Our ever evolving breastfeeding journey
When it came to prepping for birth and baby I read everything, downloaded every app, watched every YouTube video, followed every fabulous supermom on IG. Everything.
But when it came to breastfeeding, the furthest I got was a quick google search. “La Leche league AND Virginia”
Thank God that in the areas I lack, Savannah Rose seems to be so solid. She’s patient, and she fully trusts her instincts.
Just a couple minutes after the best moment of my life, when the midwife put Babygirl on my stomach, she nuzzled up to my bosom, latched and started eating.
And I remember feeling overwhelmed with gratitude. So grateful that she knew what to do and so grateful that my body was producing what she needed.
A couple hours later, The hospital we birthed at had a lactation consultant come work with us one in one. And the following morning, they offered a hands on breast feeding class. So Savannah and I went and sat front and center, where we learned more about different techniques, and what we could expect in the coming days.
Hubby snapped this candid of us when Sav was just 1 day old. Teaching me what to do. :-)
That night, the cluster feedings began. Whew, Jesus. Can we please just have a moment of silence for all the new mamas who are making their way through the cluster feeding stage right now?
As tiring as it was, as sore as my nipples were, I remember still just being so grateful. And I like to think that’s the mindset I’ve stayed in when it comes to nursing Sav. Grateful. Because I know that there are so many struggles and reasons beyond our control that people are unable to do so.
So even when my body is beyond exhausted, it’s 12am, I’m up feeding Savannah Rose, and I have to be back up in an hour and a half to to get ready for the morning show, I’m grateful.
At 8 weeks postpartum, daddy gave Angel Baby her first bottle of pumped breast milk. I cried. On one hand I was happy he was getting to experience that amazing feeling of feeding babe and she just pauses and smiles at you with her eyes....total heart melting moment. But also, I was sad for 2 reasons: 1. I knew we were mainly introducing the bottle because we needed to prep Babygirl for when I returned to work 2. I had this fear that she would get nipple confusion and not be able to switch back and forth between bottle and boob. (Thank you to my good friend Kim for telling me I was spiraling and didn’t have anything to worry about. ❤️)
It took her about a week or so but Sav got the hang of bottle feedings. She’s a champ.
We started with the Comotomo Silicone Baby Bottle (which I've heard great things about) but found that she choked a lot even with the newborn nipple. We switched to the Munchkin Latch Bottle with a Stage 1 nipple. She took to it immediately, never chokes, and hasn't had any nipple confusion. Here's a link to their site: https://www.munchkin.com/bottles/all-about-latch.html
Around the same time, I started pumping for my freezer supply of breast milk — because I knew that once going back to work my milk production would likely slow some and I’m determined to be able to keep Babygirl on breast milk.
I returned to work when Savvy was about 11 weeks old and wow…I don’t think I was fully prepared for how difficult this part of the journey would be.
Since milk comes in every day/night at the same time based on the times baby eats, breastfeeding and pumping while working a demanding job with a drastically fluctuating schedule has proven to be extremely challenging for me.
Its takes me a lot of prayer, and daily pep talks from Hubs, Mom, my fellow mamas in the newsroom, and constant encouraging texts from my girls.
From pumping in a designated office at work when I happen to be at the station, to pumping in my photographers’ work cars at breaking news scenes -- house fires, helicopter crashes, homicide scenes…just about anywhere the stories take us.
There have been times when I’ve been in court, covering a case or in the middle of a show and unable to pump. OUCH. My breasts get engorged and I get overheated and nauseous. It's bad. In those moments it all feels like too much. But in the big picture it’s all so very worth it.
And I thank God that Savannah Rose hasn't had any trouble switching from nursing to bottle feeding and back to nursing. As soon as she sees me at the end of the work day she wants to nurse, even if the sitter has just given her a bottle. I've read so much about how nursing is about more than just feeding, its also about bonding and connecting, and soothing Baby. And in those moments with her I see it all so clearly.
I don't take one second of this journey for granted.
**And if you are a mama who desired to breastfeed but it didn't work out, or you're a mama who is struggling or has struggled on this breastfeeding journey. I am thinking of you. Holding space for you. You are magic. And I bet you your little one would second that. :-)
It takes a village to raise a child but let me tell you, it take a village to raise a mama too! Thank you to those who keep me encouraged!