Breastfeeding Mechanics, Logistics & Resources, Oh My! (Part 3/3)
Happy National Breastfeeding Awareness Month!
& Happy Black Breastfeeding Week (8/25-8/31)!
This post is Part 3 in a 3 part series.
Read Part 1:
Fed is Best, but Breast is Freaking Awesome, so if Your Goal is EBF, Don’t Give Up Too Soon
Read Part 2:
Honor Your Cuarentena and Build Your Support Network
In this third and final post I’ll discuss certain aspects of the mechanics and logistical juggling—including the unglamorous parts like pumping in airports (see pic below) — that went into our family reaching our breastfeeding goals. (Our goals included feeding him exclusively breast milk and making sure he was open to the occasional bottle of breastmilk).
It's not always easy to share the difficult side of breastfeeding. I'm not going to lie, I hesitated when thinking about sharing the picture below, but I think it's important that we share--and normalize--all aspects of breastfeeding and pumping. That, I believe, is one way we can support each other and help future Mamas as they wade through those crazy first weeks.
Once again, I share my experience to encourage you to learn as much as you can about the mechanics and some of the logistical issues you might have to tackle before giving birth if at all possible.
But if, like me, you have to learn while in the trenches, I hope these posts lead you to some valuable information that will help you on your own journey.
Like I mentioned in the last post, if there is one piece of advice I would give to new Mamas who wish to breastfeed it would be this:
Put together a team of knowledgable and supportive people ASAP, preferably before birth.
This post and series only touches upon a handful of logistical or mechanical issues that our particular family had to address. But every family is different! So again let these posts inspire you to find what your particular family needs.
Once again, happy Breastfeeding to you!
And if it's not so happy at the moment, hang in there and read this now:
“When Breastfeeding is Hard”
DISCLAIMER & DISCLOSURE:
Before we jump in, let’s get a few important points out of the way:
DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT a lactation consultant and this is NOT medical advice. The post below features things I learned from my personal experiences breastfeeding. I hope this post inspires you to find the help you need if you are having a hard time.
DISCLOSURE: Throughout this post I link to book and product recommendations. I generally recommend products I’ve used myself and loved, but if I haven’t used a product myself, I make a note of that and explain why I’m linking to it. I participate in affiliate programs, so if you use my affiliate links, I will earn a small commission for qualifying purchases at no cost to you.
TRY TO READ UP ON MECHANICS BEFORE GIVING BIRTH
There are SO MANY mechanics that go into nursing: proper latch, supply & demand, cluster feeding, and on and on and on.
This post can in no way cover all that ground and there are excellent books out there that cover this material in great detail.
The book I read and highly recommend is The Nursing Mother’s Companion, but there are many others, so ask other nursing mothers and lactation consultants for their favorite references if you’d like to consult a few different texts.
The Nursing Mother’s Companion was gifted to me by a nursing Mama, and what I liked most about it was that it had troubleshooting guides, so it was easy to look up my problem and read quick suggestions on what might help (as opposed to having to search through dense text to find what I needed).
I also read a ton of articles on kellymom.com and they were extremely helpful.
Again, this post is in no way comprehensive and you should definitely do your own research to go into these topics in more depth. That being said, I’d like to share a few of the mechanics and logistical aspects that came up for our family.
Everyone will talk to you about a good latch because it’s so important — for feeding but also for your comfort (bad latches can cause extreme pain and even bleeding to your nipples). Though when babies are brand new their heads are so little and your breasts are so big it can be really hard to get that nice deep latch.
Also, your nipples have a say. Mine, for example, were pretty flat, so I used a latch assist to help pull them out before latching my little one until he got the hang of it.
Watching videos of good latches can definitely help you get a sense of what baby should look like on your breast, but as helpful as videos can be there is really nothing like hands on help when it comes to teaching you how to help your little one latch properly.
In the last post I described in more detail how important a good teacher was in helping us getting him to latch. So I say get help! And keep at it.
