1 Month: Makin’ Milk

1Month

Our little peanut is 1 month old! Wesley is now 9lbs 12oz and 21″ long. He’s keeping his eyes open longer and starting to focus on faces.  He’s discovered his fingers and I’ve already caught him sucking his thumb. Unfortunately, he’s also learned how to wail, but luckily he tends to calm down as soon as he’s cuddled.

Most people include likes and dislikes with monthly updates, but at this point he likes food, napping on mommy or daddy, and farting.  He dislikes having to wait for food and being poopy. There’s not much excitement in being 1 month old…

If you’ve been reading at all about having a baby, you’ve probably also read that breastfeeding is Hard. I’m here to tell you it’s not hard, it’s stupidly frustrating and seemingly impossible at times! If anyone tells you that their baby had a perfect latch from day one and was always full and happy, you have my permission to punch her in the boob.*

Breastfeeding has been hands-down the hardest and most stressful part of having an infant around.  It didn’t help matters that Wesley was an early baby either.  Even though he was technically fully developed, it’s apparently pretty common for early babies to respond more like premies when it comes to feeding.  Pretty much he would go to latch and immediately fall asleep without actually eating anything.  It’s even more frustrating in the first few days before your milk comes in and we ended up having to supplement with donor breast milk while we were in the hospital.

Even once we got back home and my milk came in, it never seemed  like there was enough to keep Wesley satisfied. It’s been a rough journey, but if you’re struggling too know that you are not alone! Talk to your mom friends, find a lactation consultant, and/or find a breastfeeding support group. Here are some things that helped me, but be sure to check with your pediatrician or lactation consultant since I am obviously not a doctor.**

Drink Drink Drink

Water that is.  Hydrating the heck out of yourself is one of the best ways to ramp up milk production.  Having a partner who will constantly refill your water cup throughout the day is incredibly helpful since it’s easy to get distracted and forget on your own (guilty).

Pump Pump Pump!

Breast milk production is a supply and demand situation so you can try and trick your body into making more.  I tend to pump after Wesley nurses because he can’t seem to get everything on his own.  Matt and I also split the night shift  so I make sure to pump right before I go to bed so Matt has a bottle ready for the next feeding (letting me sleep through one!). You may also have a little one that just cannot seem to latch and it may be easier to pump and bottle feed.  You do you mama!

Herbal Supplements

The lactation consultant in the hospital recommended Go-Lacta (Malungay).  My endless internet quest for boosting milk supply mostly turned up recommendations for Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle. Our pediatrician recommended all of the above. Lots of people also recommended Mother’s Milk tea, but the flavors (anise) aren’t my thing so I prefer taking capsule supplements.

Cookies!

Yes, cookies!  Or whatever baked goods you desire.  There are tons of recipes out there for lactation cookies/breads/smoothies.  What they all have in common in Brewers Yeast and Flax Meal so if you’re baking savvy you can probably modify an existing favorite recipe.  Other food recommendations for boosting milk production include oatmeal, red Gatorade (?), and Starbucks “Pink Drink” (???).

This is the recipe I used for oatmeal cookies.  You can totally switch around the “mix ins” for your own personal taste too.  Not a fan of coconut?  Skip it.  Feel like nuts?  Add ’em! You could also swap out the chocolate chips for a dried fruit (raisins/craisins/blue berries).

Don’t be afraid to supplement

Even doing all of the above we still have to supplement with formula.  We decided the most important thing was to make sure our little guy was getting enough food.  Anytime we supplement with formula I also make sure to pump and we give him any pumped milk the same day since there is a risk with supplementing that your milk supply will go down.

Our pediatrician (who is also a lactation consultant) is 100% on board with what we’re doing.  Every bit of breast milk your baby gets is great and moms need to take care of themselves too (rather than wear themselves down stressing about about milk production). If you see magic promises of freezers full of breast milk on Pinterest, take them with a grain of salt.  These things can help, but they may not be a magic instant fix.

Just remember, the most important thing is feeding your baby, so even if breastfeeding doesn’t work out for you at all, it’s ok, you are not a failure!  As long as your baby is getting the necessary calories and checking out fine with the pediatrician, you’re doing great!

 

*Ok, not really, moms need to support other moms.  If you’re one of the stupidly luckily mamas who had zero issues with breastfeeding, yay for you!  Just be aware that your fellow mamas may be struggling  and may also be close to (or well past) tears.

**Matt really likes to tell people “Trust me, I’m a doctor.” And while he does indeed have a doctorate, no one in their right mind trusts lawyers 🙂

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