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Lessons from my Breastfeeding Journey

August 7, 2017 in Motherhood - No Comments

Lessons from my Breastfeeding Journey

August 7, 2017 in Motherhood - No Comments

Nearly 15 months. That’s how long it has been since starting this breastfeeding and life journey together with this little man of mine. It has been a journey that has had me in awe and in tears and from a place of nearly giving up to never wanting it to end. In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, I thought I would take a moment to share my breastfeeding journey with you all. Maybe you will relate to it, maybe you won’t. Maybe you will learn something from it, maybe you won’t. Maybe you can even teach me a thing or two or three. In all honesty, my reasons for writing it down is as much to share with the world as it is for me to document our little journey for myself while it is still fresh in my mind.

I think with your first child, you never really know what to expect. I knew it was my goal to breastfeed as long as I could/he wanted, but you don’t really know how your body will handle it and even what it will all be like, feel like, etc. until you are in the middle of it. That being said, seeing that our little guy decided to arrive 6 weeks early, via c-section nonetheless, it certainly started our journey off on an even more unexpected path. I will admit, it completely and utterly broke my heart when I didn’t have that “picture perfect” moment of cuddling him on my chest for those first few moments of his life and letting him immediately make that connection I so badly wanted for him. Instead he was whisked away to NICU, and I was left to pump as a post surgery parting gift – and so began our “breastfeeding” journey.

Now I will admit, I was incredibly lucky in that I was actually able to pump quite a significant amount right from the start. I would pump every 2-3 hours for those first few days in the hospital and the nurses would then bring my milk to Asher where he would have it “delivered” via a feeding tube. Finally on his 4th day of life, I got to try to breastfeed him. It was all sorts of awkward and unsuccessful on both our parts, but it was a start. And slowly but surely we both started to get the hang of it.

In order for us to go home from the NICU, Asher had to be able to drink 50 ml on his own. I remember for awhile putting so much pressure on every breastfeeding session and almost getting mad at this beautiful little soul of ours when he wouldn’t get close or seem to regress at times with this goal. Before and after every feeding we would have to do a weigh in and when results were lackluster, I felt such discouragement. With each passing day, he was able to gradually take more and more, but in order to get him home more quickly the nurses suggested we also introduce a bottle as  many preemies are better able to drink a more adequate amount this way. I struggled with this for awhile as I wanted to “exclusively” breastfeed. But wanting to bring our little boy home, coupled with the knowledge that eventually I would be going back to work and he would need to learn to drink from one anyway, led me to the decision to give it a go. I know some will say that this can interfere with babies wanting to actually breastfeed, and it very well could have. Luckily though, for us at least, Asher was more than happy and willing to go for either – the kid just wanted to drink.

Once we finally made it home from the NICU, we seemed to get into more of a rhythm (and I will admit there were many times I was glad he learned how to use a bottle right away, as daddy could come in for the assist at times when I needed some serious zzzz…). I figured out what positions worked the best for us and Ash seemed to be growing like a weed. Then, enter, the dreaded reflux. Somehow, we avoided it all together in NICU. But a few weeks after heading home, this kid was gassy and spitting up like it was his job. As I said previously, I was blessed with a pretty good supply from the start, and I think quite often it was too good – especially for such a tiny babe. So we had a double whammy on our hands and frankly, I think my oversupply contributed to the problem. So we quickly learned the art of sitting him upright to feed, sitting him upright after feeding and bringing 10 burp cloths with us wherever we went. After many a chat with our doctor as well – we eventually ended up resounding ourselves to the fact that he was a “happy spitter” (as he was continuing to gain weight  – although many days I wondered how with the amount that seemed to end up on my floor, hair and everywhere in between), and we got him on a good probiotic and seeing a wonderful chiropractor (yes, they can help with infant reflux!). Honestly, he still has the occasional spit up here and there, and I am still hopeful it’s something he will grow completely out of eventually.

I returned to work, when Asher was a little over three months old, it was another huge transition for us. This meant that I would no longer be able to feed him every time he wanted/needed, but rather he would need to be on more of a schedule. I’ll admit after finally being able to quit pumping and just feed my child, I had no desire to go back to it (like AT ALL), but I also knew that with working full time it was the only way that we could continue on this journey together. My little pumping closet filled with cabinets and school science kits was not even close to glorious or motivating, but I made it my home for the duration of the school year. And I will admit that while I would much rather just nurse my little, I oddly came to find my pumping time each day to be a bit of an escape and time where I could take a deep breath and refresh a bit from all the busy of the day. I won’t lie and say it was all rainbow and unicorns, as being a nursing and working mama is a tough job. You do have to advocate for your time and, in doing so, advocate for your babe. There were many a day when I had to leave meetings early, skip out on lunches with colleagues, etc. All that aside, I look back though and am so stinking’ proud of myself for making it through the entire school year, and give mad props to all mamas who work and do the pump thing as well. It’s not for the faint of heart.