One Day / Hour / Feeding / Minute At A Time.
SUPPLY & DEMAND
The whole supply and demand aspect of breastfeeding was something I had heard about but didn’t really fully grasp until I was in the thick of things.
Basically: the more you nurse, the more you produce; the less you nurse, the less you produce.
Ideally you nurse on demand (whenever—and I mean whenever—your baby gives you signs of hunger / hunger cues) because then your baby tells your body what it needs and you produce what your baby needs.
Unfortunately, it’s not always so simple. It often takes a little time for you and baby to get the supply and demand dance just right.
And once again, we’re all different, so while the steps might be generally the same, how we learn and execute those steps will look and feel different from pair to pair.
Sometimes time isn’t enough or the dance doesn’t quite figure itself out. If you’re having supply issues, try to find an LC you trust and see if they have suggestions for helping you meet your goals.
What does this all of this mean practically?
Well during the first few days when our baby wasn’t getting enough and it seemed like my milk hadn’t come in or that I wasn’t producing much, the lactation consultant at our medical facility gave me a pretty intense feeding and pumping schedule.
I had to nurse on each side for twenty minutes and then pump for another twenty (?) minutes (I can’t remember how long anymore). Usually after all of that was done, it was almost time to nurse all over again. All the nursing and pumping (demand) was meant to jumpstart my body into producing enough milk (supply).
Now, if you’re like me, when your milk finally does come in, it will COME IN. There will be more milk than anyone needs and you will have to figure out how to adjust your supply while still emptying your breast regularly enough to relieve engorgement and avoid mastitis (and you really want to try to avoid mastitis!)
So, when I was engorged (often after that first week) and my breasts were full and hard, I needed to nurse, or pump, or hand express to relieve my breasts, but not nurse, pump, or express too much more than baby needed to eat and/or much more beyond relieving my breasts. If I nursed, pumped, or expressed too much I could have signaled to my body that baby needed more milk than he actually needed — creating a vicious cycle of engorgement that could lead to plugged ducts and mastitis. In other words, I slowly wanted to decrease demand to decrease supply while still dealing with the engorgement.
In addition, because I was so full I would often have a “let down” from both breasts at the same time and I would leak out of the breast that baby wasn’t latched onto.
I found these two items super helpful for “catching” that extra milk and building my freezer stash of breastmilk:
Watch this Haakaa breast pump video tutorial to see how it works. (start at 1:18)
Now if you do get mastitis (like having the flu but you’re also nursing and caring for a newborn, so awful all around), you unfortunately have to continue nursing around the clock while you get better, or by the law of supply and demand, your milk supply could drop if you aren’t feeding or pumping regularly enough.
Understanding some of these mechanics helped me persevere when I had to pump to help my milk come in. Because I understood the WHY, I was able to accept all the pumping as a necessary evil and keep it up until I was able to stop. Understanding all of this also helped me stay on top of any engorgement and plugged ducts in order to avoid any further complucations.
Supply & Demand: When Well Meaning Advice Goes Awry
You will get a lot of well meaning advice from people who don’t really understand the mechanics of breastfeeding.
Unfortunately some of that advice can really disrupt or sabotage your supply and demand dance.
Getting a real handle on supply and demand yourself will help you explain or just disregard advice that might not best serve you.
Below are just a few examples of things I’ve heard myself or that other breastfeeding mamas shared with me that they heard from others:
Well meaning advice: “You're going to spoil that baby.”
You cannot spoil a baby. Full Stop.
Meeting an infant's basic needs for survival based on that infant's cues will not spoil your baby.
A toddler on the other hand? Now that's a different story (I'm deep in those don't spoil the toddler trenches at the moment and I’be got no advice on that front!)... but I digress...
Well Meaning Advice: “You just fed that baby.”
