My Breastfeeding Journey So Far

My Breastfeeding Journey So Far | Freckled Italian

I've had a few requests to do a breastfeeding post, so here we are! I wasn't super sure what you guys wanted to know, so this is just a general overview of my experience so far.

Currently, I'm feeding Sophie from a bottle about half the time--she's just over 5 months now and very aware of her surroundings, which means she gets distracted really easily. She'll be latched on and eating really well, but Ender might flap his ears or Rob's phone will buzz and suddenly she's looking around to see what's going on. I used to watch Instagram Stories while feeding her but now I have to do it on mute or she'll want to watch, too. We started giving her a bottle of breastmilk pretty early--I think it was around 3 or 4 weeks (I've mentioned this in a previous post)--Rob would feed her at night so I could sleep for a few hours uninterrupted.

Pumping and bottle feeding takes a bit longer, but it's been kind of nice to see exactly how much milk she's getting. When you're just feeding from the breast it can be hard to guess. Basically what I do now is feed her first thing in the morning when it's still dark and quiet in our room, then pump during her first nap so I have a bottle ready to go. I always try to feed her from my breasts first and if she's too distracted we switch to a bottle, usually 6-8 ounces. After her last nap and right before bed she also gets a bottle, and then I pump again before I go to bed. Before I started giving her so many bottles I was pumping just 1-2 times a day, aiming to do it 3 times, but now that she gets at least two bottles a day I'm actually pumping 4 times, which feels like a lot. 

We also just started experimenting with solids, and by that I mean she ate like 1/16th of an avocado over two days. We're getting her a high chair soon and then we'll be able to get more into it--our pediatrician said we could start at 4 months but it seemed really soon so we're just trying it out very slowly until she's 6 months old. She wasn't super sure what to do with the avocado but once she got it in her mouth she was all about it. It was so fun.

Before I really start rambling too much I thought I'd hit you with a few bullet points instead:

What's Been Hard:

  • I got mastitis in December and it sucked. I had a fever and my whole body ached and I kept getting chills followed by super intense sweats. I really thought I was getting the flu but then it'd just go away for a few hours and I'd feel okay again. I called my midwife and she got me in to see her and I took some antibiotics and felt better after a few days.
  • For almost four months I couldn't get Sophie to latch without a nipple shield and man did it hurt. It was great being able to feed her and get her to latch easily with it, but the shield was not comfortable at all. I remember thinking there was something wrong with my left breast because I would literally be writhing in pain when she ate from that side. Once she was able to feed without the shield, the pain went away completely.
  • I'm not sure if it was just my body trying to figure out how much milk I needed or clogged ducts or what, but when Sophie was 1-2 months old, there were some days where by 9PM it seemed like I just didn't have enough milk left. My boobs felt exhausted after nursing her all day and she was usually really fussy at night. After a while I think my supply caught up to her appetite, but it was rough for a while there--long hot showers seemed to help. Rob would take her and I'd give myself a half hour to relax and I was always able to feed her again after a little break.

What's Been Easy:

  • I don't know if any of it is easy, but I guess I like breastfeeding because I can feed her whenever I need to no matter where we are. Pumping and having bottles was a game changer for us--one time we went to the mall and she was screaming when we got back to the car so we sat in the parking lot for like 25 minutes while I fed her and then we got stuck in traffic on the way home because it was way later than we had anticipated. Now if we're going out I throw a bottle in the diaper bag and I can feed her on the go. Makes life so much easier. 

Biggest Surprises: 

  • My body makes milk! After my mom's breast cancer and my BRCA 2 gene mutation diagnosis, there was a part of me that wondered if I was going to be able to breastfeed at all.
  • Breastfeeding makes you so incredibly hungry and thirsty.
  • It can be weird and sometimes it's uncomfortable but I really enjoy it a lot--I guess I was prepared for the worst.
  • Learning just how often you're topless when you're breastfeeding a baby, especially those first few weeks.

Breastfeeding Products I Love: 

  • I've been taking these supplements (referral link--10% off for you!) for about a week and I really think they've made a difference. Honestly though I think I only got them because the packaging is really cute--I've been able to up my supply with extra pumping, more water, and plenty of snacks as well in the past.
  • I absolutely LOVE this nursing top. It's so soft and so cute--I wear it all the time.
  • I use these every single day--I pop them in the microwave together for 30 seconds and wear them over my pump flanges, especially at night.
  • Sophie is big enough to not need a pillow for support, but it's still a lot easier to feed her using this guy.
  • Nursing bras I love: this one for something pretty, this one for a little more support.

That's all for now! Let me know if you have more specific questions and I'll be happy to try to answer them. I'd also love to hear your experiences! This motherhood things feels a lot easier when we have chances to connect with each other and share our stories. As always, thanks for reading!

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