Hey y'all, I’m Ashley!
Wife to my best friend, Jared
Mama to our precious, crazy baby boy, Anderson.
I started my blog – The Ramblin’ Rooster – back before Anderson was born. In the beginning, it was an outlet for me to just write. Once we found out we were pregnant, it became a place to document all of the happenings and changes we were going through as our family grew. Once we were blessed with the birth of our little bundle, life seemed to fast forward into warp speed and I became quite the lazy blogger! I’m excited to share my (our) breastfeeding story with you today!
I breastfed Anderson from the day he was born until his 6-month birthday. I did not breastfeed exclusively; some days it was all breast, some days I supplemented with formula. I was fortunate enough, due to unplanned events, to have a 5-month maternity leave from work. Pumping never really worked for me, and when I went back to work I continued to try without much success. Our routine became something like this: I would breastfeed him first thing in the morning, he would drink 6-8oz of formula every 3-4 hours throughout the day, I would breastfeed him when I got home from work and again before he went down to bed for the night, sleep, wake up, repeat. The day he turned 6 months old was a Saturday. We woke up and sat down on the couch just like every other day, but he would not latch on. He screamed and cried every time I tried to pull him to me. After that morning we were finished, and I was okay with that. He seemed okay with that too, and life just continued to keep on going.
Before Anderson arrived, I always thought that I would be the Superwoman of breastfeeding and of motherhood in general. Looking back now I think, what the heck does that even mean? Motherhood is hard, breastfeeding or not. It’s hard and it changes you. It weights on you and it lifts you up. It pushes you to your limits and then enables you to watch yourself exceed them all at the same time. My viewpoint has now changed to this: be the best you can be for your baby, yourself and your family. If that means you breastfeed, do it! If that means you mix up formula in a bottle for every single feeding, shake what your mama gave ya! What’s important is that your baby is growing and getting chunky little legs and arms and he’s getting it from you! When I think back about those six months, the most rewarding part of the whole process to me was seeing my little man pack on pounds and grow bigger and bigger with every doctor’s appointment. A lot of those pounds came from me and some of them did not. He was healthy and growing and there was noting more rewarding to me. Every time he was laid on a scale and the number was higher than the time before, it made all of the sleepless nights and pain and tears worth it
With all of the good we experienced, there were a few frustrating things that I wished someone had told me about before Anderson was born. Maybe I just didn’t know the right places to look for this kind of information, but it seemed to me that as soon as I aired a few frustrations everyone else shared them as well. I know that breastfeeding is beautiful, but guess what…it can also have some ugly moments.
If you’re a new or expecting mom and you’re planning on breastfeeding, I want to leave you with a few tips. Here we go:
1. Get lanolin. Now. Start a stockpile. My favorite brand was Lansinoh (and it still is because it makes a great lip balm!) Whatever brand you choose, get it and start using it the day you go in to the hospital to give birth. And keep using it forever and ever, amen. This will save you from chaffed, cracked, bloody nipples. If you think that’s TMI, just do what I say so that the only thing you have to do is read about it and not live through it. It’s also helpful for showers, because those can be quite painful in the beginning.
2. If you don’t like to drink water, tough it out and drink it. Try to leave the hospital with more than 1 (try for 3-4) of the awesome giant water jug/straw combos they give you. Keep at least one of them full and in the fridge, ready to go at all times. You will always be thirsty while breastfeeding, and water will become your new best friend.
3. Start looking for a wonderfully moisturizing lotion that’s about one step away from shortening. You want something that will go on thick and sink down deep to your bones.
4. Soak in every moment with your sweet, new little love. Some of my favorite memories of A consist of just the two of us sitting in the recliner after a feeding. I would sing to him and watch him drift off into a milk-drunk sleep. Those first days and weeks are long, but they are numbered and they are precious. Drink them in.
5. Last and most important – trust yourself. You can do it!
Thank you for reading our little story and thank you to Julie for letting me highjack her blog for the day!