I was so happy to help document and share each of these lovely Momma's breastfeeding journeys. Breastfeeding, although not always an easy road for some, has so so many benefits to Mom and baby! These are a few of their stories they shared with me for our local (Concordia KS) annual breastfeeding event to support, promote, and advocate Mommas everywhere!!!! HAPPY WORLDWIDE BREASTFEEDING WEEK!!! <3 YOU ALL ROCK!!!
join us next year! Held at the beginning of every August XOXO
"Kasstiel and I have been on this amazing breastfeeding adventure for 11 months, with no end in sight! Breastfeeding was one thing that I KNEW I wanted to try to do when I had a child, before I got pregnant not really knowing the details or having a specific reason why. Then, once we got pregnant knew it was time to really start digging in, I read heaps of articles on everything but especially breastfeeding and realized there was a lot more to it then my initial thoughts! LOL
So we bought all the supplies yanno.. the pump and bottles, nipples, extra pump parts and storage bags. The only thing missing was my baby- and when he arrived, Kasstiel decided he wasn’t going deal with all the nonsense and wanted to exclusively nurse. Little did I know that meant he would nurse on demand, in the car, though the work days (thankfully, he is my sidekick at the office) and of course every hour of the night! I started taking in so many calories a day, and I always was feeling hungry.. I was eating and drinking just about everything “they” recommend to help your supply.. with no noticeable increase in my supply, I feel so blessed that my body is able to keep up with his needs!
Kasstiel and I have created a wonderful bond and the health benefits are incredible for both of us. I’m grateful to be able to experience this beautiful opportunity to nourish my child’s body and brain & look forward to being able to have the same experience with future children."
"My breastfeeding journey first began with my first son who was four weeks early and very tiny. He weighed in at a hefty 4 pounds 15 ounces for birthweight. I tried nursing right after he was born and he just wouldn't take. We tried everything to get him to latch on and nurse. I also tried pumping milk and feeding him but I wasn't producing enough and had to supplement with formula. Then at two weeks we switched him to formula completely because he just wasn't eating well and needed me more than I had time to spend pumping. I was in tears when I made that choice because all I had wanted was to nurse my kids. I had everything I needed for it: the pump, the pillow, the nursing covers, the pads for my bra in case I leaked. But it didn't happen.
My second son was even earlier at 6 weeks early and went straight to formula so I wouldn't have a repeat of the first. I just wanted him eating and growing. I tried to pump to supplement with breastmilk or to eventually nurse once he started eating better but I produced nothing for milk for a whole week. Formula it was for him as well.
Then I had my third child, my daughter and she was also 4 weeks early. I tried to get her to latch on right after birth and she took to it. Nursed like a champ!!! I was blessed to never have a problem with her latch, thrush, mastitis, poor milk production or any other issues I had had previous or could have. She is now 10 months old and exclusively breastfed. And a stash in the freezer to boot!!! Yay!! I had always wanted to nurse my kids and broke my heart when I couldn't. Fed is best, I know but there is just something special about that kind of connection and I was so upset that I may never have that with any of my kids, I felt failure, but at no fault of my own I know that. It just taught me that there is always hope you may have that experience you crave as a momma!!!!"
She has four boys each with her own breastfeeding ups and downs along the way... but Im not sure how she lived through mastitis with this little guy. 9. Frickin. Times! Rockstar Momma!
"I have breastfed 4 kids. Different struggles and accomplishments with each. Currently Cleo has been nursing for 18 months! We have battled thrush twice, mastitis 9 times, and inverted nipples which required a nipple shield for over a year. We are so proud to still be breastfeeding at this point!"
"My name is Danielle Haskett and I have breastfed all six of my children throughout the last 14 years. I enjoy breastfeeding because it keeps me and my babies close and healthy. Most women stop or don’t start breastfeeding because it can hurt and sometimes does. My message to all moms out there who are looking into breastfeeding is to make sure that they know that no matter what they decide for themselves, breastfeeding does get easier. One thing I didn’t expect when I started breastfeeding and that no one told me is that it’s hard work! I never expected it to take so much out of you to feed a child. It kind of turned into a competition for me of how much milk I could produce to feed my children and pump to store to use later. I always wanted to produce more than last time so I tried all kinds of “hacks” to produce more milk. Oatmeal, carrots, and breast milk cookies were my favorite things to eat to produce more milk. I did find that if you put in the work up front in the beginning then you are in for a wonderful journey."
