Another Momma’s Milk

That’s Sweet M. That’s Sweet M drinking expressed milk in a bottle. That’s Sweet M drinking expressed milk from another momma.

Let’s backtrack nearly 7 years ago. When Miss H was born I knew nothing about breastfeeding other then it was natural and it was obviously what I was going to do. I did not put any more thought or research into it.

Let’s say I was blissfully unaware. Extremely ignorant. And I turned out to be very, very lucky despite all our hurdles like terrible thrush, tongue tie, terrible latch, bloody nipples, mastitis so bad that I had my milk duct cut open and drained; she was still able to breastfeed until she was nearly 4 years old.

When she was born I had a plethora of milk. It was overflowing. But I didn’t know much about oversupply, so I pumped for relief. And then I pumped for more than a relief. I pumped until my breasts were empty. I accumulated hundreds and hundreds of ounces of milk. Milk my baby would not take from a bottle. Because, being as unknowledgeable as I was, I didn’t know that there were different types of bottles and different babies had different preferences. All I knew was the bottle that we had purchased and tried on a limb, she did not care for. So we tossed it aside and never tried again.

And all that milk? Oh yes. That liquid gold all went down the drain. Because again, there was so much I did not know yet.

I didn’t know about milk banks. I didn’t know you could donate milk directly to another momma. I had no idea that was a thing, and so that milk went unused.

When I think about all the milk that I poured down the drain back then, I want to cry. So much waste.

When Mr. B came along, I didn’t have the oversupply issue because I had a voracious toddler who was more than happy to help drink all that extra milk.

And then, years later, finally, Sweet M came to be.

I knew more then. I knew so much. I was also more confident, more laid-back, and had less of a desire to try and prove anything to myself.

So when he was two days old with a terrible tongue and lip tie, my nipples bloody, I didn’t hesitate when I texted a close friend and asked her is she had any pumped milk I could have. In the middle of the night, J drove over to her house to collect the frozen liquid gold. 

By the grace of God we had a bottle that a friend had given us with some other baby things. J thawed the milk and put it in the bottle. I sat on our bed in the middle of the night and gave my newborn a bottle of another momma’s milk.

I thought I’d feel grief. Overwhelming sadness. Failure.

But I did not.

I felt sweet relief. I felt eternal gratitude. 

Sweet M is a year old and he is still an avid breastfeeder. He will nurse until he chooses to selfwean. I am comfortable with that.

After his tongue and lip tie was corrected, our breastfeeding relationship became beautiful and easy. 

I pumped nearly 2000 ounces in the first 6 months of his life. Some Sweet M consumed in a bottle. Most was donated directly to other babies. My milk has nourished twins, a baby with a dairy intolerance (I was completely dairy freeat  that time), a friend’s baby whose momma was not able to breastfeed, and a few others. It’s really pretty cool to know that I helped so many other babies thrive.

And when I got pregnant with our little Jelly Bean and my milk supply began to plummet, something I did not experience when I had gotten pregnant with Mr. B while breastfeeding Miss H, I reached out to my community for breast milk to supplement with while I worked hard to increase my supply again, and there was an overwhelming amount of support and milk. Mommas filled up my freezer, and my baby’s belly, with their own precious liquid gold.

Y’all, there are no words. Having other mommas care about my babe enough to spare that goodness for him, some being mommas who don’t even know him: that’s amazing. It really does take a village. 

I always thought I’d be uncomfortable giving my baby a bottle. I never imagined giving him any milk other than my own. But I am so incredibly grateful to have my sweet boy nourished with other mommas’ milk.

What an amazing gift. 

Momzelle: Keeping It Real

In my quest to find adorable, comfortable, figure-flattering nursing apparel this go-round, I stumbled upon Momzelle.

Y’all, it’s straight up love.

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I didn’t have any nursing-specific attire with my first two, and I survived just fine. I mean, Miss H was almost four when she weaned, so obviously we managed. But I told myself that this time I wanted to be kinder to my post-partum body and breastfeeding-needs. Plus, I really, really love dresses, and that can be super tricky to finagle if it’s not made specifically for breastfeeding in.

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I received two Momzelle dresses and I loved them both. They fit like a glove, were super cute, and I could discreetly nurse my babe anywhere, any time, to boot! What more could a momma ask for?

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See, this was totally not posed. I was at our local coffee shop. Shortly after this, Sweet M knocked my sister’s latte all over her. We keep things real over here.

Momma is getting her groove back. Looking cute and feeling good, even with baby spit and milk, and let’s just be honest, even poop, on me most days. And I’m so glad I found Momzelle to add to my wardrobe, making it just that much easier to feel good about myself each day, and not worry about flashing the world my boob or my gut each time I need to feed Sweet M.

