The Breastfeeding Diaries Part 5: Moving Forward

February 13, 2013

 Wow. Let me just take a moment to say thank you to everyone who commented or emailed me about this series. You guys are amazing. And honest. And inspiring. It's hard to talk about something so personal on a blog...but you guys have made it easy. I can't thank you enough for your encouraging words.

So, what are my future breastfeeding plans?
I plan to exclusively breastfeed Hudson until he turns six months old, per the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Hudson is already 5 months old....so I better start reading up on introducing solid food! I'm already stressed out...ha. 

From there, we'll see how it goes. The goal is to breastfeed for one year and then to play it by ear. Hudson will let me know when it's time to stop. And I know I'll be sad. Breastfeeding him has been such a joy. A lot of work, but really totally worth it. I cannot even describe the feeling of providing for my baby. Or the way he watches me while he eats. Or how he hold on to my hand. Or the big smile he gives me when he has a full belly. Best moments of my life, hands down. 

Now, I don't plan to breastfeed him in to toddlerhood. If that's your plan, more power to you. But I know we will need to stop.

Your Questions Answered
I did learn a lot from all of you. Many of you said you put your pump parts in the refrigerator between pumping sessions so that you don't have to wash them. Genius. There is no reason why I don't do this....other than it totally didn't occur to me. Alternatively: I don't want cold parts on my boobs. 
 
And a few of you were wondering what I do for a living that has such great hours. I realize I am very blessed. I work at a law school as an advisor and I love my job. I have a master's degree in higher education administration...this job is what I've always wanted to do. 

Some of you asked if I used a hands free pumping bra. Nope. I haven't found one necessary. 

Another question was if I found it easier to pump if I watched Hudson on the daycare live feed or looked at a picture of him. Yes to the picture, and no to the live feed. The daycare camera sometimes stresses me out. If I see Hudson looking upset I can't watch it, so I turn it off. Having a picture of him does help a little though. 

Someone asked about how I use my frozen stock pile. I typically send Hudson to daycare with milk I pumped the day before....but once a week or so I freeze that milk and instead send him to daycare with frozen milk....that way I insure that it doesn't go bad in my freezer. This takes a lot of organization. It gives me a headache to think about it. Save yourself some time and organize your freezer stash by date. 

Know Your Rights
I have yet to breastfeed in public, but I have fed Hudson many times in my car. It just feels safer in there. Maybe when baby #2 comes around I'll be more comfortable. Or maybe by then I won't have a choice and won't care. I am by no means a breastfeeding nazi (and believe me, I've met a few), but I do think it is important to know the laws regarding breastfeeding in your state. Michigan is one of the worst states for breastfeeding. California, my home state, is one of the best. Go figure. Did you know that forty-five states have laws that specifically allow women to breastfeed in any public or private location? And twenty-eight states exempt breastfeeding from public indecency laws. So basically in Michigan if I breastfeed Hudson in a public space, like a restaurant,  I can be asked to leave.....but I cannot be arrested for public indecency. Gee, thanks. You can find out about the laws in your state here

Also, remember, it is a federal requirement that all employers with more than 50 employees must provide pumping mothers with reasonable time and a private place, that is not a bathroom, to express milk. 

Now it's Your Turn
 Isn't it awesome when moms (and future moms) support and uplift each other? Think of what we could do if we stopped judging each other and started supporting one another instead. If I've learned one thing during these the five months I've been a mommy it is that you can never get enough encouragement. Being a mom is no doubt the hardest thing I have ever done in my life....but it is also by far the best thing.

I have to admit...I was probably more prepared to breastfeed than the average new mom. I grew up pro-breastfeeding, I did my research, I had a great support system, I had access to lactation services, and most importantly I had a really strong desire to make it work. And yet I still struggled. I felt nervous, scared, and overwhelmed. And although I loved my baby and knew that breastfeeding was best, I didn't know if I would be able to do it.  But guess what....I did. Breastfeeding just comes naturally to me. But I know that it hasn't been that way for everyone. I know so many of you have struggled. And not been supported. And had to face obstacles that I haven't. And let me say this right now....I applaud you. Regardless of how (or if) you breastfeed your baby....you are a good mom. I know you are. And guess what? Your baby thinks so too.

