3 Babies Later… What I Wish I Had Known About Breastfeeding

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Evelyn is just over 1 week old now and her day to day life looks something like this:

  • Nurse
  • Sleep
  • Nurse 
  • Sleep
  • Nurse 
  • Sleep
She has a few periods of wakefulness that are lasting longer each day, but so far she is still getting used to life outside mama. I love this stage – and I know it doesn't last. ๐Ÿ™‚
Eve is the my third baby and I've been fortunate to find breastfeeding easier each time. Before motherhood, I was completely inexperienced with babies. I knew absolutely NOTHING about breastfeeding before having children and it never really occurred to me that I wouldn't just feed my children formula until I started doing research while I was pregnant for the first time and learning about all the health benefits of breastfeeding. Plus, it's free! That part won me over, too…

Breastfeeding 3 Babies

It was a bit of a struggle with my oldest, Mercury – he had a hard time latching on and I used a nipple shield for our entire nursing relationship, which lasted all of three months! It was so cumbersome, and while I had really wanted to breast feed him for longer, I'm happy that we got a few months in.

Nursing Timothy was much easier. He caught on right away and I was more knowledgeable about comfortable holds and everything the second time around. I nursed him for about 11 months. Once again, I had wanted to nurse him for at least a year but I got pregnant again which made my milk supply kind of all over the place which was frustrating for both of us. I weaned him, which ended up being much easier than trying to continue to nurse – which surprised me. I'm really happy with how things went overall with him!

Little mama is nursing well so far. She also latched on easily right after birth. She falls asleep a lot, but continues to eat for quite awhile even while she's sleeping so I just hold her. She actually reminds me a lot of Timothy as a newborn, So I'm predicting a good, long nursing relationship with her, too!

If I Knew Then What I Know Now

I'm sure I would have been able to nurse Mercury much longer had I been more informed and prepared. There are a few things that I would share with myself, if I could go back in time and do so. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Nipple shields – a last resort. There are many things that I second guessed myself about as a first time mother. A few things that I would have decided differently if I had been confident enough… but I let others make me feel silly about them. I wish that weren't the case, but there's not much I can do about it now and anyway, that's another post! Nipple shields were one of those things. One of the nurses at the hospital pressured me into using a nipple shield with Mercury when he wouldn't *immediately* latch on, which I know now (and suspected then…) was completely unnecessary. It did cause nipple confusion and he was never able to learn how to latch on well.
  • Nurse even when you “don't have milk.” It takes a few days for milk to come in – until then, colostrum has everything baby needs. Nurse, nurse, nurse as much as baby wants until it does because the frequency of your baby's suckling tells your body how much milk it needs to make!
  • Do what feels comfortable for you and baby. I'm not really sure why, but it seems like the nurses and lactation consultants I've talked to are just crazy about the football hold – they jump to suggest it anytime it takes longer than 5 seconds to get baby latched on. (Can you tell I'm over hospital births yet?) I am sure it's great for many moms, but I have never been able to do it comfortable and cradle holding works just fine for me and my babies! My point is, find what works for you – you need to be comfortable in order to want to continue nursing long term. Lying side by side is another favorite after a few weeks – sleeping and feeding a baby? Best multitasking ever!
  • Oats are serious business. If you get a little dehydrated or your baby goes through a sudden growth spurt and or it feels like your milk supply is just not keeping up for whatever reason, eat oatmeal! It helps so much and works really quickly! There are also some herbs that can be helpful for milk supply – I'll be writing another post on that soon.
  • Cracked nipples are worse than childbirth. Not joking – this only happened to me once, when Timothy was a newborn. My sister in law recommended Soothies – these gel pads that make everything SO much better, especially if you put them in the fridge for a bit first. I am forever grateful to her for that!! 
One of the most helpful resources I've come across in researching all things related to breastfeeding is KellyMom – bookmark it if breastfeeding is in your future!
Do you, did you, will you breastfeed your children? What are you wondering about or what would you share with yourself if you could go back?

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Kylie Wiser is an herbalist specializing in skincare and women's health. She shares recipes and resources on Everblossom to help others live a more holistic lifestyle. She lives in Fargo, ND with her huge family and lots of houseplants.

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