Many nursing babies will in fact eat nonstop for a few hours in the evenings. It’s called cluster feeding. It’s a real thing. And you are not imaging it. Your baby is in fact eating non-stop for hours at a time. Yes, you just fed the baby, but if you want to keep up with the amount baby needs, then yes you may just need to feed baby again.
Well Meaning Advice: “If you feed that baby whenever it wants, you’ll never get baby on a schedule.”
From what I understand (and I could be wrong on this one, so LCs reading this please feel free to correct me in the comments!), it’s often easier to schedule feedings for formula fed babies. Nursing babies operate on the laws of supply and demand and not on the laws of the clock or measured ounces—especially in those early days. If you can hold off on the schedule until your supply and demand dance is in a good place, that will probably serve your breastfeeding relationship better than worrying about a rigid schedule from day one. That being said the clock can help you make sure you aren’t waiting too long to feed baby, but in general following baby’s hunger cues is the best way to eventually get in sync.
Well Meaning Advice: “You probably just can’t make enough milk; I don’t think all that pumping is going to help.”
In general, the more you pump (demand), the more you’ll make (supply). So pumping can be a helpful tool in increasing supply.
Well Meaning Advice: “Let me give the baby a bottle at night, so you can skip that feeding and sleep a little longer.”
The more feeds you skip, the less milk your body will make, the less food you will have for baby, the less weight baby will gain, the more you might need to supplement, the less likely you will hit the right supply/demand mark, and on and on. Once breastfeeding is well established replacing an occasional feeding with a bottle is usually ok, but regularly skipping feedings can really disrupt or sabotage your supply and demand dance in the early days.
Also if someone is just expressing their desire to feed baby, try to replace “feeding baby” with a more helpful task they can regularly take on: burp baby, change baby, bathe baby, etc. There are a lot of things other people can do with baby to help out, but in the early days of establishing breastfeeding you really are the one who needs to be feeding baby.
Well Meaning Advice: “Don’t you think you should put on a shirt and/or put some clothes on that baby.”
Skin to skin can really help as you’re establishing breastfeeding. Also, air drying is one of the best ways to help your nipples avoid chafing and blistering. So yeah, baby and I were topless often those first two or three weeks — another reason to limit visitors (see Part 2 of the series for more on visitors).
Well meaning advice: “Put that baby down.”
I heard this one a lot from my well-meaning Mama and even my pediatrician. And a part of me thought they had a point. But now that all my toddler wants to do is jump out of my arms and be independent, I wish I had worried less and enjoyed those constant cuddles from the early days more.
One thing that helped me embrace my instinct to keep baby close and offer a lot of skin to skin (yes, more half-naked time), was learning that humans are “carry mammals” (kangaroo), as opposed to “cache mammals” (deer), “follow mammals” (cow), or “nest mammals” (cats).
Our young are among the most immature at birth and, especially in the early days, need constant touch and carrying. You’re not imagining this need; it’s biological.
Of course it’s also overwhelming and it’s not wrong to put the baby down—we were BIG fans of the rock & play for naps—but don’t feel badly if you hold onto baby longer than those around you suggest, especially if the holding allows you to read and respond to baby’s feeding cues.
Read more about the relationship between carry mammals and human breastfeeding here: “Why Babies Need to Be Carried and Held (Carry Mammals).”
TAKE CARE OF THE GIRLS
There is a lot of new stuff going on with your breasts and nipples and they need your help!
I was lucky because one friend warned me: “If anyone tells you it’s not uncomfortable at first, then they're full of sh*t.”
Think about it. When a sensitive part of your body is licked and sucked and exposed constantly for probably the first time ever, it’s going to be uncomfortable. Another friend admitted that it was also uncomfortable for her second, even though she had breastfed before.
That being said, you shouldn’t generally experience unbearable pain, and lacerations are a sign of trouble / very bad latch. I never got blisters or bleeding nipples, but that does happen to some people — again if that happens, get help right away. Baby might have a tongue tie or you might need help getting a proper latch.
