Day Three | Megan's Journey | An Arvada breastfeeding story
During my pregnancy, I thought I was more prepared for breastfeeding than I was with Liam (my first child). I thought it was going to be perfect, no problems, just me looking lovingly upon her sweet face every time she wanted to nurse. You know, the perfect picture! I thought it would be just like riding a bike. I nursed Liam until he was almost 2 ½, so I thought everything would be perfect.
When she finally came, I was much less prepared than I thought I’d be. There’s a big difference in what I remembered from breastfeeding Liam as a toddler than nursing a newborn!
Liam had a champion latch from the get go. My milk came in quick and we had no issues with his transfer of milk. Unfortunately, about a month post-partum I got really sick and had trouble even holding him to nurse. I pumped and nursed as much as I could during the month-long battle, but my supply tanked because of some of the medications I was on, so we resorted to giving him a mix of formula and breastmilk. I was so excited when we had finally gotten my arthritis under control enough for me to wean him off the formula and back to just breastmilk! I pumped for 15 months while working full time and he breastfed until shortly after his 2nd birthday!
Nursing Olivia has been a challenge. From the very first week, we had issues with her latch. She sucked in so much air when she nursed and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to correct her latch. We visited lactation consultants, talked to her doctor, got anecdotal advice from friends and fellow moms, and up until about 3 months old, she continuously sucked in air through the corner of her mouth. This brought; gas pains, colic, suspected reflux, and a very cranky baby.
After months of research and sleepless nights, one day, she just latched perfectly. I’m not sure if it was because she had to start taking a bottle while I was at work, or she just grew a bit and made it easier for her mouth to function properly, but it was like overnight she just got it. I consider that a complication and a success!
I realized after I went back to work and was pumping all day that I have an oversupply (which is weird and new, I just barely made enough for Liam), and I think that may have had a lot to do with some of her past issues. She’s a wiggly girl now at 7 months old, but still loves mama milk and loves to stare at me while she’s nursing. It’s such a beautiful bond and I’m hopeful I can continue until she decides it’s time to stop!
Pumping at work has been fine with Olivia! I had issues with my supervisor when I was pumping for Liam. He didn’t want to give me the time I needed to get to the lactation room, pump, clean up, and come back as often as I needed to maintain my supply. I had to fight with our HR department to get a closer pumping room and had to reiterate Colorado Law several times to both him and our HR department. As a result, my employer changed their breastfeeding policy, and I’m happy that they’ll allow all mothers to pump until 2 years post-partum.
Now, I work in a different department and my supervisor is incredible. She’s a mom of 2 girls and is so incredibly accommodating. I have an office less than 20 feet from my desk that I use as my personal lactation room. I take whatever time I need as many times a day as I need, and I’ve been able to build a great freezer stash because of the time she allows me to take. It’s even allowed me to pump extra and donate to another mama. I’m so grateful for the support of my coworkers and supervisor! They know how important it is for me to be able to give Olivia breastmilk and their support means everything!
My support system has made it possible for me to fall in love with breastfeeding. Not just the physical act of nursing my children, but I’m fascinated at the biology of breastmilk, the way a mother’s body picks up on what the child needs and changes the composition to meet those needs, the bonding and closeness it provides, the way it has the power to calm a hurt or upset little one - everything about it.
I always saw myself as a mother, but never really saw myself as a breastfeeding mother. Unfortunately, I was part of the ‘problem’ until I had kids because I never appreciated breastfeeding moms for the goddesses we are. Now, I’m so proud of my journey with each of my kids and hope to be that support for anyone else who needs it. I even turned my love of breastfeeding into a business and now create jewelry pieces for moms to commemorate their own journeys. If you have even one person in your corner, you’re in good company.
I hope breastfeeding and breastmilk can be a good foundation for both of my kids. I’ve struggled with weight my whole life. I myself was born at 28 weeks and was on steroids and specialty formula from the very beginning. Since I started learning about breastfeeding and the nutrition in breastmilk, I’ve wondered if some of my weight issues might have stemmed from the way my nutrition started as a baby. My parents were so eager to get me to gain weight as a baby (because I needed it!) that I’m curious how that translated into my current weight issues. My hope is that by exclusively breastfeeding, maybe it’ll help them avoid major weight problems like I’ve had. I know the basis of healthy habits is more based on teaching them about nutritional balance, but I can’t help but hope that this will be a great base foundation for healthy lives!
The best breastfeeding advice I’ve received is not to let anyone else dictate your nursing relationship with your child. Go ahead, feed them uncovered in public. Nurse them to sleep. Breastfeed past one. Stop listening to the negativity. Other people don’t get to tell me how or why or when to nurture my children!
Now that I think about it, that’s the best advice I’ve received about parenting in general. Don’t let someone else dictate the way you parent your children. As their mother, I’m the one who knows my children best and the way I parent is tailored to their individual needs. As long as they are growing, healthy, happy, thriving, and safe, that’s all anyone can ask for. Figure out what YOUR child needs and what makes them thrive individually, then follow your own heart and instincts. Don’t do something just because it’s the ‘hip’ thing, or because that’s what your mother or grandmother did. Do it because you believe in it and your children benefit.
Have you had any struggles or was something completely different between your children? We’d love to hear all about it below in the comments. If you would like to share more of your story, contact me and we can start to plan your perfect session to celebrate your journey.