Breastfeeding is certainly one of the most beautiful connections that a mother and her baby share.
Jackson was exclusively breastfed for two months. It wasn’t very long, but being a self-employed mom, I had to keep working and I found breastfeeding very exhausting. I definitely enjoyed the bond with my son, it is something I am looking forward to living again (hopefully), but it was not convenient at all with my schedule and energy capacity.
In those two short months, I learned a few lessons, and I thought I should share them with all of the mamas out there wondering if they will breastfeed or not.
1. Don't set expectations and don't over plan it
It is impossible to know how much milk supply you will produce until a few days after baby is born, so don't plan too much and just go with the flow. You can maybe ask a friend if they have a sterilized breast pump they would lend you, so if you do end up needing it, you can then buy your own. I've seen is many times, parents getting a $400-$600 breast pump and never using it because they did not end up breastfeeding. That is a lot of money left in a box.
2. Treat yourself
Eat what you want and when you want it. Don't listen to what people say on the internet about milk being spicy if you eat tomatoes.. seriously. If you want to increase your milk production, you can treat yourself to some homemade sweets the whole family can also enjoy.
Here are my favourites:
- Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
- No Bake M&M Bites
- Cashew Coconut Lemon Bites
- Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cookies
3. Know what is best for you
In order to take care of your baby, you need to be a healthy and happy mom. Not only your physical health is important, but your mental health as well! You need to communicate with your partner and listen to yourself as well.
Some moms put themselves under the pressure of breastfeeding (and many other things) because they think it's what should be done and to do differently will make them a failure. Wrong.
If you are not sure if breastfeeding is really made for you, or if you should keep going, make a list and weight the pros and cons.
- Special bond with my baby
- Saving money on formula
- Giving antibodies to my baby
- Easy not having to prepare bottles when leaving the house
- Pumping is time consuming
- Hard to know how much baby drinks
- Only mom can feed (dad wanted to feed baby in this scenario)
- If not feeding, need to keep pumping
- Engorged breasts, uncomfortable
- Not convenient with work schedule and meeting clients
- Cannot wear all my clothes
- Not sleeping very well
As you can see, my list of cons was longer than my list of pros. As much as I wanted to keep breastfeeding, it just was not the best solution for me and my family. Plus, my husband was super happy to finally have the chance to feed his little boy and feel that special bond too. He gave him his first bottle, we made it a family moment we will always remember.
Tip: You will be producing some milk for a while and you probably have some in the freezer already. Use that milk to mix with your formula. We did and Jackson was fed breast milk for about 4 months after I stopped breastfeeding exclusively!
4. Prepare for a lot of emotions
It is, for the most part, an inner battle to breastfeed. It is a lot and I think this is why I look up at breastfeeding moms a bit like I would look up at superheroes. My past self would have never believed it had I told her that I cried like a baby when I made the decision to stop breastfeeding.
For some women, it is not a choice. They simply cannot produce milk enough to feed their baby. And this is completely normal.. It does not make you less of a mother to bottle feed. The right thing to do is simply to talk about it and seek help if it becomes too much of a burden and affects your mental health.
5. Buy the right equipment
AND DO NOT BUY RIGHT AWAY. I put emphasis on this ok. You do not want to spend $600 on a breast pump before you are 100% committed to breastfeeding. This is the most common mistake I see new moms making. OR like me.. do not wait and buy whatever because it is cheap. If you are going to be using it for 1-2 years and planning on using it more than once: Splurge and choose wisely. You will thank me later.
I had bought a manual one for cheap.. something like $30... not it. Then I bought an electric one for $199 but it needed to be held and plugged into the wall. So basically, for 1 hour after each feeding, I was feeling like a piece of furniture, attached to the machine in order to pump the most milk I could. Pass.
If I could go back and buy THE breast pump, it would be the Double Wearable Breast Pump
Whatever your breastfeeding journey looks like, I truly hope you will enjoy every minute of it. And don't forget: You are doing great and you are, or are going to be, an amazing mom!