I repeat: If your discomfort is severe or your nipples are bleeding or blistering, get thee to a Lactation Consultant ASAP. Get the help you need and deserve, Mama. No shame in getting the support you need.
No matter what, your nipples will likely be uncomfortable in a burning chaffing sort of way until they get used to it. So now you know that that’s normal and knowing is, as they say, half the battle.
I used this nipple butter and it helped A LOT. I especially liked that because of the ingredients I didn’t need to wipe the nipple butter off before feeding. Take care of your nipples — lather them up in nipple butter and/or your own milk, let them air dry as often as possible (hence the being topless most of the time), use breast pads and/or breast shells to keep your clothes off them and help prevent chafing.
Dipping my nipples into a warm bath of epsom salt helped me as well. Doing so also made for funny pictures of me hovering my breasts over bowls of epsom salt baths #speakingfromexperience
As I mentioned earlier, once your milk comes in, you might get engorged. Engorgement can lead to plugged ducts which can lead to mastitis and you DO NOT WANT mastitis.
Avoid mastitis at all costs.
Stay on top of relieving your engorgement through nursing, pumping, and/or hand expressing during a hot shower (the warm water can help you massage out plugged ducts).
I got a plugged duct or two or more (milk gets stuck in your milk ducts and causes a localized pain on that part of the breast). They sucked, but were fairly easy to treat and treat I did right away to avoid mastitis.
I don’t remember all the treatment details, but The Nursing Mother’s Companion or Kellymom.com will have everything you need. I know I did warm compresses, massage and hand expression in the hot shower and of course nursing and pumping to get the ducts cleared.
I never got mastitis and was very grateful because I’ve heard it’s awful and I was already struggling at the beginning, so I don’t know if I could have handled another problem.
One of my friends got mastitis and that definitely affected her nursing relationship — she was already having trouble with supply, and getting so deathly ill understandably killed her resolve, so she ended up transitioning her baby to donor breastmilk and then formula after a few months of nursing.
Another friend got mastitis but continued to nurse (still going at age 2), but I suspect she had a better support system and better information about nursing. She also never struggled with supply, and since she was able to keep up the number of feedings through her illness, she didn’t lose her supply.
That is all to say take good care of the girls and do all you can to avoid mastitis.
Read more here: "Plugged Ducts & Mastitis."
Take Care of Yourself: Padsicle Recipe
Speaking of taking care of the girls… you also want to take care of yourself and your healing lady parts.
To that end, I highly recommend making PADSICLES BEFORE labor (click on the link for a detailed recipe). Do this—trust me.
Whether you have a vaginal delivery or a c-section, you will bleed quite a bit postpartum and your most delicate parts will need a lot of TLC.
I filled my freezer with these pads and was good to go when I got home from the hospital. Padsicles made postpartum healing more comfortable which is important when you need to focus on learning your newborn.
I used tena pads for my padsicles and then just wore Depends incontinence underwear as my regular “underwear” for two weeks—ain't nobody got time for staining my nice panties.
While this is not directly related to breastfeeding, having your self-care ready to go will give you one less thing to think about when your brain is already a bit foggy.
Pumping: Tools of the Trade
Our medical office LC set us up with a medical grade pump rental for the first month postpartum to help kickstart my supply, and then I switched to the pump I received free from insurance (thanks Obama!) and that has worked fine for me.
For milk storage and bottle feeding we have used the Kiinde storage and feeding system with the low flow nipple (once we knew kiddo would drink from it, we bought two additional low flow nipples).
I really recommend the Kiinde system because it allows you to pump directly into storage bags and then attach those storage bags to a nipple, so you never have to transfer from bottle to bag back to bottle. No transferring means less milk wasted and less chances of any contamination. It also means no washing bottles. ??????
The system also has several adapters, so their bags should work with most pumps and even different nipples if your kiddo doesn’t take to the Kiinde ones. Watch the video on their amazon page to learn more.
