I breastfed for 13 months and I couldn’t be more proud of myself! It was something that I decided I wanted to do even before pregnancy. Fed is best, of course, but I knew I wanted the bond and endless benefits that come from nursing.
Keep reading to see how I was able to breastfeed my baby for over a year!
Obviously, the first thing that comes to mind when prioritizing breastfeeding is all the amazing benefits for mama and baby. Here are some of those benefits from the CDC website (click for reference):
How I breastfed my baby for over a year:
I Kept Telling Myself I Could Quit
I told myself I could quit – tomorrow. I just had to make it one more day! It’s simple, but it got me through the first really tough weeks.
I built a freezer stash for my own sanity.
I began pumping almost immediately after my milk came in. I used this pump and these bags to store my milk! I would lay the bags down flat in my freezer at first, that way they would defrost faster.
Pumping and storing milk allowed my husband to give her a bottle and it gave me a little freedom to get out of the house, or you know, take a shower.
Not everyone has an easy time pumping, and I definitely didn’t once Baby M started solids. But, I didn’t have a problem with doing it. I would sit down for 20 minutes either during naptime or after my baby went to bed and just scroll on my phone and pump.
Realistically, I would’ve been sitting on the couch on my phone anyways, so it never felt like a big deal.
I Rewarded Myself
One thing I don’t miss about breastfeeding is the sheer amount of calories I would have to consume to make enough milk and to feel satiated.
I would treat myself to my favorite high protein, high carb meals all the time!
I also purchased a few new sweaters and tops that were nursing friendly.
I Followed other Breastfeeding Moms on Social Media
I followed @g1avasis, @marissathemilkmom, and @milkymamallc for inspiration! I didn’t know a lot of moms who nursed past a few months, so seeing other moms online really helped motivate me to keep going.
I supplemented when necessary.
There was a point where I didn’t have hours to sit pumping the amount I needed to satisfy my baby. She was only getting one bottle a day, but once we started solids my supply had slowed down.
It seemed like a huge decision at the time, but we started supplementing with formula. My husband was able to give her a bottle and I wasn’t attached to the pump every spare moment.
Let me tell you, I have never felt so free!
We used Enfamil liquid before switching to the powder for our baby. My heart goes out to families that exclusively bottle feed – that stuff is expensive.
We weaned when we were ready.
We weaned around 13 months. My baby was nursing for a minute or two when she woke up. She would pinch and poke me towards the end and it was becoming a very uncomfortable and frankly annoying experience.
One day, we just stopped. There was no “last time” or tears. It felt like a mutual decision between my baby and I.
I am so grateful for the bond we share and memories we made nursing. I’m proud of myself for sticking with it and finding a way to make it work.
It’s been a relief to have my body back.
No, not in that way. My body will never come “back” because it never left. It has definitely changed and shows the wear of a pregnancy and birth and sleepless nights.
What I mean is it’s a relief to have my body back. I no longer have to monitor what I put in my body and worry about it affecting my baby. I’m not in pain if I haven’t fed or pumped in a few hours.
I had an instinctive moment of hesitation while drinking an extra large espresso drink, before remembering that the caffeine wasn’t going to affect anyone but me!
My plan for next time.
I have big pumping plans for baby #2! Next time, I plan on prioritizing pumping in the beginning so I can build a bigger stash for when we decide we’re done nursing. We are going to get a deep freezer so that the frozen milk lasts longer.
I also plan on trying to breastfeed longer. There are so many benefits of “extended” nursing and it was just so convenient and easy!
What’s your experience with breastfeeding?
Is it normalized where you live?
Let me know below!
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