My Breastfeeding Journey {& Update} and Affordable Fashion from Motherhood Maternity for My Breastfeeding/Pumping Lifestyle

August is National Breastfeeding Awareness Month! Now having 3 children, breastfeeding/pumping has been such a big part of my story as a mom. Over the last 4 1/2 months I’ve learned SO much about nursing/pumping. I’ve talked a lot about it in my Instagram stories, but I thought I’d give you guys an update here as to where I am in my journey and why I’m SO happy I persisted this time…

*Thank you to Motherhood Maternity for sponsoring this post. I’m honored to work with them to celebrate this very important month.)

I had our first child 9 1/2 years ago. I started off breastfeeding and had a plentiful milk supply. Emie was, however, very colicky. We tried EVERYTHING to find a solution to why she was so upset. Obviously, the advice I received from everyone else was that it must be something I’m eating that’s not sitting well with her. So, I tried to remove almost everything I could think of from my diet to try to find a remedy for our poor baby girl. During the process of eliminating different foods from my diet, I put Em on soy formula (at the recommendation of several people who had done similar) and finally… she seemed to be less upset after eating. (Before you comment, I know soy is a little controversial these days, but it wasn’t so much at the time. And as a just-turned 25 year-old new mom, that had tried everything, it was what stuck.)

I pumped and stored my milk for the first couple months of having her on formula… hoping that maybe she’d outgrow these issues and would be able to drink my milk after her digestion system grew into itself a little. But after exhausting myself of every little thing I could possibly imagine to try, and trying her on my milk again several other times, I decided she was reacting better to the formula and gave up on the notion that she would be able to accept my breastmilk.

Skip forward to our second child. Corbin was quite the opposite in that he didn’t seem to have any issues with MY milk. But he had a hard time latching to receive enough milk. He’d end a feeding seemingly still very hungry, which obviously was very frustrating to watch as the mom of an otherwise very happy baby. It was recognized very early on (while still in the hospital) that he was very tongue-tied. So, at the recommendation of our pediatrician, we took him to have his tongue-tie corrected. During that time I started supplementing with formula bc he was SO hungry. He reacted fine to the formula, but I hated the idea of having another baby on formula and prayed that when the tongue tie was corrected, he’d go back to the breast and all would end up in my breastfeeding fairytale dreams with an exclusively breastfed baby.

Well… that didn’t happen. After receiving formula in a bottle for several days, he just didn’t want the breast. In hind site, I truly believe that the cutting of his frenulum (google “tongue tie” to learn more about this) didn’t fully correct the issue. Dakota (our 3rd) was also tongue-tied and we learned it’s much more effective to have the frenulum lasered instead of cut. Looking back, I wonder if it wasn’t corrected enough, after all, and if he would have had a better result if we’d done the laser treatment like we did with Dakota. But, nonetheless, Corbin never went fully back to the breast. I continued to breastfeed him (usually resulting in a bottle), hoping one day he’d catch on. But he never did. I tried pumping for about a month, but eventually, my supply was so little that I gave up.

Skip now to baby #3. As most of you have followed along and know, Dakota was born 7 weeks early. I had an extremely traumatic delivery with her (I was under general anesthesia and my body had a tough recovery). Bc of the 2 factors combined (her being so early and my body having been through so much), and despite the fact that I was pumping around the clock, I was barely producing enough milk to get her through a few feedings in the day. The NICU provided donor milk for her for what she needed supplemented. (I HIGHLY recommend this over supplementing with formula, if you’re open to the idea. You can learn a lot about this topic at your hospital of delivery and by doing a little research. But I was super grateful for this option, this time around.)

When I had to leave the hospital after the first week and leave the baby in the NICU, producing enough milk became increasingly difficult. If you’ve ever had to pump away from your newborn, you might know what I’m talking about… There’s some natural reaction your body can have where it literally doesn’t produce without her physically present. At least that’s what happened to me. I brought her {dirty} burp clothes home with me and tied them around my neck (hoping the scent would spark a reaction). I watched videos of her on my phone and even created videos when she’d cry thinking maybe the sound would help me produce. (If you’ve breastfed before, you might know what I’m talking about… When the mere sound of your baby crying can leave you fully soaked. lol)

Anyway, nothing… Nothing seemed to work. Until…

Until I pumped on the hour, every hour, for as long as I could possibly stand. I remembered how I lost my supply when I started pumping with my son, but tried to pinpoint why that probably was. I thought… if your body creates only what the baby really needs… I need to train my body to know it needs more. So I pumped as frequently as I possibly could to empty whatever my body might have been storing, so that it programed itself to know it needed to create more. And guess what? It started working. I also pumped as often as I could when I was at the NICU with Dakota and she was physically on my chest. It was difficult. But I held her ON my chest while I pumped through the day and slowly, my supply started increasing. I meannnnn… slowllllly.

But, like with my pregnancy complications, I persisted. I didn’t give myself the option to quit. Unless I were to physically dry up, I was going to do what I could do keep creating milk.

