“The best part of my life is being a mom. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.” -Seta Goldstein
One can say that having put away the potatoes in the freezer is a strong indicator of my mental health, but I’ve made it out alive three months into being a mom of two. Oliver James was born on February 7th, a planned c-section, and has been the biggest change and challenge I have ever welcomed into my 26 years of life. It’s been quite an exhausting, yet gratifying, journey so far. There were so many adjustments that came from having a second child—its been very different from when I had Emma. However, with change, comes knowledge! This time around I have been able to breastfeed and it quite literally sucks the life out of you.
The Biggest Challenge: Breastfeeding
I think one of the things I was most stressed about before having Oliver was breastfeeding. This was the one thing I really wanted to do. Emma’s birth was complicated. I was young and did not bother to educate myself on what I needed to do and no one at the hospital bothered to teach me. The only thing I got after flashing my boobs to a few lactation consultants was, “You have perfect breasts for feeding!”, which of course, didn’t help. It also didn’t help that Emma was in NICU for 10 days after birth. She refused to latch on and it didn’t help that I was WAY too exhausted to stay committed (which is THE MOST important part of exclusive breastfeeding).
I made it perfectly clear to my nurse and doctor before my c-section that Oliver was not to have any formula. They heard me loud and clear and made sure that everyone else knew what I wanted. Thank goodness for my nurse. As soon as I was closed up and taken back to recovery, I got to do skin-to-skin and she helped me with Oliver’s latch. Lo and behold, the little guy was a pro from the start. The baby’s latch is also very important in setting up your body for an efficient supply-and-demand. If the baby’s latch is off, he won’t suck out the milk properly and your body won’t know to produce enough supply.
I have experienced both sides of the coin. Emma was bottle-fed and Oliver is an exclusive breastfeeder, no bottle. And let me tell you, there is nothing more gratifying than being able to produce everything your baby needs (I will clarify that there is no right way or best way to feed your baby, whether you chose to bottle feed or breastfeed, FED is the best way). It is also THE MOST STRESSFUL thing I’ve ever had to deal with. Keeping up milk supply for this growing chunk has been a never ending obstacle since we brought him home.
“Though breastfeeding is supposed to the most natural thing ever, it seems like a rich-people sport for all the stuff we buy to help.” – Cassi Clark
Drinking plenty of water is a must do, but these are some of the products that have helped me keep production on its toes:
- The first product I found is an amazing postnatal organic vitamin meant to boost your milk supply by the brand Actif (link here). They are little expensive, but they are awesome!
- The second is a tea called Mother’s Milk (link here – best deal I’ve found, although you can find this at Publix or Walmart) At first, I did not like the taste, but with a little honey, its bearable. I have it after every meal and it’s kind of replaced all the coffee I used to drink.
- The third is Upspring’s MilkFlow powder (link here). I have it about twice a day and from the start, I saw a considerable difference in supply. I drink the berry flavored one and it reminds me of Koolaid powder—its very sweet.
- The one random way I found to boost my milk supply is Gatorade! I buy the G2 Gatorade, which has less sugar and have about 4 a day. For some reason there were days when my milk supply would wane in the evenings and there was absolutely no appeasing Oliver. Gatorade is the heaven sent product that really helped me have consistency in supply ALL DAY.
There are days when exhaustion makes breastfeeding extremely hard to stay committed to. I learn something new everyday and I have yet to master feeding in public because I have no idea how nursing covers work. But when I’m nursing in my perpetual zombie-like state and he smiles up at me, I’m reminded that right now, I’m the world to this tiny being and one day, he won’t need me anymore.