The Breastfeeding Diaries: Natasha from Schue Love

April 3, 2013

Hi Friends!  I'm Natasha from Schue Love and I am so excited to be here today!  Julie's blog is one of my favorite daily reads and I just love reading about how Hudson is doing...isn't he the cutest?  A little about me...I'm a new mama to my nine month old son Ethan.  I post weekly updates about Ethan on my blog and talk a lot about his progress and milestones along the way. 

I always knew I wanted to breastfeed...but I had no expectations about how long I would and what it would entail. I am still breastfeeding part time at 9 months and I love the bonding experience.  But I'll be honest, I had NO idea how hard breastfeeding would be.  

I was actually lucky in the beginning...Ethan latched right on and I never had any bleeding or cracking.  The actual breastfeeding was easy...the rest of it was the hard part!  The dedication it takes to nurse full time is what I wasn't expecting.  Post-partum is a crazy time and I was trying to define my new role as a mother while also holding on to the person I was before.  With breastfeeding, I felt I had lost a lot of my independence from before baby and for me, it was a hard adjustment.  I couldn't go anywhere for very long without worrying about Ethan getting hungry and needing to nurse.  Everything became harder...dressing to nurse, traveling, going out to dinner, have a glass of wine, you get the picture!  And just when I thought I got the hang of it...I went back to work.

I went back to work when Ethan was about 3 months old and at Ethan's 4 month appointment, we discovered he had only put on a few ounces in the past month.  I was devastated to learn that E wasn't gaining enough weight and felt directly responsible.  Since I was nursing full time before going back to work, I had no idea how much he was taking in during each feeding.  So I guessed on how much to make each bottle...and I obviously guessed wrong.  I was pretty determined to keep him on 100% breast milk so I upped his bottles to 7-8 ounces when I was at work and then nursed him full time when we were together.  I starting pumping 3 times a day too.  At his 5 month appointment, he had put on a pound and 6 ounces, which was a huge victory!  I was so relieved to know that it was a volume issue and not something that was deficient in my milk.

And while I was glad that I was able to get him to 5 months exclusively on breast milk alone, my freezer stash was quickly dwindling and I was beyond stressed out between work and keeping my supply up.  So we decided to start supplementing with formula around this time.  

I know supplementing isn't for everyone, but it gave me a huge sense of relief to know that he was still getting the benefits of breast milk and the volume with the formula.  It was a win-win for me and for baby.  I am still pumping twice a day at work and starting to transition baby more full time to formula for his last 3 months before turning 1 year old.  I hope to continue to nurse baby in the morning and at night, but I am fine with weaning him off the day time feedings.  

Some things I've learned through this experience: everyone is different and everyone has an opinion on the subject of breastfeeding.  I was way too concerned about what everyone else thought was best for my baby and not listening to my own instinct.  I have also learned that I have a terrible let-down, so I would usually have to pump for at least 20 minutes each time to get any amount of milk.  I've also seen how stress directly impacts me physically.  When I'm stressed, I don't produce milk.  Period.  I've never seen a more direct sign of stress then pumping for 20-30 minutes and not getting even a half ounce of milk.
I've learned a lot and maybe I'll do things differently the next time around {ie: stress management and following my own instinct}, but I also know I'll be much more prepared than I was this time.  In the end, I'm proud that I've gone 9 months with breastfeeding and hope we can get to a year, but I'm not going to let it stress me out {see...I'm already learning!}.  I've got a happy and healthy son and at the end of the day, that's what matters most!

{all photos via artyard photo}

Thanks so much to Julie for having me today and letting me open up about my breastfeeding experience.  You've created such a great and safe space here and I hope that my experience can help other moms find their way too.

xo natasha
Thanks Natasha! Catch up on the rest of The Breastfeeding Diaries at the top of my navigation bar!

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13 Responses to “The Breastfeeding Diaries: Natasha from Schue Love”

  1. Love reading these stories! You've done a great job Natasha, should be proud of the effort you gave/give E!

  2. I just love this series! I personally feel that nursing "taught" me so many life lessons. Good for you Natasha for listen to your body. It is unreal what stress can do to a person!

  3. love her! You mommas have my props..I know how hard it must be! I'm sure I'll be in the same boat one day..yikes. great story Natasha! :)

  4. Love these diaries!! In such a judgmental blog world it's nice to see a bunch of ladies praising each other!!

  5. Thanks for having me today Julie! And thanks for all the encouraging comments. xo

  6. YAY! Love Natasha! I'm seriously in love with all these stories. So helpful for a mom-to-be!

  7. Your story is very similar to mine, with issues after going back to work. It's much harder than any every told us, but it's SO great that you have been able to go that long!!

  8. Cheers to you Mamacita!!

  9. What a great guest post! Way to go, Natasha! :)

  10. Just discovered this blog and this story by Natasha. Thank you for sharing!

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  13. Love learning about everyones breastfeeding journey! It is so empowering as a mama! I have hit the 8 month mark and now it just seems like part of my life!


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