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I’ve decided to kick things up a notch in 2019. The husband and I are getting healthy together with a lifestyle overhaul. We are settling into life as a family of 5. And I am starting the process to do something I have been dreaming about for years! Something big that will take years to complete. Something scary that I have been putting off for all the wrong reasons. This will be a labor of love, if you will.
I am coming up on 7, yes 7, years of being pregnant or nursing. If history is any indicator, I have another 18 months or so at least of nursing before I “get my body back.” I have learned a few very important things in the past 7 years about myself. I am insufferable when I am pregnant. Like really really miserable and cranky with ridiculous cravings and mood swings. I love being mom more than anything in the whole world. I can survive on very little sleep if you don’t mind major attitude and me yawning while you’re speaking to me. And I am super passionate about breastfeeding.
A few years ago I had this nagging feeling in the back of my head. My first child was an infant with a dairy allergy and bad latch. I devoured all the information to find to help me nurse my baby. I read the La Leche League forums while I cried in pain from vasospasms and cracked nipples. I was, in every way shape and form, obsessed. My obsession eventually led me to realize that I could provide something to other people. I wanted help those who needed help nursing and feeding their babies. I had this desire that I kept circling back to but I had no idea how to fulfill it.
I had heard the terms lactation consultant and breastfeeding counselor tossed around. I knew it was a thing you could be or do but I did not think it was something I could be. It was in the medical field and I am so not in that world. The lactation consultants at the hospital when my daughter was born were not at all supportive. In fact, the advice they gave me almost ruined my nursing relationship. I spent three weeks hiding the intense pain and crying through every nursing session. I was pumping just to get enough so my husband could give her a bottle when he got home from work and my nipples and I could have a break. No amount of nipple cream was helping.
During this time I found an article on Kellymom and it was life changing. I learned how to correct my daughter’s latch. With this one little (HUGE) change I was able to increase my supply, eliminate supplements and finally enjoy nursing.
When my daughter was 13 weeks old I went back to work full time. I pumped at least 3 times a week- including in the car while I commuted. I nursed on demand and let her reverse cycle to keep up my supply. I was able to nurse for 27 months and pumped for about 15. When my son was born I struggled. Not with nursing but with everything else. That was probably the hardest time in my life and nursing him was one of the major things that got me through it. During the first 6 months of my sons life it became apparent I could not return to work in the same capacity. A full time, high stress, high pressure job was not going to be good for my mental health. I did a lot of soul searching and a lot of research. I kept coming back to this idea of helping other women feed their babies, whatever that was going to look like for them. I knew then that becoming a lactation consultant was what I wanted to do. But I was in the trenches battling Post Partum Depression, PTSD and I could not go back to school until I had those things under control. Getting myself healthy was far more important and was the priority.
I filed away this thing I wanted and moved on to other ventures that I thought would bring my family a more immediate benefit without sacrificing my mental health. My third and last baby was born in September and I now realize that the nagging in the back of my head telling me this is my path is something I need to listen to. This is going to be a long journey. I am expecting some big bumps in the road. I don’t even know the end point yet or what the ultimate goal will be. But I am going to document my journey here and I will be as open and honest and raw as I can. I am so excited to share this with you. I will be posting what I learn and continue to learn about all things lactation. I want this blog and this page to foster a community where we can all come together to be the best we can for our children. Its going to be about my passion project and a labor of love, about lactation and feeding our babies but it will also be about judgment free parenting, doing the best we can for our kids and doing the best we can for ourselves.
I cannot wait to see whats next!