This post is part of a series of posts from bloggers with babies who have breastfed. In honor of my journey of breastfeeding ending with my son, I asked five different bloggers to share their breastfeeding stories with us all. My hopes with this series is to share the differences in each woman’s experience. I also want to highlight the fact that not one of these mothers did the same thing in their breastfeeding journey and that all of their babies are beautiful and healthy. Moms— Do the best you can do for you and your child. That is what counts!
I met Kira online over a year ago when she and I were both pregnant. Her blog, Rain OR Shine, was such fun to read while pregnant with my son (she was just a month behind me in her pregnancy). It is even more fun to read now that she posts the most adorable photos of Pearl and her Portlander Problems series (SO FUNNY!) I have been lucky enough to also meet this lovely lady and her daughter in real life. (And, yes… she is really that beautiful and ridiculously sweet to boot!)
1. Why did you decide to breast feed?
I decided to breast feed for two reasons. The main reason was because it’s an undisputed fact that breast milk is just better for your baby than formula. She gets the antibodies from my milk that she wouldn’t get from formula to help keep her from getting sick. It is also easier for babies to digest. The second reason is that it’s free and babies are expensive! You have to buy so much for those tiny little people so it’s nice to not spend all of that money on formula as well.
2. What was your biggest challenge with breast feeding?
My biggest challenge was during the first four months of Pearl’s life. She would often eat for an entire hour and was eating every two hours during the day. That meant I was feeding her for an hour, I had an hour break, and then it started all over again.
3. What was your greatest breast feeding moment?
I didn’t have a specific moment, but we had a week where things finally started to click. Pearl started eating more efficiently and I realized that I was really figuring out how best to help her eat when she was having reflux issues. I noticed that we were working together and that we were finally at a point where breast feeding had become “easy.” In my birthing class, the instructor said that would happen when Pearl was around 6 weeks. For us it really didn’t happen until she was four months, but I was so glad we stuck it through once we got to that point!
4. Did you solely breast feed? Supplement with formula or solid food?
Pearl was exclusively breast fed until she was six months old. At that point I started making baby food to incorporate into her diet. She started taking a lot more bottles of pumped milk at that point because she hated the cover I used when I tried to feed her in public. She would refuse to eat, cry, and pull on it until she exposed me to everyone nearby. I’m a pretty modest person and I just couldn’t deal with that. So, when I didn’t have the opportunity to feed her behind a closed door or in the car, I made sure to always have a bottle with me. By the time she was eight months old, I was so tired of pumping so I stopped. We used up the rest of the milk in our freezer and I started supplementing with formula on occasion. Between that point and the time she was a year old, I think I bought three containers of formula so she was still mostly breast fed. By the time she was a year, I switched from supplementing with formula to organic whole milk.
5. At what age did you introduce solids? Any tips you can give mommies?
I waited until six months to introduce solids. We never had any issues. Pearl absolutely loves food and was willing to eat just about anything. She only refused peas, but was willing to eat them mixed with other foods. I don’t have many tips because we didn’t really have challenges there to overcome. I used the Baby Bullet to make her food. Pretty much any food processor would work, but I really love all of the little food storage containers that came with it.
6. Did you have a breast feeding goal?
I wanted to breast feed until she was a year old. I didn’t have any strict rules on what that meant, and I wouldn’t have been super disappointed if it hadn’t worked out for that long. I am glad that it did though.
7. Have you weaned? If so, how did you go about it?
Pearl is almost 13 months and she only nurses first thing in the morning now. She doesn’t seem to have a preference between the boob and a bottle so I recently gave up the evening feeding and just give her whole milk before bed. I don’t think she would care if I stopped nursing tomorrow, but breast feeding first thing in the morning is just so much more convenient than making a bottle. I pull her out of her crib and nurse her while I am in bed. It gives me time to wake up and she often falls back to sleep when she nurses in the morning so that is pretty nice too. I’m not sure how I am ever going to give up the morning feeding.
8. Any tips for mommies out there thinking about breast feeding?
It might be hard at first. In fact, it probably will be. You will consider giving up so many times. But it gets so much easier. It feels great to know that you are doing what is best for your child even if it is a little more work at the beginning. You and your baby will figure it out together. So I guess my tip would be to give it more time than you probably want to. Stick it out and you will be glad that you did.
Thank you so much to Kira for sharing her breastfeeding experience and being part of the “experience of breast feeding” post series! Please leave Kira your love in the comments section!