It absolutely blows my mind that with the exception of the 9 months that I carried Harper, I’ve been breastfeeding for over two and half years! If you missed it, I shared all about my breastfeeding journey with Landon here back in August 2017 (which just so happens to be when our breastfeeding journey ended and I got pregnant with Harper with an IUD – which you can read all about here).
Breastfeeding is something that can be really hard to talk about, because my heart is never to make women who are unable to nurse feel bad or less-than in any way. Fed is best, whether by breast or bottle. It’s hard, when it may already be a sensitive subject for whatever reason – whether they’ve tried and failed, been pressured by well-meaning advocates, experienced anxiety and frustration, or dealt with physical limitations like inadequate supply or tongue ties – to bring it up without seeming pushy or judgmental, and so oftentimes, the topic is just touched on in a surface-level-kind-of-way if not avoided altogether.
This past year, my passion for breastfeeding has only grown and I’ve been so blessed to walk with several friends who are breastfeeding for the first time through questions and the need for advice, support, and encouragement. If you’d asked me during those first few weeks with Landon if I would ever be confident enough to give advice when it came to nursing, I would have either laughed in your face or cried (maybe both because #postpartumhormones) and that makes my passion for cheerleading other Mamas on their journeys now just that much sweeter. Look how faithful Jesus is!
Harper is eight months old and has been a joy to nurse. Like with Landon, it’s special time together I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world and fosters a bond that I will never be able to put into words. But, it’s not been exactly the same as my experience nursing Landon. Just as all babies are different, all nursing experiences are different and I think it gets easier and easier each time (unless underlying issues exist like tongue ties, etc.). The first time you nurse a baby, both you and the baby have to learn the ropes, so to speak. You have no idea what you’re doing. The baby has to figure out how to do it. There’s a serious learning curve that requires patience and determination and willingness to listen to advice and be open to help from other Mamas who have been through it. My Mama, aunt, mama-in-law, family, and friends have walked with me every step of the way and without them, I would have never been successful. Their encouragement and support means more to me than I could ever even begin to express and it’s the honor of a lifetime to offer even a fraction of that same kind of support to other Mamas just starting out.
With Harper, I didn’t pump near as much as I did with Landon for a few reasons:
- I just flat out did’t have time! If you’ve ever brought home a new baby with a toddler running around, you know exactly what I mean…
- Since I already knew that my body is more than capable of producing a healthy supply, I didn’t need to pump excessively to insure it was built up and maintained. I was confident enough this time around to know how to listen to my body and do what was necessary to maintain a hearty supply naturally.
- This time around, I used my pump more as a convenience, not as a necessity, which was so nice! For example, I pumped to relieve engorgement if Harper was sleeping for an extended amount of time, I pumped on Sunday mornings to have milk in a bottle for the nursery workers at church to feed her, I pumped if I was going to get my hair done or needed to be away from her for multiple hours at a time…
With Landon, I had a Medela Symphony and as I said in the post I referenced above, I would give it a 7/10 rating. It got the job done but had no bells or whistles and unfortunately, it malfunctioned a good bit in the later months. With Harper, I have the Spectra S2 and I love it almost as much as a family member. It’s amazing, and I really can’t recommend it enough. Shoutout to my sweet Mama-in-law for supporting me in my breastfeeding journey and getting me this pump!
Things I love about the Spectra S2:
- It has a built-in nightlight! Genius!
- It is so gentle and has a more natural suction, which many Mamas say helps increase their supply.
- It is quiet as a mouse! The first few times I used it, my husband would look over and say, “are you sure that thing is on?”
- It’s suction strength and speed is easily customizable. It was a little intimidating to me at first because it has so many buttons, but I just watched YouTube videos until I figured it out.
- Parts are easily available on Amazon Prime
Harper is teething now and has been waking up several times a night to nurse for comfort. We were spoiled because from the first night we brought her home, she slept 12-14 hour nights without waking up until about a month ago. I won’t lie, it’s been hard, but I know “this too shall pass” and I’m trying to remind myself in the wee early hours that it’s the honor of a lifetime to be the source of comfort and nourishment for her sweet little life and one day, I’ll miss the snuggles and the warmth of her little body in my arms. During the daytime, she only nurses about four times now. She eats all kinds of baby food and table food, and I can tell that we are nearing the weaning stage (probably within the next six months). While my personal goal is to nurse her for a year, just as it was with Landon (who nursed for 14 months), I have learned that it’s a process and transition we make together, and when weaning happens in a way that’s painless for both Mama and baby, it’s truly a sweet ending to a sweet, sweet season.
My goal in sharing all this is to encourage other Mamas to share their stories and open the dialogue with new moms who desperately need an advocate. Let’s not keep the wealth of knowledge that comes from experience to ourselves. Let’s learn to share in a gentle, encouraging way and be a source of support that other women will one day say helped shape their lives.
When I discovered That Leche Life on Instagram, I was instantly intrigued. The creator and heart behind That Leche Life, Cassondra, started out as a special education teacher, went through lots of heartache, fertility assistance, and finally had her first baby, quit her job to stay at home, and found encouragement, support, advice, and sisterhood through a breastfeeding support group that inspired her to tap into her passions and that’s when That Leche Life was born.
“Pouring my creativity into That Leche Life has been a joy. Donating to organizations such as La Leche League has been a celebration. Cheerleading moms on their journeys has been an absolute honor. I wake up excited every single day to talk, share, create, and be in this community of strong women, strong mothers, learning how to make our way in this crazy world!
I hope, through That Leche Life, I make new moms feel happy, feel supported, feel loved as I have. I hope to remind them during those late nights they are not alone. I hope when they are crying in their rocking chair over a sleeping baby, they remember, many of us have been there, they are not alone. Being a mother is the world’s hardest job, and the most important part is just love. So, Mommas out there, hear me when I say; You are loved, you are supported, you are strong, you are not alone, you will get through, you are enough.”
– Cassondra Einbender, That Leche Life
Thanks so much to That Leche Life for providing the shirt featured in this post. As always, all opinions are my own.