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118. Finding Joy In Breastfeeding: One Of The Biggest Mistakes I Made On My Nursing Journey

Sometimes I get questions like this: I’m having to supplement mostly with formula so should I should just stop latching? Is it bad to latch her when she’s just looking for comfort? Am I creating bad habits by nursing to sleep? If I’m not hearing swallows, should I stop the feeding? Let me explain why breastfeeding is NOT just about calories. 

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Read the full transcript here: 

Welcome to the Breezy Babies podcast, where we talk about all things boobs, babies and breastfeeding. This is episode 118 finding Joy in Breastfeeding. I'm breath the IBCLC and I made Breezy Babies with you in mind to help ease your transition into parenthood. Becoming a parent changes your life in every way imaginable. Bumps in the road are going to come up as you move into your new role, but my goal is to help smooth out those bumps and help you become the most confident parent you can be. With good education and support, I know you can meet your breastfeeding and parenting goals. Let's do this together. Hey, welcome back for another week, another episode. This time you get just me, just brie talking to you today about some common things that I've seen come up lately, and also some struggles that I dealt with in my own breastfeeding journey and how I can help you avoid some of those pitfalls. Sometimes that is what I do in my job, like, hey, I made this mistake in my journey and this is how you can avoid it. Because sometimes that can be helpful. Not that you won't make mistakes and that you won't hit your own road bumps that maybe I didn't hit at all, but sometimes it's nice when you can just avoid certain ones altogether. So I'm calling this one Finding Joy in Breastfeeding. And I'm also calling it one of the biggest mistakes I made on my breastfeeding journey. So the basics of what I want to talk to you about today is that breastfeeding is not just about calories. It is also for comfort and being close. This is something that I did not understand at all with my first baby, I thought that if she wanted to eat before the clock struck hour three, she was taking advantage of not eating correctly and using me as a pacifier and was never going to sleep through the night. And all these crazy thoughts, these were very real to me. So now, a few kids and eleven years later, I've learned that it's not exactly the case that breastfeeding is not just about calories and there even are amazing benefits to you as well. So I'm going to talk to you about that today. But before we dive into that, if you haven't already heard, I am teaching a poop workshop coming up. Yes, we are talking about poop. I say we because myself and my good friend Allegra are going to be teaching a workshop. Allegra is also an IBC LC, just like me, but where she has expertise that I do not is in nutrition. And I also like to teach in this workshop a little bit of baby massage. So we both bring something that's kind of cool, kind of special to the table to really pack the most information that we can into this workshop. We schedule an hour. It usually goes a little bit longer because we leave time for Q and A, and we don't leave until all your questions are answered. So when is it going to be? It's going to be October 4. It is $33. But the cool thing is that you get lifetime access. If you can't be there live, that's okay. You can go back and rewatch it anytime you want. And since you are in my crew here and listening to my podcast, I want to offer you an exclusive discount. If you click the link in the Show Notes to check out this workshop, you can use discount code Poop ten to get 10% off, and that takes the price down to under $30. It takes it down to just $29, which is a great deal to have access to two experts. And you learn about what's normal, what's not normal with your baby's bowel movements as you learn about tension that could be hiding out in your baby's body as you learn about gut health, which is so important. And I also, of course, will teach you how you can help your baby with things like baby massage. Some participants who came to this workshop last year we haven't done this live workshop since last year. They left a review and said this I had been struggling for weeks and apprentices that said months question mark. Trying to figure out my gasp three month old. Having a clear and concise workshop run by professionals in the field was super helpful. I was able to understand the issue of baby gas so much better, and I was able to walk away knowing so much more than when I came in. I highly recommend to anyone else struggling with baby gas. Okay? Another review said, I did the massages after the workshop and he had immediate gas release. I feel like we have another tool to help us get baby feeling better that doesn't involve drops and suppositories and all the things we really don't want to do. That by itself makes us feel so much better and more confident in our journey moving forward. This last review said it has been great because I know how to soothe my baby with a massage when his stomach seems upset. I also feel confident about the probiotic I'm giving him because of the nutritional background allegra has so good, right? I seriously love teaching live workshops. I love recording this podcast as well. But the nice thing about a live workshop is I can see your face if you want to be on video. And you also can type out your questions that you have. It's just so much more interactive. So I hope to see there again. You can click the Show Notes or if you go to my Instagram, you can click the link to the landing page for that. But just know that the discount code is only available for those on my email list are those who listen to this podcast. All right, let's talk about finding joy and breastfeeding. Just this morning before I recorded this podcast episode, I was doing some exercise at home. I normally don't like to exercise at home. It's just not my favorite. I would