Hello! I’m Emily and I blog about my family and our daily doings over at Life’s Little Moments. I’ve been reading the Breastfeeding Diaries here ever since Julie started them and I have been so encouraged by each story that is shared. My story is actually a repeat number in that I have two great kiddos and was able to breastfed both of them! My son, Asher, is almost 4 and my daughter, Hadley, just turned 1 in October.
I was able to nurse Asher for his entire first year and Hadley and I are still going strong at 13 months. Before Asher was born I knew that I wanted to breastfeed him. In my pre-mommy working life I was a research scientist, so I understood just how perfect breast milk would be for his developing body and I wanted to provide that if I could! In the weeks before Asher’s birth I took a breastfeeding class with my (very supportive) husband and we learned all we could about the “mechanics” of nursing. There was more to learn than I expected, but I loved having some knowledge to think back on. It’s hard not having firsthand experience, so taking a class was a great way to bridge that gap for me.
Asher’s birth wasn’t as breezy as I had hoped, so he was born with a few complications and we didn’t get a chance to latch right away. Luckily he was a great eater and had no trouble making up for lost time later on.
Those first weeks I had some major engorgement and also had to figure out how to slow my powerful letdown so I wouldn’t drown my newborn. What worked for me was letting my milk soak a cloth diaper before he ever latched on – sounds bad, I know, but it worked great. My letdown eventually evened out and slowed as I developed a regular nursing routine. After these bumps we quickly got into a rhythm that was easy and predictable. Ash continued to be a great eater and since I was able to stay home with him I did a combination of pumping/bottle feeding and nursing.
To keep things from getting boring Asher decided to toss me a curve ball – I found blood in his stool when he was 4 months old. Scared me to death! After consulting his pediatrician we determined the little guy had a milk protein allergy. This isn’t lactose intolerance, but it’s an actual allergy to the proteins found in cow’s milk. Because of this we had 2 options – go on special hypoallergenic formula or eliminate ALL forms of milk from my diet. The elimination diet wasn’t easy but I still wanted to breastfeed, so that’s what I did. After I adjusted my diet Asher’s insides went back to normal and all was well.
I learned so very much with Asher that when Hadley was born I felt like an old pro.
She literally latched on within minutes of being born and continued to nurse well from there on out. Some of that had to do with my confidence, I’m sure! I had pretty much the same exact issues with her as I did with Asher, but since I’d already been through it I knew what to do and took it all in stride. It was much easier knowing that the sore nipples and engorgement would be short lived and worth it in the end.
We all hoped that Hadley wouldn’t have a milk protein allergy but she did – boooo. It showed up around her 4 month birthday as well and just like with Asher, I cut out all sources of dairy and everything was fine. I reintroduced dairy when she was 10 months old and she was able to tolerate it, thank goodness!
Now she’s over a year old and still loving her mommy’s milk! In fact, she often signs “milk” when she sees me. I’m not sure whether to take that as a compliment or not – ha!
I know so many people have difficulties with breastfeeding, but I want to encourage the expectant mommies out there that it can be an easy and joyful experience! I don’t take my journey for granted and feel so blessed to have had an easy time providing the very best food I could for my babies.
Thank you Julie for hosting this wonderful, encouraging series for all of us who are on this journey together!
Be sure to catch up with the rest of the Breastfeeding Diaries series at the top of my navigation bar!