I also bought this hand pump because I was going to be away from kiddo long enough that I would need to relieve my full breasts, but wouldn’t be anywhere that was convenient for full on pumping. This little pump got the job done. I’ve taken it with me on long flights as well in case there are delays and I need to pump a little during the flight.
Pumping & Traveling
There are whole posts written just on this topic. I found this article especially thorough and informative: “Your Ultimate Guide to Pumping While Traveling”
I’ve had to travel, pump at the airport, store milk in a hotel mini fridge (a real mini-fridge with freezer box), and fly back home with breastmilk. It’s all a pain, but also completely manageable.
As with all things pumping and breastfeeding, read up on logistics, make a plan, and then be prepared to be flexible.
When I’ve gone to my board meetings, I’ve requested mini-fridges with little freezer compartments for my room. I would pump between meetings, freeze my milk, then fly back home with it (though after reading “Your Ultimate Guide to Pumping While Traveling,” I would now probably skip the freezing piece and just store milk in the refrigerator and freeze once I got back home.)
For flying with breastmilk, I bought this cooler bag. It has room for my milk plus big ziplock bags full of ice as well as other supplies like cleaning wipes.
Side note: here’s an ice hack I read online somewhere: fill ziplock bags with ice from the hotel. Dump the ice in the bathroom before going through airport security. Then after security ask someone at a coffee shop or restaurant to fill your zip lock bag with ice.
I preferred doing all of that over worrying about TSA giving me a hard time about freezer packs (though if frozen I believe they’re technically allowed).
Below is an excerpt from the TSA guidelines on flying with children and breastmilk. I always carried a copy with me and highlighted this section in case I ever had any trouble. I never had any problems though they did do extra testing once. I’ve flown with breastmilk about 3-4 times.
TSA Guidelines (excerpt): “Formula, breast milk, juice in quantities greater than 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters are allowed in carry-on baggage and do not need to fit within a quart-sized bag. Remove these items from your carry-on bag to be screened separately from the rest of your belongings. You do not need to travel with your child to bring breast milk.”
If you have a long flight, you’ll probably want to pump before getting on the plane. Be sure to travel wearing a pumping tank top to make pumping on the go easier. It might also be worth bringing your hand pump in your carry on in case you need to pump on the plane to avoid engorgement.
Unfortunately, pumping in the airport can be hit or miss.
The best airports have nursing/pumping pods. They are clean, have a place to sit, a table for your pumping materials, and an outlet. Some airports have dedicated nursing rooms which are usually comparable and sometimes even nicer than the pods.
Some airports have neither and then you’re stuck pumping in a family bathroom which is gross and not really set up for pumping (no table/flat surface/convenient outlet etc). I did a lot of balancing my pump and other materials on the sink and top of my suitcase. And inevitably someone will need the family bathroom and you’ll have to shout “sorry this might take a while; I’m pumping.” And then you might get a dirty look when you come out of there without a family. Pumping in family bathrooms sucks. But once again it’s sometimes a necessary evil.
INTRODUCE A BOTTLE, BUT USE PACED BOTTLE FEEDING
We introduced a bottle at around 4 weeks.
I didn’t realize how key introducing the bottle was until I found out some of my friends' kids never took to the bottle, so they had to be with kiddo ALL THE TIME.
I knew I had a board meeting in San Francisco when he was 4 months old, so I wanted to make sure he was covered. I’m so glad we did that. So so glad.
Once you have a good breastfeeding relationship (supply and demand is in a good rhythm), it’s usually easiest to let someone else introduce the bottle while Mama goes for a much needed cup of coffee / drink / walk / etc. If baby knows Mama's around they’ll usually want leche from the tap.
Watch the videos below on paced bottle feeding.
In some ways Paced Bottle Feeding may seem counter intuitive. It certainly is not the way babies are “usually” bottle fed. What Paced Bottle Feeding does is make baby “work for it” as they do on the breast, so this approach helps support breastfeeding.
Yes, baby will swallow air, but that’s why you will burp baby afterward.