Once we got the hang of this new normal, we cruised along with very few bumps in the road until Asher was about 8 months old. The more he began to sleep through the night, the more I began to develop some serious clogged ducts. I guess me and the zzzz train were just not meant to be an item. Not to mention it was around this time that he also discovered his gums (we were toothless thank goodness until age 1).  However, he used those puppies to chomp down like it was the last meal he’d ever have. Enter milk blisters, which only perpetuated my clogged duct issue. Quickly my pumping sessions at work became a stressful nightmare as I ruthlessly tried to unclog myself all the while praying for no trace of mastitis. I would come home at night and take hot showers and try and use every position under the sun with little man and the pump to try and get the clogs out. This went on for nearly two months where basically the moment I would get one unclogged, within a day it would reappear. Pure torture. I went to see a lactation consultant. I had one come to our house and work with us both. I was desperate and so wanted to continue our journey, but knew if this continued I just wasn’t sure how long I could hang on. I got to a point where I felt like I was trying to be the best mom I could be in nursing him as long as he desired, but in spending so much time fixated on trying to fix my nursing problem, I wasn’t sure I was actually being the best mom I could be. As a last resort, my lactation consultant suggested I check with a chiropractor she knew that could do cold laser therapy. I guess it is a new alternative to ultrasound therapy which they have sometimes used for moms with similar issues in the past. I was blown away. After one session of therapy combined with a serious kinesiology tape job on my boobs, my clogs were gone. And not just for a day, but for a few, and then a week and here I am 5 months later, clog free ever since. I guess the combo of breaking things up from the laser combined with lifting the skin just a little with the tape, gave my body just the relief it needed to heal and do it’s thing effectively again. Morale of the story – seek help. Lots of it.

And now here we are. Nearly 15 months later and we are still on this crazy, boob grabbing, pinching, pulling, staring, and sucking train. I am learning to navigate the throes of nursing a toddler now which brings with it, its own slew of challenges and frankly, quite comical moments (you’ve seen these pictures right?). But despite the crazy, I am still loving this little journey of ours. I love that my body can still nourish my babe. I love that my milk is made just for him. I love that we have this special time to connect. But what I love most of all is that it is something that in the end, makes us both happy. And happy babies and happy mamas are what really matters. In all honesty, whether you breastfeed or not, keeping a human a live is no small feat – and every mama deserves mad props for that! Gives yourself a round of applause ladies – you are doing it…and doing it well.

kristahapp

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About Me

Hi, I'm Mrs. Happ! I love Jesus, Mr. Happ and being a mama to our little man. I live off of a steady stream of bone broth, kombucha, Spanglish & top knots. And when I'm not busy chasing a toddler, I love me a good creative endeavor. Welcome to our "HAPPy Healthy Casa". I'm so glad your here. Read More

