Yes, those are my boobs. I'm as shocked as you are. But, that's what makes this month so important. With our special series on breastfeeding, we hope to encourage those who choose to breastfeed, educate those who want to learn more about their options, and eliminate the stigma surrounding giving boobies to babies.
It's National Breastfeeding Month and we're 'milking it' for all it's worth.
You see, we want to encourage new moms who want to breastfeed their little ones that it can be done. Yes, it's hard, but it's also worth it. Here's what we're not saying, though. We aren't saying everyone should breastfeed. We're saying that you have to do what's best for your baby - and YOU. If that's breastfeeding, then by all means, read on! If not, no judgement here. Maybe you'll still find some useful information - or maybe you can share this series with your other new mom friends that may want to breastfeed. Whatever the case, be sure to come back for more breastfeeding fun. I'll tell you more about what's coming up at the end of my post...
For now, I want to share my breastfeeding experience with you as a way to kick off the boobie celebration.
My babies were born at just shy of 28 weeks. Preemies. Sick. They couldn't eat yet, but if there was one thing I was determined to do, it was to give them what I felt was the best nutrition out there. My milk. I was very lucky in that I was able to produce. Many moms aren't - and that's ok (we'll touch on ways to help with production later in the series). In fact, I was a cow.
See that top photo? That's one pump session worth of milk. 17 ounces in fact. I told you so. That freezer of milk is one of three we had filled to the gills. The NICU told me to stop bringing milk for the babies (I had 3) after 2 weeks.
And, yes, you read that right. I pumped. I had to. When you have preemies, you often can't breastfeed until they're at least 33 weeks. So, every day, eight times a day, I'd hook up to my favorite machine and squeeze those bad boys until they were dry. Even overnight. Even in the car. My husband made sure of it. Made sure I drank a glass of water each time I pumped. Made sure that I was eating enough and getting enough support. I heart him.
Anyways, back to the story. Pumping is still breastfeeding. Sure I missed out on the actual contact and closeness that feeding directly from the breast provided, but as long as my babies got the milk I wanted them to have, it didn't really matter. That very top image of my boobs? That was the first time I attempted to feed Miss T. She wasn't all that impressed. She still prefers to hang out with dad, eat until full, and then rest on his chest in a milk coma.
There are good things and bad things about breastfeeding, I'm not going to lie. You'll read more about these ups and downs, pros and cons - or 'good, bad, and uglies' as I like to call them - in the rest of the series. We aren't here to make it seem all glorious and wonderful. We're here to be real. So that you can make an informed decision about whether you want to breastfeed and so that you will be encouraged that it's possible if you do.
So what were my good, bad, and uglys? These are the three that come to mind for me.
- Good: I lost a ton of weight really fast. My wedding rings fit again! (And of course, I got the satisfaction of giving my babies what only I could.)
- Bad: I was pumping for three babies, so I needed extra calories. And there's only so many calories worth of strawberries you can eat in one day. So I ate a lot of cupcakes. Why is this under the bad... let's just say my wedding rings don't fit again.
- The Ugly: When you pump for 3o minutes a time, 8+ times a day, for 14 months straight, you're bound to run into uglies. I got mastitis three times. I constantly dealt with cracked nipples. And, that picture above? That was Christmas Day, a year in, when my boobs were screaming at me to quit already. I looked down and saw pink milk. Bloody milk. Yeah.
Now that I've scarred you for life, and probably scared you a little, let me remind you that breastfeeding is a truly beautiful thing. There are moms out there that wish they could do it. Moms that have no desire to do it. And moms that could just use a little more knowledge and support so they know that they CAN do it. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat, uglies and all, because I believe it's part of what helped my preemies survive.
So, what's coming up? Some very exciting things! We've got posts galore with topics like tips and tricks on breastfeeding and pumping, your legal rights as a breastfeeding and pumping mother, how to choose a pump, how to increase your supply, Q&A with some breastfeeding experts, lots of fun giveaways, and a bit of boobie humor. Don't miss out! Follow our hashtag on all the social media channels using #milkingit and then be sure to check back daily for new posts. We'll be asking you to play, so be ready!
In addition to providing a wealth of boobie stories and knowledge from our wonderful writers and guest bloggers, we'd also like to pull together a list of other breastfeeding resources. Bloggers, if you have a great post about breastfeeding or pumping, please share with our readers!
So, here you have it... welcome to everything you wanted to know about boobies and babies! Stay tuned, as more and more breastfeeding bloggers will be adding their posts, making this a pretty prime resource for pregnant and breastfeeding moms... resources from REAL breastfeeding women!