I don’t have time to shower daily or bother with make-up most of the time, but when I have clothes I’m comfortable in, I feel like a million bucks. Even when Sweet M keeps me up all night showing me his cool almost-crawling tricks.

If you don’t have Momzelle in your wardrobe and you’re a nursing momma, or have a friend or family member who is and you want to treat them (and you do; you really do want to treat them: there aren’t words to describe how huge such a gesture would mean to them), head over to Momzelle and get shopping!

 

 

The End of a Lovely Breastfeeding Journey

H and B are weaned.

Officially.

Done.

All gone.

No more milk. (Okay, it’s still technically there, but it’s drying up slowly but surely).

They weaned in December. Sometime right before Christmas.

But it’s taken me this long to write about it.

It was a lot easier for them to wean than I anticipated. A complete breeze for them.

I was an utter hormonal mess.

H self-weaned. I knew it was coming. It has been a slow self-weaning process for her since last April. That was when she suddenly significantly reduced her nursing to not even 1x a day every day. She’d go days in between without asking. I knew it was coming.

But it always seemed that just when I thought, “Oh, maybe she’s done,” she’d ask to breastfeed again. But then by October when she was asking, she was literally breastfeeding for less than five seconds at a time. I knew those moments were fleeting. That she was nearly done.

And then it just puckered out. By the time Christmas Day rolled around I’d realized that she hadn’t asked since the very beginning of December. She was done.

And so was B at that point.

I made the conscious decision to cut down breastfeeding sessions with B after his second birthday. I needed it. For my sanity. He was nursing 6-8x a day, sometimes for over an hour.

So first I lessened the length of time. Then how many times he could nurse.

It was hard. I felt so mean. He’d cry and I’d hold him and offer him anything under the sun except for the one thing he wanted, and then I’d want to cry with him, because I knew I could stop the tears if I just nursed him, but I just didn’t want to. I mean, I did. I wasn’t trying to wean him at that point. I just wanted the breastfeeding to happen less.

And once it started, I’d put the ball in motion and he weaned right along with his sister. It was done and over with before I’d realized what had happened.

Truthfully, I was ready to be done. So ready to be done.

But then again, I wasn’t. Not even remotely. I totally could have been that mom still breastfeeding her 6 year old. I wouldn’t have cared. Because I wanted it to be on his terms. So I feel a bit bad that I kind of forced it along instead of letting him self-wean like his sister. I’m sorry his sister got nearly 4 years of awesome momma milk and he only got 2 years and 4 months. Not like I counted or anything.

So long as he wasn’t, you know, nursing 6-8x a day we’d have been good.

But B is kind of an all or nothing kind of guy.

So now it’s nothing.

But I’m glad we’re done. I’m fantasizing about buying a REAL bra. I bought a few spring/summer dresses (because it will get warm again some day, right!?) without thinking about being able to nurse in them (although my subconscious clearly was, because they’re all totally compatible. Alas!).

I’m glad I don’t have enough milk to let down when I hear another baby cry (for real, that happened all the freaking time).

I’m glad that I had the ability to nourish and sustain two healthy, strong babies. That I could tandem nurse them. That I could breastfeed H while pregnant with B. That I had an overabundance of milk and their tummies were always full.w

I’m grateful that I was able to connect with my children in this way. That we were able to share so many beautiful moments together.

I’m grateful that weaning wasn’t traumatizing for them.

I didn’t know what to expect when they weaned. My hormones were a mess. I’d be chopping vegetables and I’d burst into tears. And not because I was sad they had weaned. Just because I suddenly felt compelled to cry.

I cried in the supermarket once when reading a box of cereal.

I’d watch something on TV and something ridiculous like a lion hunting a zebra would bring on the waterworks.

It was a tumultuous few weeks. I’m glad those hormones have figured themselves out.

I believe in breastfeeding. I believe it is the best thing for all babes.

Although I’d encourage anyone to breastfeed to a minimum of 2 years, I’d mostly encourage everyone to do it for a day. A week. A month. As long as you feel you possibly can. Because every drop is awesomeness for your babe.

But this relationship with my children is now over. It was beautiful and fantastic. And some days made me want to pull my hair out. But I’m glad I was able to do it for them.

And on a closing note, here are some booby pictures. 😉 It’s certainly been a good run!

Newborn Miss H. Look at that nose! I just love it.

 Taking a break from the beach and sun.

 

The day B was born. Fist tandem nursing.

Newborn Mr. B

B needs in on this milk on the beach thing, too!

I’m so glad to have this picture that one of my dear friends took for me.

My heart is full.