It’s been awhile, eh friends?
I had high hopes for the blog this month..but between a wedding, hosting guests from out of town, and a few other things, my articles have fallen to the wayside.
Alas, I am back.
You may remember my last post, Feeding My Baby Formula Does Not Make Me a Bad Mom, in which I explain losing my milk supply to postpartum depression. While that was an incredibly difficult time in my life, the lessons I’ve learned from it justified the pain endured. I’ve learned to let go of the mom guilt. That I need to give myself grace because I’m doing my best.
Now that my hormones are a little more balanced, my milk supply has ceased its downward spiral. My body still isn’t producing enough to sustain sweet boy without supplementing, but I believe it can recover with time and a little hard work.
Little Man is a whopping three-and-a-half months old as I write this. He’s been doing a mishmash of bottle-and breast-feeding since he was six weeks. His pediatrician diagnosed him with breastmilk jaundice and advised us to cease nursing until his levels were better.
They recovered quickly, but that was when my PPD became overwhelming and my supply tanked.
As things are looking up now, my desire is to transition from bottle back to breast.
It isn’t the easy or convenient thing to do, but I’m doing it for the right reasons now. Not because of peer pressure or judgement from others, but because of the bond between my son and I.
This morning I wrote out a game plan to return to exclusive breastfeeding.
I’ll post an update in a few weeks and let you know how things are trucking along.
1. Give it time and relax.
Know that this will not be an easy overnight fix. Don’t worry if it feels like it’s taking too long, but trust that nature will take its course and your milk will be produced when it’s ready and no sooner.
2. Have three cups of Mother’s Milk tea a day.
Mother’s Milk tea is praised by herbalists for not only helping with a healthy supply, but also for its warm, comforting taste. Drink one cup upon waking up, one midday, and one right before bed.
3. Offer breast instead of bottle for up to five minutes.
Little man often has no issue switching between bottle and breast, but since my milk runs out so quickly, it often isn’t enough for a full meal. Sometimes he’ll refuse the boob from the start and demand a bottle. My goal is to resist formula for five minutes only – if he still won’t latch once that time is up he can have his bottle.
4. Latch on as often as possible.
Even if he isn’t hungry, hold him to my chest whenever I get the chance – while reading, writing, preparing dinner. This will be a good signal for milk production to kick into gear. You’ve noticed how your milk lets down when you hear a baby cry, right? I’m hoping this will work the same way.
5. Use the breast to comfort instead of a pacifier.
Read this excellent post by Nosh and Nurture while you’re at it: Why I’m Just Fine Being My Newborn’s Human Pacifier
While we can all be consumed with losing the baby weight, restricting calories while breastfeeding can actually have the opposite effect: your body can panic and hold onto fat just in case it needs to be saved for more milk. Isn’t nature incredible? Not eating enough can also wreck milk supply, which is why it’s important to eat and drink enough every day. My personal goal is 1800 calories daily (based off my height, weight, and breastfeeding status), but ask your OB what is right for you and your situation.
We have an interesting journey ahead, but I know that my body is strong. Childbirth has left me feeling empowered and in awe of what nature can accomplish. You don’t truly appreciate how God designed you until you’ve experienced being pushed to the limit, am I right?
Keep an eye out for a breastfeeding update soon.
To my girls out there on your own journey to recover your milk supply, I’m praying with and for you. Feel free to leave a comment below with your story. I always look forward to hearing from you all. 🙂