My breastfeeding journey started WAY before I gave birth to Santiago & Sofia. I knew that I wanted to breastfeed them and, at the time, was so naive about how I would successfully be able to feed my babies. I had my head-in-the-clouds thinking that it would be so easy and merely a choice I would make and the milk would come flowing. BOY was I wrong! Breastfeeding my babies has been both the hardest and most rewarding thing that I have done.
During maternity leave I breastfed both and would pump after each feed- including night feeds! My supply was going pretty well, although we still had to supplement. After returning to work I would pump three times during the day (about every 3 hours) and would breastfeed as soon as I got home. Honestly, there is no feeling like the latch of a baby. I would hydrate constantly and ensure I was eating enough. I took fenugreek and lactation supplements. I tried everything! The breastfeeding road is a long and windy one. but every mom should never need to feel guilt on how good or low her supply is. I can’t say enough how important it is to have a support system that will encourage you through whatever comes your way!
So first, I was not able to exclusively breastfeed both so I supplemented with formula. There are some things that I wish I would’ve done that might’ve helped my supply but that is neither here nor there and time has since passed. My hope is that you can read from my experiences and hopefully find something that fits for you! Just know that fed is best. There is so much unneeded judgement on the minute details of things.
One thing I wish I would’ve been able to do is initiate breastfeeding immediately. I didn’t get to start breastfeeding until the day after they were born. I wish I would’ve stood up for myself and for Santiago & Sofia. Sofia was taken to the NICU immediately after birth and Santiago shortly after. I’m not sure if there is much I could’ve done, but the thought of “what if” still bears down on me.
Another thing I wish I did was feed them on demand. In their beginning weeks of life, Michael and I researched all the right and wrong ways to survive the first few months of life. We wanted to establish a routine and I feel like in doing so, it hurt my supply because my body was registering that it only needed to produce milk once every 3-4 hours vice whenever they were hungry.
Lastly, I wish I would’ve joined a support group where lactation consultants can watch you as you feed and give you pointers. In most cities these are free but even if it did cost money, it is so worth it! I know so many mamas who have seeked the support of lactation consultants and have had such great success.
If I were to give any advice to new or soon-to-be mamas who desire to breastfeed it would be to feed on demand, pump after each feeding, and hydrate! The guidelines were telling me to drink 100 oz a day of water and about 3300 calories to maintain supply.
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I’m hoping you were able to get a few pointers on breastfeeding and would love to hear what worked for you!
Best of luck to those embarking on this amazing journey!