Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Mother's Milk

Soooo...I just finished this really super funny book that had a pretty snarky chapter on breastfeeding...which I chuckled at but made me feel a little like getting on a soap box for a here goes, and let me say up front that I'm not trying to push buttons...if you did nurse - great! if you didn't - great! I'm not writing this out of any judgement I just felt that breastfeeding could use a little cheerleading today :)
This is for you new, soon to be, or maybe someday mamas who might happen to be reading the same funny book I was....Nursing is ridiculously hard for EVERYONE in the kind of have to muddle through a few weeks with enormous breasts, milk soaking through 10 shirts a day, super sore nipples, baby that won't latch correctly, can't leave the house, feeling a little crazy, have to build your wardrobe around easy access to the feeding apparatus, until day it clicks and you and your baby are gazing lovingly in each others eyes and all is right with the world (or you are gazing at the latest episode of Gossip Girl while they chow down) and then 3 years later when your child hasn't consumed anything green for months you can sigh and think "well at least I know they were well fed for (however long they were breastfed)"  The real trick is confidence - to be a little (okay a lot) dorky - your body is pretty amazing - so just trust in your boobs! (that means stop second guessing if your babe is getting enough, just snuggle down, prepare to be couch bound for a while (it's a great way to catch up on your favorite shows, read that overflowing pile of magazines, and learn to text one handed all while providing your child with important nutrients) and it will all work itself out)...okay, that's my crazy stream of consciousness pep talk for the day!
xoxo, M
 ps - I just reread this a couple of days later and hope y'all know that I write these posts hastily on little sleep so please take with a grain of salt :)


  1. Let's hear it for the boobies (and the mamas attached to them)!

  2. I agree completely with all your observations. I nursed 3 children, and while it did get a little easier with each one, it was tough. I don't think anything can prepare you for the commitment that it takes.

  3. This is so true and so gently written/said. Thank you for the reminder (we are getting ready for number two)! Laura@

  4. I'm right there with you! Couldn't agree with you more.
    I've convinced myself that nursing is a pretty great reason to get an ipad. Reading those online mags, etc. while sitting on the couch, yes?

  5. Thank you for not making me feel guilty about those times that I read, watched tv, and iphone browsed. those were a rough first few months - i felt like i was just a walking boob. weaning now and that morning feed when n wakes up is so dear to me. i treasure every second because i now that it isn't going to last much longer.

  6. Oh I adore thee. I agree, it's a hot button issue. But I know so many women who want to try and they TRY and I feel like the don't get support or they get bad advice...(I can't agree more on the supplementing issue! YES!) My milk took 5 days to come in and my baby was Kume's positive (allergic to my blood) which meant he was jaundiced and needed to eat! Add to this, my endocrine system was crashing. It's pretty hard to make milk when you are not making any hormones. But I did it. And I really think the only reason why it worked was because I had the absolute BEST lactation consultant EVER.
    And let me tell you what....I remember Will and Grace reruns were on liftetime at 10 am. right when he would wake up from a little nap. I would sit on the couch nursing my little buckets and watching Will and Grace. It was awesome.
    Great post and well said. I probably would have managed to offend someone but, as are the grace to my disgrace.

  7. amen! it was hard in the beginning with all three of my girls but I'm so glad I've stuck it out. I love nursing them almost all the time. ;)

  8. Agree with Laura, so well said. It is a commitment but, like birthing, one of the coolest things ever. Thanks for the reminder of how lucky I am!

  9. thank you! needing the cheerleading today since i couldn't even make it out of the parking lot on a walmart run without having to whip out the boob. but you remind me how lucky i am... and you won't wonder why this is all in lower case ;)

  10. Love this post! From a 1st time soon to be 2nd time around mom, who thought I would only nurse for a year which turned into 2!!! I feel empowered and so fortunate to have been able to be such the provider for my beautiful very healthy toddler!!! Who still asks for sme "eat-eat"

  11. great post! very well said, i might add. brought back many sweet memories.

  12. I absolutely loved breastfeeding and miss is immensely. I never dealt with sore nipples but the whole soaking through 10 shirts a day and crazy engorgement I don't miss. It's really a beautiful and intimate thing that I hope all new moms will consider and try.

  13. I'm really glad that you're sharing this Michelle.

    I was a young mother (fairly young) and cannot express enough how I wish someone had shared this with me. It was extremely difficult, frustrating, painful, etc. in the beginning... and I was under the mistaken impression that it'd be extremely easy! Not true!

  14. Plus doesn't it help you lose baby weight? I mean, duh, why not...(I should probably get my priorities in line before having kids...?)

  15. I know you weren't trying to push buttons, but you did push buttons here. My milk supply wasn't what it should have been and my baby lost so much weight that she was labeled failure to thrive. I think you should be careful saying not to worry about if you baby isn't getting enough. Mine wasn't and supplementation is what helped her thrive.

  16. Carrie -
    i apologize as I wrote this hastily and didn't stress that obviously there are real situations where supplementing is necessary...hopefully no one takes my opinion as expert :)

  17. Excellent post! Another big benefit for me was that the milk was always ready to bottles to prepare or pack for an outing, no heating bottles or getting up to get them and the $$ savings is enormous!

