Hello! I'm Taylor from A Princess, Made Mommy. I am a first time Momma to my beautiful 16 month old daughter Harper Jane. I am a stay at home mom/ newbie photographer. I have exclusively breastfed Harper for 15.5 months which I am beyond grateful for. It has been one of the best experiences of my life and I feel so blessed to have a positive "easy" breastfeeding journey.
I am a young mom, (I had Harper when I was 21) but I knew from the moment I was pregnant I wanted to nurse. (I hate that I have to add in that I am a "young" mom, but every time someone knows that I nurse my baby I get weird reactions like, "what? YOU do?", or "I can't believe you've done "that" so long"... I do not understand why younger moms get that stigma but just because I am, doesn't mean I don't want whats best for my daughter.) I had no idea about anything breastfeeding related when I was pregnant. My mom didn't nurse my sister and I so she didn't really had know idea about it either. I was going into this blind. Luckily a friend let me borrow THIS book and I read it front to back and it really helped me prepare for what was to come. I chose to breastfeed because of the health benefits for my baby and also to keep the cost of having a new baby down. My boyfriend and I were both still in school, just starting out in the world, and oops, here comes Harper! (Which of course was the best thing that ever happened to us). I knew breastfeeding was my way to contribute to my new family financially. I had amazing support from my whole family which I am so grateful for!
I had a very easy pregnancy and labor (you can read my birth story HERE.) Harper latched on right away after she was born and it was pure bliss. I thought to myself, oh this is so easy! Yeah, until the next day when I was in excruciating pain, my nipples were bleeding, I couldn't find the right position and I felt like I it just wasn't going to happen for us. Luckily our hospital nurses and lactation specialists were amazing and very supportive and helpful. I finally found that the football hold was the best position for both of us and she was eating great! My milk finally came in about 5 days after she was born. I will never forget that pain and discomfort though, especially on top of the pain from her nursing, it was pretty terrible. I found that the gel soothies really helped ease the pain from my nipples which helped a lot. The first few days were definitely the hardest just finding my way and finding a routine for feeding but I found that nursing on demand worked best for both of us. I never had her on a "eat every three hour schedule" because she was healthy and gaining weight just fine and it just worked for us.
After my milk came in, I was overflowing so I bought a manual pump and would pump a couple times a day when I would feel engorged and I was also creating a stash for when I would return to school but the little miss would NOT take bottles. I ended up not going back to school until she was seven months old and I rented a hospital grade electric breast pump so I could pump at school because I was determined to not give up breastfeeding just because I was away from her! I hated pumping but I knew I had to do it to maintain my supply and obviously so Harper could eat, but I could tell my supply was getting low. I found that drinking mothers milk tea really helped boost my supply and I always recommend it to all my breastfeeding momma friends!
The most challenging part of breastfeeding for me was just the demand of her eating from me ALL the time! Some days I felt like she never unlatched. She also never slept through the night until she was over a year old and I think it was because she nursed and it was comforting for her. We co-slept for over a year also because it was just easier for all of us! Also at around a year old, I was experiencing the same pains as if she was a newborn again. Dry, cracking, bleeding nipples and I could not figure out why. She wasn't biting me or sucking harder. That will always be a mystery to me but Lanolin cream became my best friend for the last couple months of nursing.
Harper and I just recently ended our breastfeeding journey together which is a very bittersweet feeling. I feel so unbelievably blessed to have had such an easy positive nursing experience but after 15 months of exclusively breastfeeding, I am ready for the independence! We weaned very slow and on her terms. I cut out one feeding every week until she was no longer interested so it was an easy transition for both of us. The bond that we formed while nursing is something I cant even put into words or describe. I love that she needed and wanted me all the time, and she still does, but the feeling of providing food, nutrients, everything for your baby is just beyond amazing!! It really does make you feel like superwoman ;)
My biggest advice for new Mom's is just to relax, be patient with the process, and to not give up until you have tried everything because all the struggle and pain is worth the bond and health for you and your baby! (Lets not forget how much money you are saving too. ;) I have a baby fashion addiction so that one really helps justify my purchases! Lol.)
Thank you Julie for letting me be apart of your amazing series!!