Krista

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  • Just your typical morning tower building. 😋
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#ad Not only do we enjoy crafting top notch towers over here, but we appreciate using top notch supplements as part of our daily routine as well. I started using @ancientnutrition Bone Broth Protein a few years back to support my gut and immune health, and I’ve only grown to love this company, their products and what they stand for more since. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
In addition to our Bone Broth Protein, some other products we are loving lately include:
*Multi Collagen Protein Strawberry Lemonade 🍋: Supports skin elasticity and healthy joint function, not to mention it’s perfect for sipping in the summer time.
*Keto Cocoa: Chalked full of MCTs, adaptogenic herbs and mushrooms, we love adding this to smoothies, making hot cocoa and even pancakes with it (see my stories from today 👏🏻).
*Ancient Probiotics -Ultimate: One of my favorites to keep in rotation when I need some intense support. In addition to a diverse probiotic blend, it also contains an Ayurvedic herbal blend with herbs like turmeric, ginger, etc. *Fermented Ashwagandha: I don’t know what I would do without this little herb as a busy mama. It supports a healthy response to stress and cortisol levels in addition to energy and focus. 👌🏻👏🏻
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So now I’m curious, if you could build a tower out of some of your favorite supplements, what would you use? #ancientnutrition
  • 🌱Asparagus Painting 🌱
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I know I always say vegetables make the best paint brushes. But asparagus may be top dog when it comes to mimicking the real deal. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
We practiced some letter tracing today with this vegetable, and I let Asher pick out some all natural paint from the refrigerator to use for dipping.
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His choices today: Organic Maple Syrup 🍁, @tessemaes BBQ Sauce and @sirkensingtons Chipotle Mayo. Quite the array 🤷🏼‍♀️. He dipped, traced a few letters, and then basically just went to town using his asparagus as a spoon to indulge in all of his “paint” selections 😂. Kinda figured that may be the case- and I was 100% okay with it as each time he snagged some sauce he also put that asparagus in his mouth and even ventured to try a bite. Plus it made for a great sensory experience as he was covered in it all by the end. .
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#toddleractivities #totschool #totschooling #preschoolathome #learningwithmommy #playbasedlearning #learningthroughplay #littleoneslearn #earlylearning101 #wonderandawekids #activitiesforkids #activitiesfortoddlers #mydayswithkids #tagfromtheheart #craftymama #creativechildhood #kidssnacks #toddlerfood #eattherainbow #iteachbilinguals #bilingualkids #homeschoolblog #kidsactivitiesblog #earlyliteracy #sensoryplay #sensoryactivity
  • D is for Dates. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
(Or as we call them in our “casa” - Dátiles.)
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We love dates over here and they are darn close to being called a staple in our home. We love wrapping them in bacon for mealtime. Stuffing them with nuts, nut butters or vegan cheese for snacks. And we love adding them into smoothies and treats if we are looking for a pop of natural sweetness. This fruit is chalked full of potassium and fiber and rich in antioxidants, and thus, I think it deserved to receive a day of recognition 😉. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
This morning Asher helped me pit our dates and combine them with other ingredients like avocado, hemp seeds, coconut and cacao powder to create this “No-Bake Chocolate Avocado Bites” recipe from my incredibly talented amiga @thenaturalnurturer. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
After we created our balls, I asked Asher what he would like to roll them in. I told him he could choose three things, and I would choose three so we had a variety of different tastes. Asher chose to roll his in food-dyed sprinkles, cinnamon, and coconut. I chose walnuts, hemp hearts and beet powder for mine. And yes, in case you are wondering, they taste as heavenly as they look.
  • 📖 My Story: Part #2 📖 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Life seemingly went back to normal as I knew it after my health scare my junior year. (See Part #1). I was ready to move forward and enter into my college years and into my first career as an elementary school teacher. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Through that time I would notice on and off that when I ate certain foods they seemed to “run right through me”. And that my gut maybe wasn’t “pleased” with my choices. But, let’s be honest, it tasted good, and I wasn’t really gaining any extra weight, so it couldn’t have been that bad right?
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Flash forward a few years into teaching, I came down with what appeared to be hives all over my chest, neck and face. The doctors thought I was having an allergic reaction and prescribed me steroids to calm it down. After a few days, it hadn’t gotten any better. In fact, it was getting worse. Which is when they decided to do a strep test and realized I had been misdiagnosed and actually had a case of scarlet fever, which is caused by the same bacteria as strep throat. Thus, after being on a steroid for several days, I was now put on an antibiotic protocol as well. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Needless to say at the time, I had no idea about how I could use probiotics, diet or supplements to support me through this. I just thought once I finished my course of meds I’d be good as new. However, what I learned the hard way was that after years of not caring for my gut the way I should, and after countless rounds of antibiotics in high school and now, my gut, and in turn, my body had finally reached their tipping point. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
To be continued...
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Outfit: @fabletics Use the link in my profile to snag it or check out their other options to best match your shape and style. #myfabletics #moveinfabletics
  • Popsicles. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Sticky fingers. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Sweaty hair. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
No pants. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
This is what most days entail right now, and we are soaking it all in. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
I spent some time this morning refreshing a blog post I wrote last summer about this time entitled “9 Front Porch Activities for Toddlers”. While we love getting out and about and exploring our community this time of year, we also love hanging right outside our own front door. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
The post highlights different learning, sensory and family activities with minimal prep you can do alongside your little one on those day’s you just feel like laying low. And, while they are geared toward toddlers, all are still things that are certainly appropriate for preschool and even early elementary as well. {Link in profile}. .
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#creativekids #toddleractivities #kidsactivitiesblog #kidsart #summeractivities #preschoolactivities #totschool #preschoolathome #teachermom #homeschoolingideas #naturalmama #unschooling #wildandfreechildren #freerangekids #raisingragamuffins #learningthroughplay #the_sweet_life_unscripted #themagicineveryday #alldaykids #let_there_be_delight #lifewithlittles #healthykids #homeschoolblog #celebrate_childhood
  • My two favorite refreshers during hot summer days:

1. Watermelon and cucumber water to hydrate 🥒 🍉 
2. Essential Oil “Cool Down” spray to sooth my skin 💦 
Here’s the recipe:
5 drops Peppermint
5 drops Lavender 
3 drops Eucalyptus

Add to a 2oz spray bottle. Fill the remainder with half unscented witch hazel and half distilled water. Shake er’ up, and it’s ready to go!
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Spray Inspo: @byoilydesign .
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#oilymama #naturalmom #chemicalfreehome 
#ecofriendlyhome #holisticliving #parentingblog #healthylivingblogger #mombloggers #momblog #holistickids #healthykids #nontoxicliving #healthblog #healthbloggers #healthyfamilies #oilyfamilies #oilyfamily #plantpowered #nontoxichome #cleanbeauty #diybeautyproducts

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