Breastfeeding 101: From A Mom Who’s Been There

In honor of National Breastfeeding Awareness Month, we’re talking all about the journey of breastfeeding—all its craziness, the emotions it brings, and of course, the rewarding moments.

Hi! I’m Olivia. Nice to virtually meet you. As a working mom of two, I’m here to offer support and share some tips I’ve learned along the way.

Why Should I Breastfeed?

Gold. Breastmilk is liquid gold for the babes. The benefits are endless! Let me start by saying this— a fed baby is a happy baby; a happy baby makes for a happy mommy; and if mommy is happy, all is well in the world (dads, I’m sure you can agree). If you have the opportunity to breastfeed, I say go for it. You will be amazed at what this magic juice can do. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that babies be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months of life, if possible, and should continue to breastfeed for a year or more. Breastmilk provides the ultimate nutrition for infants, including significant vitamins, proteins, and fat. Not to mention, breastmilk contains antibodies that help fight off viruses, bacteria, and can lower the risk of your little one developing asthma or allergies. Some studies suggest that breastfeeding has been linked to higher IQ scores and plays a role in the prevention of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).

We’re not done yet! Mom receives some awesome benefits, too! Breastfeeding burns extra calories (SCORE!), and your body releases a hormone called Oxytocin, which helps your uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size and reduce bleeding after birth.

Throughout my personal breastfeeding experience, I could feel my uterus contract when breastfeeding— weird, right?! While it was definitely an unexpected sensation, it made me think, “this must really be working!” Another benefit is the money you save while breastfeeding… I mean HELLO, IT’S FREE! I also maaaay or may not have used the excuse that I was still “eating for two” a few times.

Lastly, the bond. If you don’t breastfeed for ALL the other reasons, do it for this. The beautiful bond between baby and mom, even if you can only breastfeed for a short period of time, it is such a powerful one. It’s unlike anything else you’ll ever experience.

My Experience & Some Tips

With my first child, I was able to exclusively breastfeed at anytime, anywhere, on demand. The incredible thing about breastmilk is, your body works off a supply and demand type of schedule, so your body makes what baby needs. This counts for calories too! A lot of new moms who breastfeed worry about the intake and wonder if baby is truly getting enough. If you find yourself concerned about baby’s latch or intake, reach out to your local IBCLC (Internationally Board-Certified Lactation Consultants) or pediatrician to discuss it and get the help you need.

Things were a little different my second go around. At this point, I was working full time. In fact, I went back to work only two weeks after having baby number two. What can I say? I like to keep busy! As a working mom, I had so many questions:

“How do I know how much to pump? How much will she need? Is she getting enough? Will she even take a bottle?”

Overwhelming, right? Take it from me— the best thing to do is breathe and get your answers before baby comes. I received a breast pump (which quickly became my new best friend) FREE through insurance! YES! You read that right! Not only was it free, it came with online classes on how to use it properly. Definitely check with your insurance company about a breast pump BEFORE you go and purchase one. You just never know!

Another factor in achieving your breastfeeding goals is to set them a little at a time. Baby steps (pun intended). Everyone’s breastfeeding routine will vary depending on your circumstances. Maybe you plan to breastfeed naturally, pump, or a mix of both. Regardless of what you decide, know that there are no wrong decisions, and no one should make you feel that way. Having a huge support system is a must, whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or a working mom. For you working mommas out there, be sure to talk to your supervisor, create a plan, and identify a calm space for you to STOP and take a time to pump for baby. After all, this special time only comes around once per babe… so make it count!

Want more of our favorite breastfeeding tips? Visit our Pinterest board for more!

THE CONTENT OF THIS ARTICLE DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. If you have a medical emergency or question, immediately call your doctor or dial 911 for assistance.