Breastfeeding is not an easy road for every momma, as you will see through these stories! But the journey not matter how big or small has a big impact on those babies <3
"My breastfeeding journey with Emberly was a little rough and short lived. Emberly had a tough time latching in the beginning but we kept trying and she eventually got the hang of it.
It took awhile for my milk to come in so I started pumping like crazy. I would breastfeed and then pump at least every two hours. That’s when I began my huge supply of milk. I had three different freezers full of breast milk, even my mom’s freezer in Beloit! My baby started sleeping through the entire night right about 2 1/2 months old but I would still wake up and pump.
The first three weeks of her life breastfeeding was great and then I had to go back to work. Having no paid maternity leave really puts a lot of pressure on a new mom. And not only that I work 12 hour night shifts. I would work a night shift and stay home with the baby all day for about 3 1/2 months straight. The tiredness took a tole on my body. I started to become sick a lot. I did not have the ideal situation to breastfeed my baby but I worked hard.
It was an emotional roller coaster for me. My supply became less and less and then I was only making maybe an ounce of breastmilk with each feeding. My baby became frustrated and I felt defeated. My husband helped me through it. He told me how amazing and hard working I was. He told me it was going to be ok. I cried a little but then I shook it off. The stress from trying to produce milk became too much. My baby still has loads of frozen breast milk so thank the Lord I pumped so much in the beginning. I wish my breastfeeding story could have been different but I have this beautiful little girl and that’s all that matters <3 "
"During my pregnancy, I learned about the benefits of breastfeeding for baby and mom. I also tried to learn all the ins and outs of how to breastfeed. Erika was an incredible resource to help grow my knowledge.
When Kam was born, 6 weeks early, I knew I would have work to do. As soon as Kam was done being evaluated, we did skin to skin. He wiggled himself down to my breast and latched. Easy, right? Wrong!!!! The first 24 hours Kam would latch, kind of. He was going through the motions of breastfeeding but wasn’t actually eating. He started losing more weight than what was within the normal range. We determined that he wasn’t able to suck efficiently most likely due to being premature.
The nurses suggested a nipple shield and a supplemental nursing system (sns). The nipple shield helped him latch while the sns provided him with nutrients he needed to grow. To use the sns it required pumping, then putting that milk into a syringe, and feeding it through a tube into the nipple shield. In the beginning, feedings would take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and Kam ate all the time. I was constantly pumping and/or feeding Kam.
At about 8 weeks, Kam was finally able to suck adequately enough to stop using the sns. We continued to use the nipple shield until Kam was about 12 weeks. Breastfeeding has become easier but we still have many challenges"
"Now it has been 11 months of breastfeeding going strong, and I couldn't be happier. I chose to breastfeed for a multitude of reasons.
Breastfeeding a baby is such a special bond. Feeding a baby in general creates an important bond of trust and love, and I feel so blessed to experience that with Averie. Another reason why I choose to breast feed is for the health benefits for Averie and I. From fighting off infections and increasing Averie's immune system, to lowering the odds of postpartum depression and aiding in decreasing health issues.
And then there is also the economic benefits. Although breastfeeding isn’t completely free (nursing bras, nursing pads, breast milk storage bags, etc. add up), it is less expensive than formula. I also liked the convenience aspect of breastfeeding. No time wasted preparing bottles. No need to carry bottles, formula, and bottled water in the diaper bag.
My advise to new moms who plan to breastfeed to sit down with a lactation consultant.In addition to meeting with a lactation consultant, I think it’s important for moms to reach out to a mom friend who has nursed. It’s helpful to have someone, who’s recently experienced what you’re going through, to field questions and offer support."