much rather go on a walk or be outside in some way or I love going to the gym, but it was raining today. My husband is at work this entire week as he is transferring to a new job. And so my only option was to exercise at home. So my baby was playing. I was exercising right next to her, and she picked up this toy and it kind of flipped over and closed on her finger. And as it closed, it kind of hinged, like the little latch kind of closed, so it was stuck on her finger. I went over right away, but it was kind of tricky for me to get off since this little latch had closed. I got it off and I could tell she was okay. I gave her some kisses and hugs and tried to put her back to play, but she was just really upset. She was not happy that this had happened. She had a little indent on her finger. It was nothing serious, but I could just tell that she was having a really hard time regulating and calming down. So I thought, okay, I'm just going to offer her the boop. I knew that she wasn't really hungry. In fact, she didn't even really feed, really. All she did was just latch on for a minute or two and then she was good. She went back to playing and no problem. So that is what I like to call a boob superpower. Does your baby have an ouchy finger? Boop. Trouble falling asleep? Boop. Sick and not feeling well? Boop. That is all an option. And this is exactly what I mean when I say that coming to the breast is not just about transferring calories. It's not like, okay, baby, you hit the amount that you need to take in. See you later. You're done. No. Babies want to smell you and to be near you and hear your heart beating. Remember that your baby was once inside your belly for up to nine months. That's a long time. And your chest is like, home. Okay, I want to read this really cool study that was done. It's called psychological effects of breastfeeding on children and mothers. I'll link this in the show notes if you want to read it. But basically I'm going to read just like the end part where it talks about what they found in this study. So let me read this to you. I use this for big words, so just listen and see what you can pull out of this. So this is what it says in children, breastfeeding has been associated with improved cognitive performance and socioeffective responding. Improved cognitive performance in children is likely linked to the fatty acids contained in breast milk and their potential beneficial effects on brain development during infancy, especially concerning the growth of white matter trucks. Myelination heightened socioeffective responding seen in breastfed children is possibly connected to the stimulation of the Oxytocin system. And Oxytocin is known role in promoting positive affect and approach behaviors while reducing stress and avoidance behaviors in mothers. Breastfeeding significantly reduces physiological and subjective stress, facilitates positive affect, and improves maternal sensitivity and care. Again, the Oxytocin system likely plays an important role in explaining the effects on maternal psychology and behavior. Okay, I know that had a lot of big words, but hopefully you were able to pull some helpful parts out of that. I'm going to talk more about Oxytocin in my top three tips. So hopefully you are at least able to hear a little bit about Oxytocin in that study that was done. So pump the brakes on that and I'll come back to Oxytocin. But before I jump into my top three tips have you ever heard someone say that if you just don't know what is wrong with your baby, they're just crying, they're upset, you're having a hard time comforting them, then you can do two things put them in water or take them outside. Have you ever heard that before? I remember hearing that and I found that really useful with my baby as a newborn. So obviously when I say put them in water, do it safely, right? You can't just put your baby in water and walk away and leave. There were some days where I would take my baby in the shower with me and just sit on the chair in my shower and just hold her on my chest and just relax and feel the warm water and that works really great. Taking your baby in the bath can be really helpful and also just going on walks, getting outside, getting some fresh air. So I hope you find that helpful in your journey as well. But let's jump into the top three tips now about finding joy in breastfeeding and how you can avoid one of the biggest mistakes that I made on my breastfeeding journey. So tip number one that I want to share with you is take all the pictures. Take pictures of you nursing your baby, maybe even pictures of you pumping or using your hawka or a manual pump. You breastfeed so regularly, all day, every day that it kind of seemingly becomes a mundane task. But I promise you, you will miss those baby rolls and chunky thighs and sweet flange lips and yummy smelling head and all those cute swallows and gulping noises. I have little to no pictures of me nursing my first two girls. I guess I just thought it would be weird to take pictures of me doing that. Maybe it would show my side boob too much or my mommy tummy or just seem weird. But let me just tell you, I have one video of my third, my one and only boy breastfeeding. And at the time that I took the video, I did it because I was training to be an IBC LC. I think I just wanted to record the difference between a breath and a swallow and show a good latch. Maybe I was doing both. I can't really remember. But I do remember finding that video years after weaning him, and it melted my heart. I missed breastfeeding him so badly in that moment as I heard his little socks and swallows, saw his sweet little lips all flashed out. And even though I had been so ready to wean right at one year of age, I was sad that I didn't have more. And at that time, I didn't know that I was going to have another baby. I didn't know if I would ever have another baby. And I so wish that I had more pictures, more videos. I missed all those sweet baby noises while he was breastfeeding so much. Now, as you know, I did end up getting my special fourth baby