Our Breastfeeding Journey

During my pregnancy with Kennedy there was no question in my mind that I wanted to try and breastfeed. I had no idea what it would entail and if I’d even be able to do so successfully. I have spoken very openly about breastfeeding and truth be told, I have been very lucky because all things considered, it has been a very easy thing for both Kennedy and I. I realize that’s not the case for everyone and before I go any further, I believe FED is best. However you decide to feed your baby is 100% your decision and there is no right or wrong answer. Today I wanted to share a little bit about my story and journey with breastfeeding for the first time though.

Rewinding back to last summer, I asked my doctor (who is amazing and gave me the most incredible care and advice throughout my entire pregnancy) if he would recommend we take a childbirth class or anything else to prepare for labor/birth/parenthood. His answer was surprising to me because he actually recommended that we skip the childbirth class and take a breastfeeding class instead. His reasoning was that in childbirth, nothing happens exactly as you imagine or think it might, and the best thing we could do to prepare would be to go in with a flexible mindset knowing that anything could change and that we should just trust our nurses and doctors. BUT with breastfeeding, Kennedy and I would BOTH be clueless and doing this for the first time on our own… talk about a huge learning curve. He spoke openly with me about the fact that breastfeeding can be difficult and when it gets hard, a lot of moms put that on themselves and can become frustrated or stressed, which only makes it more difficult. Having some knowledge about what we were getting ourselves into would set us ahead of the curve, in his opinion.

Honestly, I didn’t even know breastfeeding classes existed before this conversation, and while it sounded a bit odd, especially for someone who is relatively reserved and private, his explanation also made perfect sense to me. So I enrolled in a class at our hospital, which both Michael and I attended about seven or eight weeks before my due date. Side note: if you’re taking ANY birth-related classes, I would recommend taking them at least this far in advance because Kennedy came almost three weeks early! You just never know with these babies haha.

Anyway, the breastfeeding class was without a doubt one of the best uses of time and money during my pregnancy. Kennedy latched right after birth while we did skin-to-skin and here we are almost eleven months later and we’re still going strong. Had you asked me a year ago if I’d still be breastfeeding this long, I probably would have guessed no. My goal was six months and once that came and went, we just kept going because it’s been so natural and easy for us. The convenience, the fact that it’s free, and the health benefits (for both of us) have made me want to keep at it. My goal is now one year, which we’re so close to. Whatever happens I’m just so thankful for the experience of breastfeeding and do not take for granted how lucky I am that we’ve been able to share this together at all.

With breastfeeding comes a lot of STUFF. There are pillows and bras and pumps and bags and bottles and nipple creams and all the things… it’s crazy and I had zero clue before entering this journey what all I would need or want. Now that we’ve been at this almost a year, I have a pretty good idea of the things that have worked for us and what I would (and do) recommend to other nursing mamas.

August is actually National Breastfeeding Awareness Month and in honor of that, Walmart has deals on all breastfeeding items (i.e. covers, nipple creams, etc.) as well as feeding items (i.e.. breast pumps, bottles, etc). Below are my ride or die things for all breastfeeding moms and babies. Seriously, we have every single one of these items. Thankfully, they can all be found at Walmart, which is an amazing go-to place for all things for the entire family!

PS - several months ago, I chronicled 24 hours of breastfeeding to share the amount of time it truly takes when you’re nursing a newborn. Like I’ve already said, I was CLUELESS before beginning this journey and could not have imagined how much time and energy it takes, especially in those first several weeks/months. If you’re interested in checking it out, it’s saved on my Instagram highlights under “breastfeeding”.

xx Alex

Thanks to Walmart and rewardStyle for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions are my own.