"Breast feeding is natural and it’s benefits are blasted everywhere so of course it was part of my plan when I became a mother. I felt like I knew enough and my baby would pitch in and together we’d be great together until he no longer needed me. I was right. He came out screaming and latched on right away. It was beautiful and I was soaring. My boobs were major show offs and produced copious amounts of milk so I nursed, pumped, and stored. He was gaining weight and we were kicking ass at this. But then we weren’t. Several weeks of doctors visits, fevers, rounds and rounds of antibiotics, and tears later, mastitis had completely wrecked everything. Nothing we tried would clear it up. After I had an allergic reaction to a super strong antibiotic in my 10 day picc line treatment, we decided it was time to call it. I cried. And cried. And literally until he was like 13 months old, I cried. I had never in my life felt such defeat. I just wanted to feed my baby. The drying up process was painful physically and emotionally. Thankfully he took a bottle with no problem however, it took several months of reflux for us to find a formula that somewhat stayed in his stomach. And of course it was the most expensive. I hated to feed him in public because “everyone knows breast is best” and here I am shaking up formula and not being the best mother I could’ve been. If I just would’ve stuck it out. Just dealt with the fevers. I could be that glowing mom over there with her baby tucked up under her shirt. The one who gets to walk past the $30 tub of formula at the store. Mastitis is a monster that haunted me for months. And when I got pregnant again, the fears started to creep up. My husband tried to talk me out of even trying breastfeeding again because of how it went the first time. (Seriously it was scary you guys). He lost real quick though. I couldn’t wait to have another shot. This is Max. He’s 1 year old at the end of the month and has never had a drop of formula.
Having been on both teams, I can truly say fed is best and formula is a wonderful thing. However, i’m darn proud of myself (and Max) for accomplishing our breastfeeding goals. I had to work pretty hard this time too but man was it worth it. I’m sad for how much joy I let mastitis steal from me in those first few months of motherhood. I’m thankful for this successful journey that restored my confidence in being a great mom.
To those who exclusively breastfeed, those who supplement, the “breastmilk-freaks-you-out” and the “formula-from-day-one” moms...to any mom out there who has ever fed her baby, kudos to you because this shit’s hard."
"I was not the first person to help my baby get latched and drink. I had an emergency C-Section and was pretty out of it the rest of the day. The wonderful Lactation Consultant told me to go back to sleep and that she’d feed her. I remember her grabbing my breast and feeding my baby so that I could sleep. I developed mastitis in the second week. Had my nipples practically eaten off because of a bad latch. Around 2 months she started sleeping longer stretches at night so I’d get up and pump in addition to her nightly feedings. I did that until around 7 months. I worked part time for 3 months and pumped so I was able to replace any of the milk that was used. I had a full freezer stash. I stay home now and we weren’t going to use the milk so I gave it so someone I love very much! I was able to provide about 2 months worth of milk to my nephew. His momma is an amazing woman too! She exclusively pumped!!! That takes dedication and I am very amazed/proud of her for doing everything she could to get that liquid gold!
I love how convenient it is to breastfeed. I love how happy my daughter is when she’s nursing. I love that I was able to provide for her for about 13 months now.
Also too add I should have seen a LC but I didn’t. Looking back I should have went! Go if you are having trouble or just have questions!"
"Well my breastfeeding journey started 33 hours after my water breaking when a nurse grabbed my breast to help my daughter Alden fed. I wasn’t expecting that at all but I was glad for the help.
While our stay in the hospital we saw the lactation consultant everyday multiple times a day. Alden had a strong latch but wasn’t able to fed long due to being very tired from the jaundice. My husband and I had a hard time keeping her awake to fed so we were constantly trying tricks to keep her awake to fed which none of them worked.
Despite our struggles with feeding they let us go home after two days. The following day they wanted us to go visit the lactation clinic to see breastfeeding progress and check the bili levels. While there they discovered she lost over 12% of her body weight and her levels were now high. The lactation consultant suggested I try pumping or supplementing with formula. I was going to try pumping before formula and the consultant was glad to hear I wanted to try pumping before rushing to give her formula.
We started pumping and syringe tube feeding which worked wonders! Once my babe got enough energy we tried feeding from the breast again...she’s been a milk monster ever since!"
Kansas Photographer, and teacher inspired by birth, imperfections, giggles, thrift shop treasures, & acts of randomness