I have my third child sitting in my lap nursing as I type this like a muppet would on a typewriter as baby nurses. He is three months old, was born in April, and I’m in love again with baby chunky legs and arms. He was born at 8 lbs 8 oz, my largest baby and he is now over 16 lbs. No solids yet in sight, all this baby was made from all this milk this mama is churning out. I have never had supply issues, and my fenugreek bottles sit on the shelf collecting dust, people from my community would drop off special soups to help increase my supply, but my body is just really good at producing milk. See for yourself! I love these marshmallow arms where the baby fat starts depositing around the wrists and ankles!
And to think that I almost gave up! Yup! With my first child, a girl, a friend of mine had told me to pump to help bring on contractions as I was induced at 42 weeks, and she also had told me to pump in between nursing sessions to build up a supply so that I could go back to work. I followed her advice, and I did see lactation consultants but I didn’t tell them that I was pumping (my bad!). My daughter was crying every time I tried to nurse her, and because she was not latching properly, I was getting really sore and had to take pain medication. It was so painful to nurse, the day coming back from the hospital I ended up with mastitis.
I couldn’t watch my daughter crying when nursing and I didn’t realize it was from over pumping. I was pumping a lot because I was getting engorged and she wasn’t eating enough, so I ended up having to bottle-feed her. She was more peaceful with the bottle, and I pumped and bottle-fed her. I begged the doctor to let me pump and bottle feed exclusively, and she was somewhat supportive although she did mention to me that without the baby leading the supply, it could be challenging knowing how much milk to produce for her needs. I decided to use nipple shields to try to get over the pain and the baby because she was so used to using bottle feeding, she did fine with the nipple shield. Within a month she was happily nursing, and I was only pumping to make sure she was OK with a bottle when I went back to work. Eventually, she was weaned off of the nipple shield when the pain went away, and she wouldn’t nurse with it anymore. She nursed for 18 months, and it was such an amazing time of bonding with her. I am so happy that I persevered to continue nursing her and that my doctor encouraged me.
Breastfeeding was so critical to me connecting with my children, especially as a mom having to send them to daycare while I worked. Even though during the day I was separated from them, I co-slept with them and spent all the free time I had bonding with them.
One thing that made it easier to continue breastfeeding them was being able to nurse outside of the home. When I would pick up my daughter from daycare, I would have to run errands, and she would want to nurse as soon as she saw me. Some moms struggle with nursing outside of the comfort of their home surroundings, and they either stay home more or they reserve breastfeeding activities to only in the home. Because I didn’t have that ability to, I often had to nurse on the go. It was a challenge feeling comfortable enough with so much going on around me to be able to let down and nurse.
I would often forget to bring a nursing cover with me and would either improvise or just not nurse until I got home and what I ended up doing most of the time was just take off my sweater or my jacket and use it as a cover. I realized that it would be great to be able to use a sweater type of garment to nurse with rather than a scarf or a hooter hider. I felt more body confident with an extra layer on and I always had a sweater with me, even a light one in the summertime, but I never remembered my nursing cover or my scarf when I left the house (mom brain). This was what led me to design the Cardimom.
The Cardimom is a cardigan I can use as my extra layer and then I can simply pull the shrug collar over my head and have an instant private space to nurse my baby without having to worry about what is stressing me out around me. My kids were always too distracted to nurse openly without something to calm them and comfort them such as a cover and having that little safe space for them to nurse made it easier for both me and the child to nurse effectively.
What I also loved about the Cardimom was that I could wear it just for fashion and that I could back-carry my daughter with it after she was weaned (of course you can do so even if not weaned). After one year of making it available to other moms, I’m so happy to celebrate with you this week the wonders of breastfeeding and to encourage anyone out there who is struggling that it does get easier and it is an amazing experience for both mom and baby.
Priscilla is a blogger at www.alwaysaparent.com. Always A Parent is a blog about parenting, business, entrepreneurship, pregnancy, and motherhood. MULTIWEAR® is her product design business selling products for busy moms, nursing and breastfeeding moms as well as diaper bags and gym bags. Learn more at multiwear.co. You can learn more about the Cardimom at www.cardimom.com