I didn't have a particular need for my birth to go a specific way, but I wanted to breastfeed. I don't glorify breastfeeding or put it on a pedestal, but it was important to me to give breastfeeding my best.
There is a lot of information available on breastfeeding a newborn. Lactation consultants are available at most hospitals, but ongoing breastfeeding offers unique challenges. I had a difficult time finding information on breastfeeding past the newborn stage, into what is called extended breastfeeding. The breastfeeding community can be extreme and some "advice" I read wasn't practical or helpful (cue: it's possible to breastfeed and not co-sleep)!
I'm sharing two concepts which greatly helped influence a positive extended breastfeeding experience. These two tips are the reason I'm still breastfeeding today!
1. My supply has never been abundant. It's exactly what Phoenix needs within a given session. I rarely feel engorged, but that's not so great for pumping. I pump two-to-three times while at work, but my yield is maybe an ounce on each side. When I first returned to work this concerned me until I read an article on Kellymom.com.
"It is typical for a mother who is breastfeeding full-time to be able to pump around 1/2 to 2 ounces total (for both breasts) per pumping session."
A lightbulb went off and I decided I would pump to maintain my supply, but I wouldn't concern myself with the totals. Your baby will always be more efficient. A low pump output does not mean your milk supply is drying up. We supplemented with formula until Phoenix was one year. This gave me peace of mind and a lot of my time back.
Do not let anyone make you feel less than for utilizing formula!
2. Nurse on demand when you are home. I quickly realized nursing on a schedule didn't work for us or my milk supply. Especially when I went back to work, I offered to nurse all of the time. I believe this to be the key reason why my milk supply is still going strong at thirteen months.
Breastfeeding can feel all-consuming. It takes up a lot of ones day, but I'm so thankful for this time together.
Did you breastfeed? What tips did you find helpful?