work out for you. We should support and encourage each other, not pass judgement.  Unless you're putting Mountain Dew into your 6 month old's bottle.  Then I will seriously judge you.  Otherwise, I feel like we all judge ourselves enough, we certainly don't need other people's noise thrown in there too.  So this is my experience with breastfeeding and a little about why I love it!

When I was pregnant with Duke, I talked to Dennis a lot about how I wanted to breastfeed but I wanted it to be something that was a positive experience for BOTH Duke and I.  I figured it wouldn't benefit him if breastfeeding made me a hot mess.  I prayed on it and we took a breastfeeding class at our hospital because I really wanted it to work.  Dennis said he would support me either way, but he also really hoped that it would go well for us after learning about all of the benefits in the class.  Seriously breast milk is basically a magic, ever-changing, created just-for-baby, liquid.

Duke latched on within the first 30 minutes of being born and ate like a champ.  The first night in the hospital he cluster-fed like a madman and by the next day I was so so sore I would cringe each time he would latch on.  I knew that my body needed to adjust, they had certainly NEVER experienced anything like this before, so we powered through.  Then I started to second guess every little sound Duke would make while he was eating.  What did they say in class? Is that a good sound or a bad sound!?  Is he latched correctly?  HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO TELL WHEN HIS LITTLE HEAD IS SO TINY AND FRAGILE!?  The nurses all said we were doing fine but I wanted to meet with our lactation consultant {who we had taken the class with} to be sure.  She reassured me that the sound I thought meant he had a 'bad latch' was a perfectly normal sound.  She taught us to listen for the sounds of him swallowing and showed us how Dennis could help out as well.

My milk came in on Monday night {Duke was born Saturday morning} and for a solid few hours, I felt like Pamela Anderson.  It was so funny to me.  I texted my oldest sister right away and she kindly suggested I take a picture, because unfortunately, my ladies would not be quite so perky once I really started breastfeeding.

Duke was eating every 2-3 hours and by 4 days after he was born, he was only 1 ounce away from his birth weight.  It was so encouraging, but the first couple weeks 4-6 weeks I was still very sore. I would take deep breaths and count to 10 during the initial latch, and after that, the pain would subside.  I could make it through 10 uncomfortable seconds!  I'd just had a baby after all- I am woman, hear me roar!  Seriously though, it helps to be your own cheerleader AND to have others that you're close with cheering you on and encouraging you in your journey.  If you're pregnant or expecting soon, make sure your support system knows what your plans are- don't be afraid to tell them what you'll need support with and how you want them to encourage you!

Once the first month was under our belts, breastfeeding was amazing.  Duke and I were in such a rhythm and I loved getting to snuggle up with him and know that my body was fueling his and helping him grow.  After physically carrying/growing him inside of me for 10 months, I loved that my body could continue to give him what he needed.

He loves to hold hands while he eats- melts my heart!
At this stage, breastfeeding is just so convenient!  It helps that it's also free.  I don't have to worry about packing bottles or formula or having access to water, etc. when we are out and about.  As long as Duke is with me, he can eat.  We introduced bottles of breast milk around 4 weeks {at the suggestion of our pediatrician and lactation consultant} and even though we hit some bumps in the road, Duke is back to taking these like a champ.  This is so important for me mentally to know that I can have some time to myself or go on a date with my husband, or just get away for a few hours, and Duke can get some quality time with other family members.

My amazing best friend Carrie giving Duke a bottle when he was around 5 weeks old.
Very first bottle with Daddy at 4 weeks!
Everyone has different experiences and far too many people have opinions on breastfeeding these days {where you do it, how long you do it, if you do it in public, etc. etc.} but I'm very thankful for how positive this experience has been for both Duke and I.  If you are a new mama or expecting soon and you want to give breastfeeding a try, I strongly encourage you to at least get to 6 weeks.  Those first 6 weeks are the hardest {helllo hormones!} and if you can make it past that mark, it will get much easier.

I'm certainly not an expert on the topic, but if you have questions or are just looking for a little support, I'm here to chat!

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