August is National Breastfeeding Awareness Month so I wanted to share more about my breastfeeding journey! I’ve shared some pumping tips here, but I wanted to share more about the end of our journey as well as some of my must-have breastfeeding products from Walmart! They have everything you need from bottles, nursing tanks, nursing bras, you name it. Thank you to everyone who submitted questions on my Instagram stories, keep reading to see them all!
Thank you, Walmart for sponsoring this post!
Q: HOW DID YOU KNOW HE WAS GETTING ENOUGH?
My milk came in super fast, even before we left the hospital. I was overflowing with milk and to be honest it was kind of overwhelming! He had already gained a pound 4 days after leaving the hospital, so I knew that we were on the right track. He continued to gain weight, my supply was great, and he LOVED to eat so I knew that he was getting enough. Sometimes I worried he was getting too much! Those days where he would feed for hours at a time were exhausting but also the best days at the same time.
Q: HOW BAD DOES IT REALLY HURT IN THE BEGINNING?
I got extremely lucky and Jett latched correctly right away. I took a breastfeeding class about a month before he was born and I would HIGHLY recommend doing that as a first time mom! It gave me all of the tools I needed to be successful and I knew what to look for, how to correct issues if they popped up, etc. It was so informative and amazing. Because of these things, breastfeeding wasn’t bad at all and I really didn’t have any issues with pain until I started getting mastitis and clogged ducts later on.
Q: WHAT WAS THE MOST CHALLENGING PART?
There are so many parts of this journey that are challenging. It is so hard, but so worth it to give your baby the nutrients he/she needs, the bonding, and it also saves a lot of money! Having clogged ducts all of the time and getting mastitis 4 times was really, really hard. It was so incredibly painful and as a matter of fact I still get phantom symptoms where I feel like all of the sudden my breast is hard and I haven’t even been breastfeeding for 4 months!
Another challenge is that breastfeeding a super hungry baby feels like a full-time job. Their feeding schedule kind of rules your life for a little while. I read recently that breastfeeding for a year takes up almost the same amount of time as working a full-time (40 hours a week) job. The time that it takes is tough. You’ll often feel like you’re missing out on things, you can’t ever eat a full meal, somehow every time you go out to dinner they want to eat, etc. Breastfeeding is a huge time commitment and not something I was really prepared for but kind of learned how to deal with. Eventually I found ways to pump/bottle feed instead of breastfeeding if I wanted to eat a hot meal or actually have an adult conversation at dinner and not have to sit in the car! That was the hardest part for me was just the fact that I felt like all I did was breastfeed or pump. It got better as time went on and he started to eat solid foods, but in the beginning it is definitely a shock! Even though I spent so much time breastfeeding, it only deepened our bond and it’s something I’ll always look back on and smile. I wouldn’t trade our experience for the world. Those still moments feeding Jett with his little hand on my chest, staring straight into my eyes are the most precious moments and memories I could have. It makes me tear up just thinking about it!
Q: DID YOU HAVE TROUBLE PRODUCING?
No, as a matter of fact I had an oversupply in the mornings for months. I would pump almost 12 ounces and then breastfeed Jett in the morning. All of the pumping during my maternity leave was well worth it and my oversupply got better when I went back to work because I could only pump before work. I had to be at work at 6am so until Jett was 7 months old, I wasn’t able to breastfeed him in the morning before work.
Q: WHEN DID YOU KNOW IT WAS TIME TO WEAN? HOW OLD WAS HE?
I knew from the very beginning that I wanted to make it a year with breastfeeding. So my plan was to start mixing breast milk with whole milk about a month and a half before he turned one so that he could slowly start to get used to the taste. Unfortunately, Jett had other plans and self-weaned.
Quitting pumping was a whole different story. In January of 2019 I started my job at Revolve and have to commute about an hour both ways. I also only have a 30 minute lunch and I did not want to spend that time pumping- ugh. So for almost 3 months I pumped in my car on the way home. This sounds so ridiculous to me now, but in the moment I was just SO DETERMINED to make it a year with breastfeeding. My freezer stash was dwindling so I kept pumping to keep it stocked. It was not good for me mentally at all and one day when I was having issues with my pump on the drive home I literally yelled out loud like a crazy person, “I FU*KING QUIT!” In that moment I felt a sense of relief I’ve never felt before in my entire life. A huge weight was lifted off of my shoulders and I didn’t feel guilty one single bit! FINALLY FREEDOM- ha! No longer having to be attached to those tubes on the way home was the best decision I made my entire breastfeeding journey. My best advice for anyone struggling with pumping or breastfeeding in general is that if it is weighing on you emotionally and mentally, it’s time to quit. You need to be happy and healthy for your baby- that is all that matters! Fed is best!
Q: HOW WAS THE WEANING PROCESS?
The weaning process for me was incredibly difficult because I didn’t get to make the choice of when we started weaning and when he stopped breastfeeding completely. At about 10.5 months old, Jett started getting extremely distracted when he was nursing, he was biting me occasionally, and it was just not a good experience towards the end. I could tell that he was starting to wean himself, but I tried to keep going because I wanted to make it a year SO BADLY.
The hardest part was that it happened so quickly. It was only a matter of weeks from when I realized he was weaning until he was completely done with it. I don’t even remember the last time I fed him because I didn’t realize it would be the last time. That was hard. I cried like a baby when it was over and honestly, even 4 months after this happened it still makes me emotional just thinking about it! My biggest regret is that I don’t have a single good photo of him breastfeeding. I know that sounds silly, but there have been so many moments when I would have loved to look at a photo of those sweet and precious moments. Remembering how special breastfeeding was, how my heart felt like it was going to burst when he would stare into my eyes, and how he would sometimes hold my hand or play with my necklace. If you’re a breastfeeding mama- I highly encourage you to have photos taken of you breastfeeding! You don’t have to share them, but trust me- there will be a time when you want to reflect on those special (and QUIET) moments!
Q: HOW DID HE TRANSITION FROM BREAST MILK TO WHOLE MILK?
Since I had already made a plan to mix in whole milk with breast milk at 10.5 months, we had started that at daycare when he started self weaning. He did half and half for a couple of weeks and then got whole milk after that. He really only drank whole milk for about a month. He gets enough calcium, protein, and vitamin D with other foods that he eats and to be quite honest, milk just grosses me out. Now at 15 months he only drinks water.
Q: WHAT ARE SOME BREASTFEEDING FRIENDLY OUTFIT IDEAS?
I would highly recommend a nursing bra that you can also use for pumping if you have to pump at work. Changing bras or putting a pumping bra over your bra is just ridiculous and time consuming. I always wore loose shirts since I had to pump in a semi-public place or in my car (ha)! I also loved wearing nursing tanks around the house because they’re easy and you can throw on just about anything over them!
Below are all of my breastfeeding essentials for you to add to your Walmart baby registry! I tried to categorize them for y’all to make it easier to understand, I hope this is helpful to you!