Motherhood over 3 years ago by Liz Adams

My Breastfeeding Journey

These topics are sometimes hard to talk about because everyone has their own story. And I think anyone’s journey around feeding your child and just surviving motherhood in general is beautiful. Breastfed or not, our babies are going to thrive and succeed and if our kids were lined up in a row at school one day no one would know the wiser. So just because I’m talking about breastfeeding doesn’t mean I don’t value any mother anywhere who is doing their best every single day.

Breastfeeding is fucking hard. Like so hard. I think hospitals and society sort of push breastfeeding on you. I felt that very heavily with Charlie and my first experience of breastfeeding was a nurse taking his tiny little face in one hand and slamming his mouth on my nipple using her other. I was terrified but would say to myself “this is something you have to do.” I was too nervous to ask for help from a lactation consultant, I was too proud or embarrassed or I don’t know. But that pressure or sense of urgency around breastfeeding being the “BEST” option doesn’t have to be true.

Charlie was a tough baby. It took us a good 2-3 weeks to figure each other out. Looking back I’m pretty sure he was colic, he spit up so much all the time and at 3 months when he hadn’t gained any weight in a month I was told to start supplementing. I felt terrible, so defeated and like the worst mom ever. Charlie was also diagnosed with acid reflux, put on medication (until he eventually outgrew it around 9 months) and every day with pretty much feed, burp, spit up, clean up and repeat. He started doing better on formula but I refused to believe that my milk wasn’t enough. I nursed him morning and night until I finally let go at 6 months. Note: the hormone drop when you let you milk dry up is super intense. I would say this has always been a harder transition for me than postpartum/labor. So be prepared! But also know that your body and sense of self is on the other side.

Jack was a dreamy baby. He was born and latched within 2 seconds of coming out of my body. I had a lactation consultant come and it set us up for success. Our breastfeeding story sort of went exactly like that. After the initial two week pain of raw nipples and swollen boobs, we were smooth sailing. Until around 4.5 months and I decided that I wanted a little more freedom and I weaned. For no other reason than that I was ready and that’s okay!

Georgie. He latched at the hospital right away! But holy third baby boobs. My milk came in fast and furious and because I tested positive for Covid at delivery I wasn’t able to have a lactation consultant to our room (which I wish could have happened as a refresher). It took me a couple weeks to find my groove with positioning and latching. Within those two weeks my boobs were insanely engorged, my nipples were oozing because George was latching incorrectly and I didn’t know what to do. I had Kate from Bumble Baby come over which basically saved my entire breastfeeding journey. We discovered that George was tongue tied, hence why his latch was bad. She taught me how to use the haakaa to release engorgement and I took two days off to pump and bottle feed George. I would use the haakaa for 3 minutes before every feeding to release engorgement and eventually my supply leveled out. I felt like I didn’t leave my room for a week because it was a cycle of ice packs, salt baths, pumping, feeding, soothing. When George was 2 or 3 weeks old we took him to our ENT for a second opinion on the tongue tie and ended up getting it clipped. Within a few days his latch was 1000% percent better and we found our groove.

I don’t know where our journey will go. I’m sort of feeling this pull to stop, to have more freedom, to have a better schedule because right now I sort of respond to him. I’m way less rigid with George’s schedule because we are constantly chasing around Charlie and Jack. So we will see! I also feel like I’m savoring these smooshy snuggles. It’s easy right now but I also miss having a sense of self.

So that’s my journey! My experience has been so different with all three boys, a clear reminder that the only way to survive motherhood is to throw expectations out the window. Learn, grow, enjoy, savor.

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  1. Thanks Liz for sharing this. I’m due with my 2nd in June and have a wild child 2yo to keep up with. I breastfed him (and was tied to my pump at work) for a year and some change. I’m taking the pressure off myself this time bc I can and I want to. Xoxo

  2. I am due in May with our first, and am definitely nervous about breastfeeding. It’s so good to hear other someone else’s story with their kids!

  3. Thank you for sharing your journeys with breastfeeding. As a first time mom navigating this through a pandemic with little physical support it means a lot. So grateful for all the strong women I have in my life cheering me on from a distance and for woman like you being real and honest about the highs and lows.