  18. wonderful post! thank-you! i'm in the thick of it now, and at 2.5 months it's gotten SO much easier. truly is a delicate issue...obviously as above, there are a rare few with true supply issues.

    but it IS nice to be reminded not to worry about the baby getting enough. i'll take all the cheerleading in that dept i can get. my bub's already a whopping 14lbs, but i have had an all consuming worry since day1 "do i have enough?! why else would he be crying?"etc etc. so THANK-YOU. x

  19. oh PS: What's the name of the book!?

  20. Beautiful photo and post. I'm not sure that first time moms always get the support they need in the beginning to learn to breastfeed. The first few days or even weeks can be pretty tough. I think that makes a big different on whether the mom gives up or continues on to the stage where it becomes second nature and natural.

  21. I appreciate this post - I was also compelled to get on a soap box when I read the chapter in the funny book.

    I understand that many women see breastfeeders as a judge-y crowd of holier-than-thou types, but I think overall most of us just want to encourage new moms to stick with it and let them know that it although it IS hard, it DOES get easier.

    I will add that judgement is a two way street. I can't count how many people, starting by the time my baby was 5 months old, asked me if I was going to be one of those people who nurses my baby until he's 6. As if 5 months of breastfeeding is teetering on crazy. I know that your post wasn't really about the judgments we make about each other, but that's where the dialogue often seems to end up (hence the controversial nature of the topic).

    But anyway, love this post and I hope that new moms will use it as the supportive advice (and not condescending lecture) that it is meant to be.

  22. Thanks for posting this. Despite all the controversy, it is a natural and wonderfully intimate experience with your child. I feel like nursing my little guy for 2 years not only made him "strong like ox," but connected us in an unforgettable way that still resonates (despite all the raised eyebrows from people who thought that was too long).

    I really do feel for moms who've had a difficult time with it; it's not easy and sometimes it doesn't work out. But I also feel that often mothers are not given or don't have access to the help they need, which would get them through the really difficult stuff.

    Bah, it's hard being a mom.

  23. You guys all rock! I always feel a little nervous writing about hot button issues but all your comments gave me warm fuzzies - cause you know being a mom is hard and sometimes just trying to make it work is difficult! and for any of you long breastfeeders out there who get the stink eye for nursing their toddlers I nursed my first til she was 2 1/2 and she has always been wonderfully healthy (knock on wood!) I didn't plan on doing it so long but I kind of miss that super snuggly time with her ;)

  24. When I was pregnant with my first baby last year I was given great advice concerning breast feeding that I like to share with all new moms I know- "Just make it through the first couple months."

    After having the baby and trying breastfeeding I add a bit more to that advice-
    Don't worry so much if it doesn't work. That is what formula is for.

    I think warning that it will be really hard is great advice. But we all need to remember that sometimes no matter how hard you try it just does not work.

    I had lactation consultants and drips and pumps and nothing would work. It broke my heart and I kept telling myself to just get through the first couple months...
    But my baby was still under her birth weight for weeks and we were both a disaster. The day I switched to a bottle was the best day of my life. All of a sudden I had a happy baby and I was a happy mommy.

    There is so much controversy because we all have different experiences and we forget that it doesn't work the same for everyone else.

    We all wish it would work out for us like it did for you. But sometimes it doesn't.

    Anyway, I am all for breast feeding. I think it is great if it works. I think everyone should give it a good hard try if they are able.

    But I also want to remind everyone that it is okay if you can't. Your baby will be healthy and happy anyway.

    Sometimes we need a cheerleader telling us that it will get easier.
    And sometimes we need someone telling us that it is okay to quit.

    At the end of the day we all just want to be happy moms and have healthy babies. Sometimes breast feeding is not the answer.

  25. Totally well said anonymous - it's all about happy moms and happy babes! I just wanted to let new moms know that everyone has a hard time and no one is just great at it naturally :)

  26. How did I miss this post??

    Hot topic, indeed. I breastfed my daughter for 9 months, first 6 months solely breastfed. Hard stuff, and also the most amazing thing ever. There is nothing that I'm more proud of than sticking through those first 9 weeks of HARD days and nights. Then, like you said, presto - it was dreamland.

    I'm so lucky that I had the opportunity to not only stay home to help make bfeeding easier, but to also have a milk supply that afforded us the opportunity. Congrats to you too! Great post, and great commenters!

  27. Yay for boobs! I mean, that is what they are there for, yes?

    My first two were exclusively breast fed but my third babe is a bottle babe. I still get a little sad thinking about it. How maybe, just maybe if I mucked through the hard weeks I could be nursing him to sleep but alas, I am not. I had postpartum with my second and when those same feelings started to emerge, I had to lessen the stress I was feeling and baby N was on night three of not latching/not eating - so I made the hard decision to switch to bottle.

    I had to come to terms that I didn't just quite - I chose what would work best. And in the end, that's all that matters.

    Awesome post :)

  28. You said it! I couldn't agree more. Well put pretty mommy.

  29. I'm catching up on posts as I just found this blog and store!! I think breastfeeding always needs cheerleaders.


I'm hanging on your every word...let me know what you think!