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  • Writer's picturekaitlynliving

Pumpin' Ain't Easy!

Breastfeeding is not for the weak! It's a challenging journey for moms all over the world and everyone's experience around it is different. BF is an amazing opportunity to bond with your baby, but if I'm being honest it can also be a f*cking nightmare. However, it's a beautiful nightmare none the less that billions of moms choose to take on throughout motherhood. The thing is if you're a mom who chose to breastfeed don't believe the hype, you don't have to love it...hell you don't even have to like it. Your negative feelings around breastfeeding are totally normal and valid. I' want to share my journey with breastfeeding and how I overcame those negative feelings of defeat and resentment...

There's so many aspects of BF that aren't taught and talked about enough, so let's talk about it...

As a new mom breastfeeding can really take a huge toll on your mental health. It can make you feel like you're not good enough if you don't produce enough milk. You might even feel like you're failing your baby if your supply is low even after drinking gallons of water and liquid gold. Then there's the constant worry if whether or not your baby is getting enough to eat during nursing. You're constantly having to figure out when and where you're going to get a pump session in before your nipples fall off. It's a hot ass mess when your just getting started. I mean you've just brought this beautiful little baby home for the first time and not only are you stressed enough about caring for your child, but you've also gotta get the hang of this whole breastfeeding thing on top of everything else. This experience can be painful and very time consuming. Chapped nipples, sore breasts, and the long feedings are enough to make you want to throw in the towel.

No one tells you about the emotional rollercoaster BF can take you through. There were times where I resented my husband for being able to get more sleep through the night because he didn't have to wake up every few hours and surrender his boobs to a tiny little human. Don't get me wrong I chose this life and because it was important to me to be able to nurse my baby directly I kept at it day and night. But there was a part of me sometimes that wished it didn't have to be this way. I eventually had to explore what my options were and do what was best for me and baby.

After almost giving up completely on breastfeeding because I had moments where I dreaded being tied down to my baby what felt like 24/7, and not being able to get anything else done throughout the day I finally found a few solutions that worked for us that I'll share with you...

1. Nurse Before You Pump

This is so important. In the beginning I had no clue how to tell how much milk my baby was actually getting and whether he was getting full or not. I found that before when I would pump and then let him nurse on my milk let down he was more fussy and agitated as if he were still hungry. So after talking about it with a friend of mine I learned to feed baby first and then pump after.

2. Use a Bottle for Nighttime Feedings

I began expressing milk into a storage container to be used for nights so that my husband could help me during the night. This way we could take turns feeding so that I could get more rest and he could bond with baby as well.

3. Pump and Feed

I noticed my supply increased when baby was near me during a pump session and I was able to express twice as many ounces as before. This may not work for all mamas but it certainly helped me not feel like I was tied down as much, so I pumped on one side and fed baby on the other side. The skin to skin contact is also good for keeping your supply up ;).

4. Take Care of YOU!

Stress and tension will dry you up and that is not the goal here. Do what you need to for yourself in order to release some bad juju before a nursing or pumping session. Cleaning, laundry, and whatever else you think needs to get done can wait. The most important thing is a happy, healthy mama and baby.

5. Ask for Help When You Need It

If you need someone to hold you baby while you find a quiet and peaceful space in the house to pump then do that. After you nurse if you need a moment alone, then take some time out and have a friend or family member burp and play with baby while you decompress. Even if you just need someone to vent or talk to, don't be afraid to reach out.

After trying out these methods I no longer felt stressed out and like my days were just fading out, because I had to realize that I was doing the best that I could each day for my family.

I want you to know that no matter how you choose to feed your baby you are enough and there will be some hard days. Having a bad experience with breastfeeding does not make you a bad mother. You are what's best for your baby no matter what challenges you may face during your BF journey.

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