My husband and little one did great with paced bottle feeding and we haven’t had any trouble leaving him alone with Daddy for a few days or with his grandparents or a sitter for a few hours because he’s open to drinking from a bottle if I’m not there to feed him.
And he has never once preferred the bottle if Mama is around to give him leche directly, so our breastfeeding relationship was not negatively affected by introducing the bottle.
Paced Bottle Feeding Videos & Info:
THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT
Download an app to track your your nursing sessions (which side, how long, what time) and the baby’s wet diapers, poops, and sleep patterns.
This information is very very important in the beginning, but there’s no way you’re gonna remember it unless you write it down.
Your lactation consultant(s) will ask about all of this and you’ll want to have fairly accurate answers so they can get a good picture of how breastfeeding is coming along and to make sure baby is eating enough.
I used the app “Eat Sleep: Simple Baby Tracking” and it was sufficient, but there are ton of options out there, so poke around and find one you like.
You will not have to do this forever, but at the beginning it’s essential.
DRESS FOR SUCCESS
Where I live has been super nursing friendly, so I didn’t regularly use a nursing cover (I did occasionally use an “infinity scarf” style nursing cover -- this isn't the exact one I used, but it's the basic idea).
Instead of nursing covers, I opted for buying several nursing tops that gave me easy access and good coverage.
As babies grow, they often become more resistant to nursing covers, so nursing tops can be a real lifesaver especially if you need to nurse in less nursing-friendly environments. I’ve had friends mention they didn’t even realize I was nursing until they were up close.
Most recently I bought a fancy nursing dress to wear to my brother’s wedding:
Yup, this dress from Figure 8 Maternity is made for nursing!
I’ve ordered and loved my nursing gear (tops, dresses, pjs) from the following shops — check them out!
GET YOUR NETFLIX QUEUE READY
The *only* way to survive feeding — or even worse pumping— every 2-3 hours is to watch crap that makes you happy while nursing/pumping. At least that was the only way I survived.
In the middle of the night I especially appreciated hour long TV series: 20 minutes on one side, called hubby for a diaper change and swaddle, 20 mins on the other side, burp, and the episode’s done and I was looking forward to watching the next episode in an hour or two when I was up again for the next feeding.
We watched SO MUCH NETFLIX that first month.
I ain’t even mad about it.
HAVE A DRINK!
Seriously. The science says alcohol doesn’t affect your milk unless you’re rip-roaring drunk.
Of course, you have to do what makes you comfortable.
But if you’d like that glass of wine, feel free to indulge without any of that guilt.
A relaxed Mama is a Mama that makes everyone happy.
Read more about alcohol and breastfeeding here: "This Holiday Season There’s No Reason to Pump and Dump"
MATERNITY LEAVE & GOING BACK TO WORK
I’ve stayed home with kiddo for the last two years, so I don’t have any first hand experience with this.
I will say be in touch with HR early and often.
Find out the maximum you’re entitled to, and plan on using it.
Also sort out what constitutes paid or unpaid leave. Unfortunately in too many places family leave policies and procedures are not streamlined, so it will be up to you, and for some of you your partner, to get all your ducks in a row before baby arrives.
As for returning to work, I would say build your stash and your support network, find your experts, and use the good information that’s out there to make a plan that will help you meet your family’s breastfeeding goals.
From what I’ve heard, it can be difficult to juggle work and breastfeeding, but I also have friends who’ve done it, so I know it can be done.
Do what works for you and your family.
And remember that in the US, the deck is stacked against most mothers when it comes to leave policies, postpartum support, and pumping support at work. Keep those odds in mind especially if things don’t work out quite as you had hoped or expected. You’re doing great and don’t let anyone tell you differently.
¡Si se puede!
My first two weeks postpartum were a rollercoaster. I was in love and elated. I was exhausted. I felt helpless. I felt like a failure. I felt incredibly loved. I had no idea what I was doing. I did not know if I could keep it up. I cried and cried and cried. And laughed and laughed and laughed.