after a six year gap. And you better believe that I take all the pictures and all the videos. I even have one client and friend. She's also my friend that had professional pictures taken when her oldest was ready to wean. And they are so classy and so well done and just honestly dropped dead. Beautiful. So last time we went to get family pictures, I asked the photographer to take some pictures of me breastfeeding. And by her response, I'm pretty sure that may have been the first time she was ever asked because she did seem a little surprised, but she was willing to do it. So we were downtown, downtown Salt Lake City for our pictures, and I just had this visual of me breastfeeding with the city close behind me. And she did it even though she seemed a little like, okay, all right, sure, we can do that. We can do that. I love those pictures. In fact, I think I'll link one in the show notes for this podcast. So there you have it. Tip number one is to take all the pictures. Let's move to tip number two, and that is focus on your baby when you nurse. Smell that sweet little head, kiss those fat little fingers. And just like I read in that state, this is a benefit to you as well. Because when you are calm and connected, you release oxytocin, which is the love hormone that helps you to relax, and it helps you to release your milk, which is also known as a letdown, so that your milk can come out of your breast and go to your baby. But remember, that love hormone, it not only helps with the feeding process, but it just helps you as well. It helps you to feel relaxed and close and bonded. So the tip of focusing on your baby when you nurse, I personally find that tip so helpful when I nurse in public because, believe it or not, yes, I'm a lactation consultant. But sometimes I feel a little nervous that people are staring and judging or whatever, which I'm pretty sure people have done that multiple times. But I have just found that with this baby, I don't want to nurse under a big cover or a blanket that my baby is always ripping off, especially when it's hot outside. So I personally have learned how to hold her and position her and latch her in a way that doesn't totally show my breasts to everyone. But I also am not covered up with a blanket or a cover. Now, you don't have to do that. That's just what I am comfortable with. So I just want to offer that to you as an option as well. There's not, oh, you only go nursing the car in the bathroom, or you let it all hang out and show your whole breast in public. There is an in between area where you can cover up as little or as much as you want to, so you can land anywhere on the spectrum that you feel most comfortable with. But I just want to offer that you can nurse in public, and it is so much easier when you just focus on your baby. You don't focus on the people around you. Just look at your baby, smell her sweet little head, kiss her little fingers, and it just makes it so much easier to nurse your baby when she's hungry without stressing that you need to get someplace first or cover up or fight with the cover. No, you just do what you feel most comfortable with. All right, tip number three is take the pressure off, find the positive, and just remember that it's not all or nothing. So let me explain a little bit about what I mean about that. I get questions like this all the time. Oh, I'm having to supplement mostly with formula. So should I just stop latching altogether, or is it bad to latch her when she's just looking for comfort? Am I creating bad habits by nursing to sleep? If I'm not hearing swallow, should I stop the feeding? I hear these questions all the time, and I feel like parents are made to just feel so nervous about latching their baby for comfort. We just get this idea that, oh, when your baby is at the breast, she has to be efficient and she has to be feeding. And if she's using you as a pacifier, then that is so bad. But here's the thing. Babies come to the breast for comfort also. They come for bonding, for being close to you, not only for taking milk in. Again, your boobs have superpower abilities. Don't be afraid to use them. Don't feel guilt and shame for using your breath to comfort your baby. It is fine. Again, I was so nervous about this with my first baby, and I did not let these thoughts affect me at all. With my fourth baby, anytime that she needed comfort or closeness or wasn't feeling well or wanted to be near me all night, I let her. I would let her latch for long periods of time. And sometimes even with her, I would have these thoughts creep in like, oh my gosh, she's been sleeping next to me for three months. She will never sleep on her own. She is going to be in my bed forever. Guess what? She transferred to her own bed. In fact, she's napping right now. She does great. She sleeps all night. I know that she's now eleven months old, but she did that not long after she transferred to her own bed. So don't feel like you're creating bad habits. You can offer your breast as little or as much as you want. It's not all or nothing. And there's always a gray area where you can fall. Somewhere on the spectrum you can land where you feel most confident and comfortable. So again, let me review those top three tips for you for finding joy in breastfeeding. Tip number one is take all the pictures and videos. Tip number two is focus on your baby when you nurse. And tip number three is take the pressure off. Find the positive. It's not all or nothing. Thank you so much for listening in to this podcast episode today. I had so much fun hanging out with you. I hope you listen back in next week for a new podcast episode. Every Tuesday, a podcast episode drops and I would so appreciate it if you could leave me a podcast review, especially if you listen on Apple podcast. That's a great way to just send a small thank you my way. And I can't wait to be back with you next week. Of course I'm going to leave you with you are strong, you are smart, you are beautiful, you are a good friend to all. Have a good week.

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