Since every one's experience is different I think it is valuable to hear about what it was like for other moms. We can learn a lot from each other. And because this series has been so successful that is exactly what we are going to do. Starting next week I'll share a different mom's perspective on breastfeeding. I hope this series encourages you or someone you know. Stay tuned!

Catch up with the series here:
Part 1: Getting Started
Part 2: First Days
Part 3: Getting Established
Part 4: Pumping and Working

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18 Comments »

18 Responses to “The Breastfeeding Diaries Part 5: Moving Forward”

  1. I love your series. I breastfed exclusivley until a little over 6 months. My plan was to babyled weaning however her little system couldnt handle that so we went back to exclusively breastfeeding until 7 months. Sounds silly but the closer I get to a year (8.5 months in) the more and more appealing nursing into toddlerhood becomes. All of this from a mom that was never going to breastfeed! HA. The things you do that you said you never would - The joys of parenthood. I wouldnt have it any other way!

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  2. so happy hudson is such a good little nurser!! and solids are serious fun and seriously messy, and seriously adorable!!

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  3. Hahaha! I live in California and breastfeed in public ALL THE TIME, like I've whipped out my boob (no cover, that's too complicated!)
    standing in line at the airport check in line for a quick feed...and in Home Depot...restaurants...and basically anywhere that I am! It honestly has never occurred to me, never, not once that I might be asked to leave somewhere because I'm feeding my baby in public. I am with baby 24/7 and I go crazy being inside all the time, so baby feeds everywhere! So glad I live in California and more specifically SF where it's very expected that I will breastfeed my baby, I can't imagine living somewhere that they would ask me to leave a restaurant for feeding my baby.

    Great series!

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  4. Good job raising awareness of breastfeeding. Feeding your baby is awesome no matter which route you go but I do think the more people read about, hear about, and see breastfeeding the easier it is! I've breastfed A anywhere and everywhere and I would agree that living in a state where it's accepted makes it easier. However, I still do it when traveling because I think it's my baby's right to eat when she's hungry regardless if we're home or flying on a plane. Anyway, congrats on making it to 5 months! It's such a wonderful feeling to look at how much your baby's grown and feel responsible for that.

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  5. Love this series!

    A friend of mine just sent me the link to this Luvs commercial yesterday. I don't think I'll be quite so open with #2, but it's pretty funny :)

    http://youtu.be/ZgmbJso-2-o

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  6. So glad breastfeeding has been so easy for you! I seriously miss it, that is such a special time for Mom and baby! It is a lot of work, but so worth every minute! Keep it up!

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  7. Julie -
    Thank you for being so open and honest about your experiences breastfeeding! I can tell from the photos that Hudson is absolutely thriving! I have a couple of questions:
    1) My daughter is 4 months old and I am exclusively breastfeeding too. I wonder if you have any tips for date night or a night out with the girls and pumping. I know it's important not to skip feedings when you're away from the baby, but how do you pump when you're out to dinner with your husband etc?
    2) Did Hudson get distracted while nursing at a certain point? If so, how did you handle this? For the last few weeks my daughter Grace seems very distracted and not too interested in eating - I've heard this can be a stage, but perhaps she's also shortening her feeding time now that she's a bit older.

    Thanks for this great blog - I don't have mommy friends so this is a big help!!!
    -Genevieve

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  8. so i totally cried when i read how breastfeeding makes you feel looking at hudson and holding his hand. breastfeeding is so important, not just for baby, but for mom too and i'm happy that it seems that breastfeeding has become more applauded and pro-breastfeeding recently. i feel like a few years back, it was kind of whatever and people thought it was gross or that you didn't need to do it for longer than a few weeks.