Now, let me jump in here and say that I do NOT think this is for everyone. Nor do I judge one single soul who decides breastfeeding isn’t working for them. Each mom/parent has to do what they decide is best for their situation to be the best parent that they possibly can be. This is just what I decided to do personally, after 2 failed attempts before Dakota. Giving up this time (for me) just wasn’t an option.

So, here I am today. I’ve been pumping for 4 1/2 months. Because I pumped so long, and Dakota had the bottle so frequently in the NICU (and I also think bc of the tongue tie issues) Dakota always preferred the bottle for feeding. I saw several lactation consultants in the hospital and even hired one to my house. I highly recommend this option! You can submit the visit to your insurance for reimbursement and I think it is SO helpful to be able to work on breastfeeding in the comfort and peace of your own home in your own surroundings. If you’re in the Tampa area, I used Trish of Sweet Songs Breastfeeding, and she was AMAZING! She followed up with me on a weekly (sometimes daily) basis throughout my entire journey until I was totally comfortable with my own outcome. Dakota still enjoys breastfeeding for comfort and bonding (and so do I). But she still almost always feeds with a bottle of breastmilk.

Because Dakota is still exclusively on breastmilk, and I still struggle with my supply, to some extent… I have to make sure I pump regularly and don’t let too much time go in between feedings. Since 2 months old, Dakota has slept through the night {praise Jesus} so I do go from when I go to bed to when she wakes up without pumping. But that first pump of the day I get enough for 2-3 feedings, so it makes up for lost time. The rest of the day, however, I have to pump regularly (every 3-4 hours) or I notice a huge dip in my supply. SO… in comes the other purpose of this post… BREASTFEEDING FASHION.

I like to wear clothes that are nursing-friendly, so when I have to find a place to pump, it’s convenient and I feel “appropriate”. I’m an extrovert but I still have a hard time with the breastfeeding in public thing. Not because I’m against it (I’M TOTALLY ABOUT NORMALIZING BREASTFEEDING IN PUBLIC!). I’ve just never gotten in the groove of getting set up in public without exposing myself.

I’ve leaned to Motherhood Maternity for many of my nursing-friendly basics! I’ve had this multi-use cover since Dakota was born. You can use it as a carseat cover, a shopping cart cover, worn as an infinity scarf OR how I always use it… as a cover when you’re breastfeeding or pumping in public. It’s one thing I always keep in my diaper bag so that when I pump in my car or in a public place, I feel comfortable. It’s SUPER soft and fashionable too. And I LUV how much I can use it for.

The bottom line is you don’t have to forfeit fashion for your style to be nursing-friendly. I LUV dresses that have a pull-up flap over the top part and open underneath (see the dress I’m wearing below). Below is one from Motherhood Maternity that I absolutely LUV and you’d never even know it was a “nursing dress”. It’s absolutely perfect for nursing AND pumping! (See the first photo at the top of this post to see how well it covers when I’m breastfeeding in it.)

Dress | Shoes {similar} | Jacket

Throw it on with heels. Add a jacket or cardigan in the fall. And you’re ready to go! (I’m wearing an XS in the dress, for reference.)

Here’s another example of a “nursing dress” from Motherhood Maternity that doesn’t compromise fashion for function.I mean would you seriously ever know this dress was made for nursing?!

Dress | Bag | Shoes | Strapless Nursing Bra

This dress is actually on sale by the time this post is live for 45% off, making it under $30!!! Say what?! There is also a maternity version that is super similar and adorable. And here is another floral nursing-friendly maxi dress. I LUV how it has the different layers where you can pull the fabric to the side but there’s still another side of fabric that serves as coverage when you’re nursing!

I also have a few favorite nursing bras that I’ll link in the carousel at the end of this post, but I had to note this amazing strapless bra that I got from Motherhood Maternity. I’ve tried SO many strapless bras, and (especially when nursing) it’s so hard to find a supportive one. This is the cadillac of strapless bras, and it’s comfortable too! I promise you’ll LUV it! Also, I don’t personally have this lace one, but I’ve heard great things about it and it’s super cute!

Here are some other nursing dresses, tops and accessories that I either have or absolutely LUV… My favorites for pumping specifically are the ones that have the flaps at the top that cover the pumps when I’m using them. I’d also consider a good nursing-friendly cardigan as a staple in your nursing-wardrobe.

Motherhood Maternity is offering 40% off one full-price item to my followers! Use code Bec40 at checkout to save! Code is good until August 31st.

Anyway, thanks for all of your encouragement over the last several months as I’ve learned and grown in my breastfeeding journey. I LUV the idea of a month dedicated specifically to breastfeeding awareness. As we all share our stories and journeys, it makes it easier to understand that we’re not in this alone. Breastfeeding isn’t always without roadblocks, but I promise, it’s always worth it… Comment below with your own breastfeeding stories! I’d LUV to hear some of your own!

*Thanks again to Motherhood Maternity for sponsoring this post, but as always, please know that all opinions are 100% my own. Affiliate links are also used throughout the post, which means I get paid a commission when you purchase items at my recommendation. Thanks for your support!

 

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