Nursing a newborn E was a difficult task. My milk took what seemed like forever to come in (four days actually which is within the normal range). I wish I had enough confidence as a first time mom to know that we would be fine if we nursed as much as E wanted, but I was doing enforced timed feedings in the hospital as she fell asleep at the breast. We were being told to keep her awake to eat when her body was telling her the comfort of being close to me was all she needed to sleep. She was satisfied, but a nurse brought her back from testing and handed her to me claiming, "she was starving." I burst into tears. Why wasn't my body doing what it was supposed to do? (It was! I wish I could go back in time and tell myself that, but instead I will tell all future nursing mommas that I meet!)
What I needed most was someone to tell me that newborns are still satisfied before your milk comes in. We both needed a night of sleep to rejuvenate after a long and stressful labor (and subsequent c-section) and then an exhausting hospital stay so the first night home we supplemented. I truly felt that if I gave her a drop of formula or stopped pumping for one evening, I would ruin our breastfeeding relationship, which was clearly not the case. Supplementing can be a slippery slope, but as soon as we could exclusively breastfeed again the next day, we did!
It seems fitting that the theme of 2013's breastfeeding week is peer support. I wish I had known Maggie in the earliest days of E's life. She is a breastfeeding counselor and now one of my best friends. Luckily I met her when E was four months old because she's been a source of wisdom ever since.
Once my milk did come in, I had oversupply issues on the right and my tiny E just couldn't keep up. For four months I would feed her on one side then pump on the other, bottle feeding her the next time. I remember hallucinating that the breast pump's rhythmic sounds were actual words and phrases in the wee hours of the night as a satisfied E went back to sleep and I stayed awake to pump! She didn't start taking both sides until 5 months old and by then she could keep up. Those four months were exhausting and again, solid advice could have helped our issue resolve sooner.
I need to add in the one day of time that Violet logged because she nursed! What a celebrated feat that was among the other 24 months! The doctors warned us she might not be able to eat and she didn't have the strength to keep up with it for long, but oh, on her birthday, how my sweet girl tried her best to get the best! I will never, ever forget that amazing experience with my much missed baby.
The biggest piece of advice that I can give to new nursing moms is that your baby may fuss at the breast or go on nursing strikes or through growth spurts where they feed a lot, but most of the time it does not mean that you aren't making enough milk. Trust your body, trust your baby, and let baby nurse, nurse, nurse. The more time you spend working on it together, the more milk your body will produce!
The pictures you see here will be treasured forever! Ronice of Ronice Kay Photography offered us a complimentary breastfeeding mini-shoot to check out her business. We met at the park where it felt totally natural and beautiful to be feeding D as I always do. Ronice was unintrusive as D and I nursed and interacted. When I saw the photos that resulted, I was in tears and blown away by her work. You can see more examples of other mommas breastfeeding their babies as well as other categories of shoots on the RKP website.
Ronice is an amazing momma who breastfed her daughter for 20 months before she self-weaned. I really think that Ronice's special niche will be breastfeeding photography, though her talent is of course solid in every picture that she takes. She's a unique photographer that can make you feel comfortable doing something as intimate yet natural as nursing in public. Breastfeeding needs to be celebrated and capturing it forever in the ways Ronice does is truly priceless.
I always have running mental list of the most interesting places that we've nursed in public. With E it was the National Zoo and a closed, dark, quiet movie theater. With D it's been a butterfly house so far! In the comments, please tell me the most interesting place you've nursed in public!
Ronice Kay Photography offered us a complimentary breastfeeding mini-shoot for completing this review but, as always, all opinions and enthusiasm are 100% our own!