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  9. These posts are seriously amazing! I have loved reading them, so thanks for posting them!

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  10. Hi Julie -
    I commented the other day but did not have my email linked to my account. I know you're very busy but hoped you could respond to the below, THANKS!

    Julie -
    Thank you for being so open and honest about your experiences breastfeeding! I can tell from the photos that Hudson is absolutely thriving! I have a couple of questions:
    1) My daughter is 4 months old and I am exclusively breastfeeding too. I wonder if you have any tips for date night or a night out with the girls and pumping. I know it's important not to skip feedings when you're away from the baby, but how do you pump when you're out to dinner with your husband etc?
    2) Did Hudson get distracted while nursing at a certain point? If so, how did you handle this? For the last few weeks my daughter Grace seems very distracted and not too interested in eating - I've heard this can be a stage, but perhaps she's also shortening her feeding time now that she's a bit older.

    Thanks for this great blog - I don't have mommy friends so this is a big help!!!
    -Genevieve

    February 14, 2013

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  11. I've really enjoyed reading your posts on breastfeeding (from Leah and Kyle's blog...). I was super set on breastfeeding my daughter, had done my research, had great access to lactation services (which were helpful) and it did not end up working. You can read more about it here if you want

    http://goteambowen.blogspot.com/search/label/Breastfeeding

    Long, long story short she never latched after LOTS of trying and even therapy sessions for her (because she couldn't suck). My milk supply dwindled because she wasn't stimulating me and come to find out the hand-me-down pump I was given had a dead motor. (It sure felt like it was doing something and in the beginning I assumed I wasn't pumping much because she had already eaten it all. I would pump for a few minutes after I fed her to build up my supply...) Anyhow, I ended up getting a good pump and pumping every couple hours around the clock for 2 weeks ot get my supply back up (while still trying ot nurse her with an SNS) It was insane. I was insane but I wanted it SO BAD. Probably too bad. I do think I wrongly tied in my identity and status as a "good mother" into breastfeeding. I was eventually able to get most of my supply back by pumping and taking EVERY home remedy known to man. I never had enough, but she got mostly breast milk. I exclusively pumped for 7 months and she ate from a bottle. Hardest thing I've ever done in my life. But I was shown such grace from other people (even given donor breast milk from a college friend who I had fallen out of touch with) and got so much support through blogging. (I had just started blogging with the birth of my daughter)

    Anyhow I've enjoyed reading your posts because #2 is due in 3 weeks. I am PRAYING for a different experience, and because I have a good pump I know I won't have some of the early issues I had with her and I am willing to pump again but I really hope this baby is an eater. I do long for that breastfeeding bonding.

    Thanks for sharing your story
    Jen

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  12. Thanks for a great series, Julie! So positive and constructive. <3

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  13. I've said it before but I'll say it again...these posts are incredible! I would love to guest post, if you're looking for more mamas. :)

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  14. I have loved this series Julie! Thank you for being so open and honest about your experience. My little guy is 4 months and breast feeding has been such a wonderful experience for us. I didn't realize how much joy it was going to bring me and I get SO sad when I think about the day he doesn't want to nurse anymore.

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  15. love this, still nursing my 6 month old and i hope we can make it a year!

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  16. I am new to your blog, but so glad that I found you. I loved your little breastfeeding series you did. When I was reading this post, I saw that you talked about Michigan and California and then saw in your little "about me" section that you're originally from CA, but are now in MI. I am originally from MI and now living in CA. I never new of putting parts in the fridge either, very interesting.

    My son is now 7 months and we're also planning on nursing until 1. :)

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  17. having read through the series I think it is very informative on the majority of things. It is great that this is being talked about from a personal experience. we need that!

    As a mom who exclusively pumped for many reason, I do think that the pumping section is a bit lacking personally. However your main focus is on nursing rather than pumping so it makes sense.

    Overall it is a great series!

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