What Breastfeeding Has Meant to Me

Today is the first day of World Breastfeeding Week. I’m not a lactation consultant, nor am I a breastfeeding expert. BUT, I do have loads of experience in this department and some thoughts on the topic, having spent a good chunk of nearly eleven years with a baby attached.

You see, I am currently nursing my seventh baby. My twins were born 9 weeks early and, while we never perfected proper latch-on since they were so tiny, my body worked around the clock to make sure they had all the nutrients and benefits that only my milk could give them. So, even though they drank from a bottle I don’t beat myself up, because I know I did what  could and I wouldn’t change any of it.

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, may I share with you what breastfeeding seven kiddos has meant to me?

In addition to the convenience and money-saving perks (imagine the money I’ve saved by breastfeeding all seven of my babies!), not only have each of my babies’ immune systems benefitted, but I am also the more healthy because of it – Studies show that I have a lower risk of breast and ovarian cancer, simply due to the fact that I have already spent almost six years of my life with babies suckling at my breasts. Not to mention I always returned to my pre-pregnancy size just a few short months after delivering each of my babies – Another perk attributed to exclusively breast-feeding.

There are many women who also put a lot of stock in breastfeeding as a form of birth control natural spacing. With my first 6 kiddos, I did not begin ovulating until my breastfeeding baby was about 9 months old – Makes sense since that was about the time baby didn’t seem quite so interested in me. Not only was he was sleeping through the night, but this was about the time that each of my babies became more interested in eating table foods along with the rest of us. Sure, we had our first kiddos in six years, but they’re all evenly spaced, thanks (in part) to breastfeeding.

According to recent studies, breastfed babies whose mothers eat fruits and vegetables are more inclined to like those foods themselves. Now, that explains why my kids like broccoli! Really though, it makes sense, if you think about it… Food flavors transfer to baby through our milk, much the same way they travel through the amniotic fluid. I wonder if my kids love for chocolate was born the day they were conceived?

All of these benefits to breastfeeding pale in comparison, in my mind, to the bond that was formed with each of my babies while nursing. A plethora of memories were created during the quality time spent with each wee one, during each feeding. I will always fondly remember even those half-asleep-late-night-feedings. The knowledge that my body was working to provide nutrients and sustenance for my babies’ growing bodies is priceless.

So, my once perky breasts will shortly be on their way to my knees (again), but that’s okay. It’s okay because my kiddos will forever benefit in many ways, simply because of the fact that they drank their mama’s milk!

What does breastfeeding mean to you?

I am a Strong Mom!

I am currently breastfeeding my seventh child. I breastfed four babies exclusively. I pumped for my oldest two, my twins, while supplementing with formula simply out of necessity. I’ve discovered how to successfully potty-train five boys and one girl. I’ve worn babies in various contraptions. I can stave off a kiddo’s cough and make the boo-boo all better. Most importantly, I know the most effective way to show love and discipline to each of my seven very different children.

I have bad days and I don’t claim to be a supermom. But, I am a strong mom. Just like you.

Here on my little ol’ mom blog, I often share about the products and services that bring some ease to this extremely difficult job we call mothering and I would like to tell you about one of these things now, if I may.  In fact, I am excited to announce that I was asked to be a Similac StrongMoms Ambassador. It’s my pleasure, as an Ambassador, to tell you a bit about the Baby Journal App that Similac created to help moms track such things as eating, sleeping, and growth.

How many of you keep a journal to track when baby eats and needs diaper changes? I was advised by my postpartum nurses to track these very things with all of my babies. It was most important, however, to keep a record of my twins’ feedings and growth, since they were born so early. In fact, it was imperative.

Now, over ten years later, our family life is not typically governed by strict schedules, nor is it controlled by timed activities. In fact, we all thrive on flexibility. I love it this way. My kids love it this way. This simple fact is perhaps the secret to my sanity as a busy mom. Or, perhaps it just makes me crazy.

That said, my 4-month-old munchkin, Timmy, has brought some predictability to our days. He has developed a routine for himself and for me. This, mind you, was not something that I had much control over. I breastfeed on demand and let him fall asleep at my breast, or even sometimes in the arms of an older brother, whenever he needs the rest. When he’s upset, I seek to discover what is bothering him and I comfort him. Every single time. Even when I think he should be sleeping.

I’ll be honest, I don’t use the Baby Journal app to it’s full capacity with Timmy yet, but… oh, how I wish I had this app 10 years ago. It is extremely helpful to any mama, new or novice, who keeps a journal of this magnitude.

What does this free app do exactly?

Sleep Journal Example Growth Journal Example

  • It records the length of each nap.
  • It records the details of what comes out, including stool color and consistency.
  • It tracks key developmental indicators, like weight, length, and head circumference.

I’ll tell you a bit more about this app, and how I’ve been using it, over the next couple of months. But, in the meantime, I want to invite you to a Twitter party next week. Plan to join me and my fellow Ambassadors at 11am on Friday, March 4th. More details, including prize information and an RSVP linky, will be announced on Monday.

I’d love to hear about how you currently keep your baby journal. Do you keep a written journal? Or, have you found an app that helps you keep track of what’s going on with Baby?

I have been compensated, through Collective Bias, as a Similac StrongMoms Ambassador for the Baby Journal iPhone App. Of course, all opinions and thoughts are my own, unless otherwise noted.