Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Milestones and The Top Five

A few weeks ago, we hit the goal we had been working toward for the last year. That's right, we made it! One year. Slow weight gain. Working twelve hour shifts. We made it. No formula, just mama's lovely, albeit skim, milk. I posted previously about my son starting to wean and that has progressed a bit but there are still days that he wants to nurse all day long and I'm totally fine with that. I told my husband today that I thought he would nurse til he turns two, to which he replied, "Are you surprised?". This leads me to my favorite top-five ever. The answers to the question I have been getting since we reached that year mark:

How did you do it?

5. Find a breast-friendly pediatrician

     While this is not number one on my list, I cannot stress how important this is. I've probably mentioned
     a handful of times now how big of a role our pediatrician played in our breastfeeding success. Find a
     pediatrician that you trust. Find a pediatrician who has positive feedback from breastfeeding mothers
     in your area. There are pediatricians in my are who are wonderful and sweet, maybe have shorter wait
     times in the office, but who would have encouraged supplementing in a heartbeat with my son. We
     went for my son's one year check up last week and the pediatrician laughed at the growth chart. Literally
     LOL'd. Maybe it's because it resembles a stock graph or something totally unrelated to infant growth or
     maybe because he was right. Remember I mentioned that our pediatrician, while my son was hovering in
    the second percentile for months, told me not to sweat it and around 6 months he would shoot up? He
    did. He jumped from the 2nd to the 23rd then at a year, he jumped to the 64th percentile for weight. We
    never supplemented with formula and we started solids slowly at 6 months, per the recommendation of the
    AAP. I trusted him and he trusted my body and my choice to EBF. He was a great fit for our family. At
    the end of our appointment, he asked if C was still a breast guy and I said yes. He said that was great and
    that we were in no hurry to wean. Swoon.

4. Don't be afraid to ask questions.

     No one expects you to know all of the answers. I tell first time moms in the hospital all the time: You
     have never done this before and neither has your baby. It is a learning process for both of you and every
     time you sit down to feed, you will both learn something about feeding and each other.

     There is no shame in asking questions. Reach out. Reach out to moms who have done this before you.
     Reach out to moms who will keep it real with you. Positive feedback is great, but if you are doing
     something that will be detrimental to your nursing relationship, it helps to have someone you can count
     on to help bring you back to center. One day, it will be your favor to return and you'll be grateful that
     you asked questions so that you can pass on the wealth of knowledge you have acquired.

     Asking your gal pals is a great idea but these gems will become your best friends:

     Kelly Mom also has a Facebook page and there are many other social media pages that serve as great
     and informal resources on lactation. Please remember that advice given by friends, bloggers, etc. is 
     wonderful and generally accurate, but it does not replace that of an IBCLC, MD or other professionals
     trained in lactation. 

3. Stand your ground

     You know your baby and your body best. If you aren't comfortable giving your baby a pacifier, don't
     If you aren't comfortable leaving your baby with grandma to take a bottle so you can get some sleep,
     don't. Are you keeping track of wets, dirties and temperament and know that your baby is getting
     enough despite what feels like the rest of the world telling you otherwise? Tell them to shut it! Are
     there times you are going to want more sleep and that bottle will sound tempting? Absolutely. Just
     remember that you made this choice and you are the only one who can decide to go the other route.

2. Trust your body.

     Yes, there are women who, for various physiologic reasons, are unable to produce breast milk. The
     odds that you are one of them? Slim. Women tend to start doubting themselves when babies don't
     latch right away, aren't sleeping through the night when other babies of the same age are or may not
     have regular dirty diapers....or a plethora of other reasons. Remember: You were made for this! 
     Women are designed to lactate for our young. Am I saying there won't be stumbling blocks or that
     this beautiful and natural thing will come as easy as your natural labor - oh, wait...just keeping you on
     your toes! There will be times you will doubt your ability to produce wonder food for your baby and
     you will question the strength of your body and mind - nurse on. You've got this!        

1. Surround yourself with people who are supportive of your choice to exclusively breast feed.

    I tell moms in the hospital all the time: You will get a ton of feedback and advice about breastfeeding -           mostly from women who have never breastfed. There are so many support resources available:

    Adventures in Breastfeeding (ofcourse!)
...as well as local hospital and community
based support groups.

     Becoming socially accountable for reaching breastfeeding goals goes far. I refer to it as positive peer
     pressure. Of course, there is nothing wrong with giving medically indicated formula, but there is something
     about knowing how your friends will react if you were to bring a bottle of ready-to-feed to a play date
     that keeps a breastfeeding mom motivated to trudge forward, even in the hardest growth spurts or
     sleepless nights.

I am so thankful to have come this far in our nursing journey and cherish each session now. The hardest thing is knowing that any day now I could nurse my sweet boy for the last time but the best thing is knowing how far we have come. When you doubt yourself, remember that you can do this. 

Til next time, mamas...

Keep calm and nurse on.

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