It’s been seven months since my sweat Hanna was born and that means seven whole months of strictly breastfeeding! I can’t tell you how proud I am and how amazing it feels to know that my body has been able to sustain her for seven months without help. But, let me tell you, it has not been easy. Of course, breastfeeding is natural and the most beneficial to your baby, but by no means does it come naturally – at least not for me.
I started prepping myself to nurse before she was even born. I would tell myself that I could do it this time and I would even visualize myself nursing my baby. Sounds kind of corny, but I really think it made a difference and helped me to just relax. With big sister Noela, I had trouble at first (as we all do…) but I didn’t really know enough to just keep working at it and so I supplemented with formula starting in the hospital. I don’t think I ever really trusted my supply after that and continued to give Noela both breastmilk and formula. I even used a nipple shield for a while, which made things extra complicated for a first-time mom.
But this time around, I trusted my body and knew that I was making what my baby needed. I let her lead the way by feeding on demand, and made sure to eat enough (that’s never really been a problem for me – ha!) and stay hydrated. In September I went back to work full time and started pumping during the day and nursing at night. Things were going great, but after about three weeks, I noticed my supply dropping when I pumped. Instead of bringing home 13-14 oz a day, I was barely bringing home 8. The combination of being away from my baby, forgetting to eat and drink, and using a pump during the workday was taking its toll.
I’m determined to stick with it, though and am getting back to basics when it comes to keeping up my supply.
Here’s how I plan to do it:
- Drink at least 100 oz of water a day.
- Eat oats with brewer’s yeast and flax every day.
- Eat lunch and snacks during workday.
- Pump at least three times a day at work.
- Pump before bed.
- Pump after morning shower.
Now that Hanna has started solids, she might not need as much milk during the day, but I will continue to pump in order to increase my freezer stash.
Are you a nursing mom? What tips do you have for maintaining or increasing your milk supply?