Our Breastfeeding Journey | Where your heart is now

Our Breastfeeding Journey

December 16, 2020

I didn't realize what an emotional rollercoaster breastfeeding would be. Our experience has been amazing and beautiful while also challenging and hard at times. Let me tell you about our journey. 

From the very beginning I knew I wanted to breastfeed Easton or at least try. Breastfeeding seemed to be such a beautiful experience and I really wanted to try with him. 

I shared with you guys that our breastfeeding journey ended a a little over a month ago. November 13th to be exact. We made it 1 year and 10 days. It wasn't easy (physically or emotionally) at first but it's been better thankfully.

When Easton was born he immediately latched but the pain in the beginning was extreme. I became engorged very quickly and I remember crying and telling Justin I thought my boobs might explode. I went and saw a lactation consultant and she was so extremely helpful. She showed me more comfortable ways to hold him, introduced me to nipple shields and everything started getting easier. I had a friend tell me just get through the first two weeks and it will get easier.

Before I go any further, I want to say no matter how you fed your baby- you're amazing. Feeding your baby is a full time job. Whether you are unlatching your nursing bra and praying you are producing enough milk or exclusively pumping and listening to the "er er er er er" sound 6x a day or stressing over which formula to give, you are a ROCKSTAR. You have to do what is best for you and your family and also your mental health. Your baby will sense if you are stressed or anxious and feed off your energy. 

Breastfeeding is so many things. It's leaving in the middle of a holiday get together to nurse in the spare bedroom or pumping during a wedding reception so your boobs don't kill or (if you're like us) planning any and everything you do around your baby's eating schedule but also rocking and nursing to sleep and being so relaxed. I dealt with all of these. I was engorged, had mastitis and multiple clogged ducts but would do it all again in a heartbeat. 

There's so much pressure put on it and I find a lot of women saying "I was only able to do it a month" or "I had to stop at six months." I whole-heartedly believe it is one of the most emotional things I've ever experienced. I read an article recently that said everyone talks about the firsts; the first smile, the first words, the first steps, but no one talks about the lasts. The last newborn onesie they wear, the last time they fall asleep on your chest or the last time they nurse. I was not prepared for the last time Easton would nurse. 

I didn't have a "end plan" for breastfeeding but I was guessing we would probably stop around one year. Easton has always been a great eater so I thought I would probably have to wean him. Then one day he wouldn't latch. He didn't want anything to do with it. I wasn't sure what to do but didn't want to force him so I figured we would just try again at bedtime. At bedtime he latched and nursed but for a shorter time. I didn't realize that would be our last time. 

The next day I tried to nurse him in the morning, at lunch time, in the afternoon and at bedtime and he wouldn't. I knew he was telling me he was done. As I rocked him that night I bawled. I wasn't prepared for the emotions I would feel the next few days. I felt broken, useless and unwanted. 

I only knew one of my mama friends that had ever talked about the end of their breastfeeding journey. I was feeling very sad and depressed and she sent me an article that made so much sense. The article said "when some people wean they experience a depression similar to postpartum depression because of the drop in the hormones oxytocin and prolactin." I experienced postpartum depression and anxiety and was so nervous to have these feelings again. 

I have read that the best way to wean is to gradually do it. But because Easton stopped cold turkey and weaned himself I didn't really have a choice. My body and hormones kind of didn't know what to do. I cried for two straight days. I felt like he didn't want me or need me anymore and that made me feel like a failure. Thankfully these feelings only lasted a few days and I started to feel normal again. I know it sounds crazy but I had never given Easton a bottle before so it was like we were starting an entire new journey. 

As far as the weaning process goes I started pumping twice a day just to relieve the pain. Then after a few days I went down to once a day. I started taking sudafed a couple times a day, rubbing peppermint oil on my nipples and putting cold cabbage leaves in my bra. I am also self expressing in the hot shower. It's been a few weeks and I'm almost all dried up. Everything I'm doing has really been helping. Other tips you guys gave were: avoid oats, wear nursing pads to dry up leaking milk, drink peppermint tea, take vitamin B, put ice packs on your boobs, ibuprofen, earth mama no milk tea and pink stork tea.

We transitioned to whole milk by doing half breastmilk and half whole milk. We slowly did less and less breastmilk. Now he is on just whole milk and does great. 

I wanted to share this post for a few reasons. It wasn't easy but breastfeeding Easton is one of my biggest accomplishments and I am really proud of myself. I knew that writing my feelings out would make me feel better and I hope to help even one mama. Know that your feelings are valid no matter what you are experiencing though motherhood! 

I love being a mama and love the bond Easton and I have created. I know that our bond will continue even after breastfeeding. He still needs me and I'm so grateful I got to experience so many firsts with him - my first baby. 


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