I’m so happy to say that this little cutie pie and I are finally in a groove with our breastfeeding journey. As I’ve mentioned before, even as a third-time mama, I’ve learned so much with nursing each of my three babes. This time proved to be no different than the last two times. Each of my babes and I had different struggles and wins with breastfeeding. There’s also a lot of new information about breastfeeding that I’ve learned in the last few months.
From Pumping to Nursing
When I used to work at my office, I read plenty of articles on Google and Pinterest about how to transition from nursing to pumping. My last two breastfeeding journeys required me to transition from nursing to pumping after my maternity leave. While I’m grateful for the tips and tricks I learned along the way, this time around turned out to be the complete opposite scenario for me.
B was diagnosed with mild jaundice just after we came home from the hospital. It wasn’t severe like I had previously experienced with my middle babe. Nevertheless, we proactively chose to supplement with formula during the first week. This helped flush out his jaundice and I went back to nursing him as soon as he got cleared by his pediatrician. Unfortunately, our nursing journey started out painfully, mostly on my end. I don’t have a definitive diagnosis, aside from my mama instinct. But, I think it was mostly due to feeding from ready made bottles coupled with his shallow, weak latch. After experiencing the persistent painful latch which led to long lasting clogged ducts and scars, I decided to pump exclusively.
Tips for Pumping to Nursing
Exclusively pumping was definitely something I had to get used to after being a nursing mama to my two older babies. But, once I found my groove, I learned to appreciate all of the positives of pumping. I was able to start building a freezer stash pretty early on. I was also able to get ahead in bottles/feeds, so I “night weaned” from pumping way earlier than I did the last two times. My husband loved being able to have the feeding sessions with the baby. And even the big brothers loved being able to feed their baby.
The only parts I disliked about pumping was the extra tasks of washing bottles and having to carry my pump with me if I had to go out (with or without) the babe. It seemed sort of redundant for me to have to do “extra” work by pumping when I could just feed him directly. While I was originally planning on pumping exclusively for the entire year or so, I decided on a whim to try nursing again. For whatever stroke of luck, B and I are now nursing pretty regularly. Here are a few things I learned on how to transition from pumping to nursing:
- Ease into it: I tried nursing him for one feed randomly. It was painful, but not as painful as his newborn days. I did notice that he still wasn’t draining my breast entirely. So I went back to bottle feeding for a week or two. Then I tried to nurse him again and each time it got better and better. I didn’t put any pressure on myself and over time something just clicked.
- Wait until after the fourth trimester: I’m glad that I waited until B was closer to 3 months to try nursing him again. As he grew, his latch got better. I didn’t have to force it and aside from the first few times of getting readjusted to nursing, it’s been a pretty smooth ride.
- Don’t freak out if your supply changes: When we started nursing again, I noticed that I was producing less. I flipped out for a hot second before I realized that my supply was just adjusting to his natural appetite. It’s evened out now and on days where I feel like he needs more, I give him an extra bottle after nursing him.
- Ask for help: Between keeping up my pumping schedule and trying to substitute nursing sessions, I was a hot mess. Without my mom or husband, I don’t know how I could’ve kept up with the feedings and trying to naturally find our groove. As with all things motherhood, I’m so glad I had their help and support throughout my transition from pumping to nursing.
- Enjoy the positives of both: Now that I have the best of both worlds, I do what works for us each day. I love that I can take a break from work to nurse him. But, I also love that someone else can give him a bottle. I love that I can hold off on pumping or nursing because I have the two options.
- Don’t choose one or the other: Related to my last tip, the biggest lesson that I’ve learned from pumping to nursing is that neither is mutually exclusive. You don’t have to just pump nor do you have to breastfeed all the time. Whatever you choose to do on any given day of the week is OKAY! If there are days that I need to be away from B, he gets bottles from my freezer stash. Some days, even if I am home, he’ll get a bottle because I don’t have time to nurse him. Due to my “nightweaning” early, my morning session is split between the two. I nurse B at wake up on one side and pump the other. He usually has that bottle sometime throughout the day.
I’m so happy to be on the other side of our initial issues and struggles with breastfeeding. I’m even happier that we’ve been able to enjoy this journey with so much flexibility on both ends. This third time around is teaching me more than I could’ve anticipated being a third time mama.
I take a daily probiotic as part of my daily health routine, so I’m not sure why I was so surprised to learn about all of the amazing benefits of probiotics for my baby. A couple of weeks ago, we received a monthly trial of Evivo, the first and only probiotic that is clinically proven to restore a baby’s gut microbiome to its original, natural state.
I had no idea that my breast milk contains special carbohydrates for my baby that only Evivo (activated B. infantis) can fully break down and use. Unfortunately, most babies born today do not receive this key beneficial bacteria. Some things I learned about B. infantis are:
- The presence of B. infantis, the good bacteria, reduces the potentially harmful bacteria linked to eczema, allergies, diabetes and obesity. It’s disappeared over generations and babies in the U.S. no longer receive B. infantis at birth due to the unintended consequences of modern medical practices like C-sections, antibiotics, and formula feeding. Evivo is the only probiotic that’s clinically proven to restore baby’s gut to the way nature intended.
- If good gut bacteria are thriving before a baby is weaned from breast milk, they’re more likely to develop a healthy metabolism and immune system later in life. That’s why the first six months of life are critical.
Because of this new knowledge, I make sure that my littlest babe continues to get his Evivo probiotic mixed with my breast milk daily. Especially since I wasn’t able to give it to his two older brothers during their infant months.
How to Transition from Pumping to Nursing