August is National Breastfeeding Month & My Personal Experience
I remember when I first got pregnant with Timothy, I was so nervous I wouldn’t be able to breastfeed! It sounds so silly; but I heard many horror stories from moms about their babies not latching, or not being able to produce enough milk, or it hurt too much, etc. I always thought breastfeeding just came naturally and worked for everyone. That is not always the case, though, and thank goodness there are usually lactation specialists at the hospital to help new moms start the journey breastfeeding if they choose to do so.
Luckily, Timothy took to nursing great; and I ended up breastfeeding him for a little over two years, unexpectedly! He never wanted to give up the “bee-boos” he called them. For moms who can’t nurse for whatever reason, it is ok to use formula; but there are so many benefits to breastfeeding.
Benefits of Breast Feeding
The benefits of breastfeeding extend beyond basic nutrition. Breast milk is full of vitamins and nutrients your baby needs in the first six months of life, as well as disease-fighting substances that protect your baby from illness. Breastfeeding may also boost your child’s intelligence and protect he or she against childhood obesity. Breastfeeding can even reduce the mother’s stress level and protect against postpartum depression as well as some types of cancer.
After giving birth to Timothy, I remember it took a few days for my milk to come in. Colostrum the first secretion from the mammary glands after giving birth, is rich in antibodies and I remember feeding the “liquid gold” to Timothy at very first. Then my milk came in full three days after and once we came home from the hospital. Breastfeeding can feel like a full time job in the beginning. Every few hours Timothy was on my boobs feeding. I don’t know if you’re ever fully prepared for the amount of energy, food, hours it takes to nurse your baby.
In between nursing, I pumped with a hospital grade pump that I rented. I highly recommend this to all moms since it is so much more efficient than a commercial pump. I made sure to switch which side I nursed at first; and tried my best to do the same amount on each side. It is hard when you’re multitasking not to use the non dominant side breast more. I also bought a boppy and used it for a little while in the beginning; but usually cradled him in my arms. I found the most comfortable nursing bras I could (very individual but I like bravado); invested in some nursing tops. Timothy was born in the summer so I could also get away with wearing tank tops a lot.
The Twins and Breastfeeding
Fast forward to the twins being born, and let me tell you nursing two is SO much harder. I had to find a way to hold them so they could feed at the same time. The football style hold was the easiest for me. I invested in a twin nursing pillow (the twin Z or my brest friend are both good) or I would prop two pillows under each arm.
The nights were the most challenging to get them situated on my own and for all of us to be comfortable. I had a toddler to look after and finding time to pump was not near as easy. I did my best and made it almost eight months nursing Robert and William. Robert was much more attached, like Timothy was, and he had a harder time letting go of the boob. Towards the end I would often nurse Robert while I bottle fed William.
National Breast Feeding Month
The month of August is officially National Breastfeeding Month, after a 2011 decision made by the United States Breastfeeding Committee. A desire to make workplaces more conducive to breastfeeding and a concern for children’s and mother’s health, made up a few of the reasons for this month long campaign.
Breastfeeding is on the rise in the United States; but there are still plenty of nursing families that need support from their community. Although there are laws in place to give nursing, employed moms the time and space to pump some moms are embarrassed to pump at work. Culturally, there is still a lot to be done before breastfeeding is totally normalized in the and I I think awareness campaigns such as National Breastfeeding Month are truly awesome.
I know I loved the experience overall, I felt like I really bonded with all of my boys, it helped my mood, even made it easier to shed the weight I had gained during pregnancy. I am happy to answer any questions for mamas to be who plan to breastfeed or who are new to breastfeeding and would love some insight.
Kristin McGee is a celebrity yoga and Pilates instructor in New York City. She is the star of over 100 videos, a contributing editor at Health Magazine and a spokeswoman for many brands and causes she believes in. Kristin also appears frequently on television. A proud mom to three, she sure keeps herself busy!