The Breastfeeding Diaries: Leah from L + K + E

May 8, 2013

This week's guest post is from one of my very first "blog" friends, Leah. This girl has been such a support to me over the last few years and I am so grateful for her friendship! It seems like her 2 year old daughter was born yesterday...I still remember getting the labor email updates from her husband, Kyle, and being so excited for sweet Emery to be born!

Hey everyone! My name is Leah and I am a 29 year old stay-at-home mommy to Emery, my 2 year old! I am so honored that Julie asked me to submit a guest post for her breastfeeding diaries series, and I hope that my experience with Emery will be an encouragement to one of you. I breastfed for around 13 months, and am still so proud of myself for following through with the commitment I made to do it for Emery’s entire first year. Without a doubt, it’s a huge sacrifice that any mother can make. Knowing that I provided my child with everything she needed to survive is a badge I wear proudly.

I grew up in a pro-breastfeeding family. Having that support system for encouragement, questions, and a place to vent frustrations, made all the difference for me. My mother breastfed all 3 of her children, and my sister managed to exclusively breastfeed BOTH sets of her boy/girl twins (yes, you read that right…she had 2 sets of twins!) So truly, I had no excuse! My husband, Kyle, was so supportive of my decision to breastfeed, and was truly my biggest advocate during the whole year.

I was so grateful that Emery latched on immediately after birth. Even the lactation consultant in the hospital commented, “Emery needs to teach the other babies down the hall how to nurse so well”. So clearly, that was easy for us! The hospital helped us get on a great routine with Emery, and basically from then on Emery was on a three-hour feeding schedule. We followed the book “On Becoming Baby Wise” very closely, and for us having a set schedule on feeding/sleeping worked like a charm. By one month old, Emery was going to sleep at 9 pm, waking up at 5:30 am to eat, and then going back to sleep till 9 am (which is when we would officially start our day). Yeah for sleep!

The sweet moments that Emery and I shared when she was nursing are memories I’ll never forget. Whether it was how she held onto my fingers so tightly, her looking into my eyes the whole time, or the adorable cooing noises she would make while eating… I loved them all! It’s truly a bond that no one else had with Emery and I feel so blessed that I was able to share that with her.

I had no idea how much I would worry about the amount of milk I was producing! Since I only had to go into work one day a week (I worked full time from home 4 days a week for Emery’s entire first year!), that was truly the only time I would pump and find out how much milk Emery was eating. After a couple months of seeing Emery grow and develop right on track, I gained confidence that my body was producing the perfect amount that she needed.

I was so prepared for breastfeeding to be harder than it was. Like Julie, I had heard some pretty terrible horror stories. Even though Emery was a great eater from the start, that doesn’t mean we didn’t face challenges along the way. The first month we had such a hard time keeping Emery awake long enough to eat! After trying tips like tickling, cold washcloth on her head, stripping down her clothes, we found that all those techniques just made her more mad than hungry! The trick that worked best for us was just changing the type of hold I had her in. Instead of the cradle hold, changing to the football hold made all the difference, as she was no longer lying right up against my warm tummy.

My only other big breastfeeding challenge was when Emery was about 2 months old. After refusing to nurse longer than a minute per side for a couple days, she was diagnosed with acid reflux. I remember trying to feed her any way that I could… bra and shirt completely off, laying above her on the bed basically dangling my breast in her face, just to see if that position would make her eat. It was horrible. I was unhappy and so was she. The next day I brought her to the pediatrician and with one look down her super red throat he put her on medicine. She had always spit up a lot, but I never noticed how much pain she was in from the spit up. After that we were smooth sailing!

One thing that surprised both Kyle and I was the amount of time that nursing can take! At the beginning I remember setting the alarm on my phone to make Emery switch sides after 20 minutes. As she got older, that time decreased, but between changing her diaper, feeding, and burping, we were hovering right at an hour!
We were living in Georgia at the time, and making the 7-hour trip back home to North Carolina seemed a little daunting. Since bottle-feeding was faster for us than nursing, we would make a stop and have Kyle feed her the bottle, while I was pumping. Timing is everything during this process; having to make sure your prepared bottle is at room temperature, etc. This plan worked wonders for us!

If you would like to read any more about our first year with Emery, I have it all documented here.  Thank you for letting me share a little bit of my experience with you all!

Make sure you catch up with the rest of the breastfeeding diaries series at the top of my navigation bar!

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3 Responses to “The Breastfeeding Diaries: Leah from L + K + E”

  1. Thanks so much, Julie, for allowing my story to be part of your bf series! Really grateful for our friendship, too!

  2. It does seem like yesterday that sweet Emery was born! I loved watching and learning from Leah. She is a great mommy and I am so glad she shared her story!

  3. Loved hearing your recap of your breastfeeding experience with Emery, Leah! You are a great Mama and Emery was blessed to receive her Mama's milk for that whole first year, even despite you having to pump/work! So proud of you, Sis!


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