In the first two weeks of his life our son was jaundiced, wasn’t latching deeply enough, wasn’t eating enough to gain enough weight. He had to be treated with blue lights at home and had to be supplemented using a syringe and then SNS.
It was hectic, but we made it through because we had a lot of help, an expert and good teacher on our team, and because we took it day by day, netflix episode by netflix episode until we made it over the hump and breastfeeding had become a part of our lives, no longer some mountain to conquer.
I hope this peek inside our story has given you some insights and some concrete suggestions that can help you wherever you are or hope to be on your own breastfeeding adventures.
I wish you a growth mindset (read more about growth mindset here), a rockstar support team, and joy & success (however YOU define joy & success) on your breastfeeding and motherhood journey!
GOOD READS / PODCAST / SERIES
I’ve jammed packed this section with some of the resources I found helpful when I was first started, have been inspired by since, or just love (those two picture books are among my faves ever!). Don't forget to also check out the "Good Reads" sections in Part 1 and Part 2!
ORDER THIS RIGHT NOW! You’ll want The Nursing Mother’s Companion by your nightstand to help you troubleshoot those first few days and beyond. Reading parts of it beforehand will also give you some good info — but if you don’t get around to that at least you’ll have it once you need it.
I highly recommend this book to all mothers who want to nurse because it includes quick troubleshooting guides. Instead of having to search through a whole book when I was having trouble, I was able to look up my specific problem and quickly read through the straightforward troubleshooting guide that gave me specific actionable steps that I could implement immediately.
Articles in this Post:
Picture Books About Nursing
These are two of my favorite board books about nursing and in general.
Podcast Episode: This episode on breastfeeding is equal parts informative and irreverent (especially when they discuss avoiding mastitis).
While you’re at it, subscribe to Katie’s Crib and listen to all of Season One!
It’s a great podcast for new and expectant mothers, and it’s produced by my brilliant friend Akua Murphy. If you haven’t listened to it yet, check it out today. Thank you Akua! And thank you Shondaland.com!
HBO Documentary Series (5 Parts):
Full disclosure: I’m not really a tennis fan. But I’m a huge fan of Serena Williams.
But this DocuSeries is about so much more than tennis.
It’s about those timeless discussions around mothering and working and pursuing your pre-baby passions.
And, to my great surprise and delight, it’s about breastfeeding. I don’t want to ruin anything for you, but let’s just say I was over the moon at how honestly Serena portrayed various aspects of being a breastfeeding mama.
Thank you Serena Williams, for using your platform to bring these discussions to the forefront of our cultural consciousness as opposed to keeping them in the shadows where they have often stayed.
Side Note: I’ve always known about Serena Williams being an amazing tennis player, but her significance to American culture (the good, bad, and the racist) didn’t fully sink in until I read Claudia Rainkine’s Citizen: An American Lyric (have you read Citizen yet? No? Then put that on your *must do* list right now).
Beyond Breastfeeding: Introducing Solids
Introducing solids is a whole post in and of itself, but I just wanted to share two books I really liked for that transition:
We ended up skipping purées all together and taking a baby-led weaning approach (at around six months we introduced appropriate solids—usually from our own plates—based on his age and development). We couldn’t be happier with our adventurous eater. He has tried more types of cuisine in his two years than I probably did in my first two decades of life!
Baby-led weaning isn’t for everyone (it can be especially tricky to coordinate with childcare), so the second book is great because it does include some flavorful purées as well as great recipes that adapt well to family meals.
Before You Go:
Thank you so much for reading this series on breastfeeding! Before you go, don’t forget to Read:
Fed is Best, but Breast is Freaking Awesome, so if Your Goal is EBF, Don’t Give Up Too Soon!
Honor Your Cuarentena and Build Your Support Network
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Li Yun Alvarado
Puerto Rican Poet & Scholar:
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