  4. THANK YOU for sharing this beautiful post. I have PTSD from the pressure and experience I had breastfeeding my first. And I am finally getting more comfortable talking about it. I feel like you so eloquently described a lot of how I feel and were able to express that literally ANY baby feeding journey is ok without the slightest hint of judgement. I am pregnant with twins and feel a lot of overwhelming emotions and fear about feeding this time around based on my last experience and I’m taking the pressure off myself and accepting that it’s ok whatever I decide is best for both me and the babies.

  5. Thank you for your honesty around this! Breastfeeding/pumping is SO hard and definitely a labor of love and after 7 months of struggling with production, juggling my work schedule and travel, and getting pulled over for speeding while pumping (talk about awkward), I too was ready to be free and wear clothes that didn’t need to provide easy access for pumping/ nursing. I’m 14 weeks pregnant now and not putting any pressure on myself this go around.
    Mackenzie at Design Darling has a great and honest post about post-weaning depression. This is very rarely talked about but a few of my friends warned me so I expected to feel a bit crazy (and also warned my husband…). Moms are heroes whether they breastfeed for one minute, one year or not at all.

    Fed is best, period!

  6. Hi there! Soon-to-be first time mom over here, and curious who you used in Chicago for your Lactation Consultantation and if you had them come to the hospital? Any insights here would be so great! Xx

  7. I had 3 babies and each experience was totally different. I was very comfortable with the nursing experience though baby #3 was a tough start. I want to support breast feeding for anyone who does it – I thought it was easier than bottles and it is good for babies. It is so important for women to have choices. Xo

  8. Your a great mom, regardless of bottle or breast. My first daughter I felt all the pressure from everyone and the hospital. Got home and even tried pumping. A few days in and I said fed is best, our pediatrician said the same thing. He has two kids breast fed and two bottle fed and the bottle fed ones have become doctors. My three year old is the smartest little girl and she got formula. Our second daughter who is a year old, I didn’t even try. I went in to it with the decision I was doing bottles right from the start. Mom guilt is real, what others think bothered me a lot the first time but not the second because you know what. Being a mom is a lot of work, anything to make life smoother and happier for you and baby is all that really matters and not selfish at all.

  9. Thank you for being open and honest about your journey with your boys. I breastfed my first son for 10 months, 4 of which were after I went back to work. I was taking 3 pump breaks a day during work, lugging my pump and milk on the train, and traveling often where I’d pump at airports, on airplanes, in clients’ bathrooms, and figuring out how to store and travel with my milk. Over time my supply really started to tank, either because I was mostly pumping or because I was so darn stressed over all of it, so I had to stop. I remember calling my husband on the way home from a meeting while I pumped in the car, crying because the meeting went over and I missed my scheduled pumping time. It was intense. I now have another 2.5 month old son and I’ve vowed to take the pressure off and stop when it feels right. There is so much guilt and pressure and we need to value our mental health over all else!!

  10. You are so brave to have taken on so much all at once. I’m the mom of three and no way I’d have the courage to do what you did. From that move alone, I know you are strong and will be fine! I hope you allow each day’s feelings to be what they are – accept them and let them float in an out. Allow each day to feel different and make sure you sleep really well. You have three huge blessings now but at the same time it’s a lot to take care of. I’m rooting for you.

  11. Dearest Liz, really – dear, dear Liz, you are so precious to share your heart. You are so refreshing in the world of “perfection facades of social media”. How can we not fall in love with you and your darling family? I am not your contemporary – I am old enough to be your mother. But wow – did your words bring back memories of a young unsure mom of 3 with a loving and supportive husband – but I also felt like he couldn’t do it as well as I. He didn’t bathe the kids like I did, he didn’t make sure they brushed their teeth, etc. I almost remember the exact time when I decided that I was spent, totally exhausted and realized I needed to just let him do the best he could to help. The kids would survive, they would not go hungry and they were safe. That was many years ago and I am happy to say they are all well adjusted members of society! Truly – I love getting a glimpse into your world. I am not the kind of person that usually follows a blog, much less write a response, but you have drawn me in to your little world. Keep up the good work darling, you are in the exact place you are suppose to be at this time in your life.