You might hear about it and read about the benefits of breastfeeding. Your doctor might even tell you that it’s what’s best, but nobody really supports you or fully educated you on the benefits of breastfeeding your baby. There’s not a lot of resources nor support out there for teen and young mothers who want to breastfeed.
How many teen and young moms even breastfeed?
I honestly believe that the reason why breastfeeding rates are lower among teen and young mothers is because of the lack of support and education on breastfeeding.
Oh how I wish that I had taken a class or consulted a lactation specialist with my first baby. I was so clueless when it came to breastfeeding. I was utterly lost. I had no idea how any of it was supposed to work. I didn’t even want to breastfeed to be honest. I had heard that it hurts, and that it makes your boobs saggy. NO THANK YOU. However, my mom was insistent. She had breastfeed all four of her children. My mother explained to me that not only would it be a lot cheaper to breastfeed than formula feed, but that it would create a very special bond between me and my daughter.
I was so hesitant at first, yet I gave it a go.
I want to share with you my breastfeeding experience first time around along with some helpful tips.
I gave birth to my first child, Neveah, in April of 2012. I was only 18 at the time. At the hospital I had to supplement with formula because Neveah was hungry about every two hours, and my milk hadn’t fully came in yet. For those of you who may not know your milk takes anywhere from a couple of days to a week to fully come in. Early in your pregnancy your body produces what’s known as “Colostrum”, this is your “early breast milk.” Colostrum is what your baby will first get when you first begin breastfeeding, and as you breastfeed more often in the days that follow it will turn into actual breast milk. Pretty cool the way our bodies prepare huh? 🙂
My milk came in about 4 days after I gave birth. WOW. I won’t lie to you guys. It hurt. My breasts were so engorged. When your breasts become engorged it’s best to nurse your baby frequently, and remember to give them equal time on each breast. If even after nursing your still feeling full then pump some milk out.
Once my milk came in I got the hang of it. I had to use a Nipple Shield the first two weeks, and after that I learned how to latch my baby onto my breast without using the nipple shield. It didn’t hurt, but my nipples were extremely dry. I learned about Lansinoh HPA Lanolin for Breastfeeding Mothers through the nurse that was at the hospital attending me after the birth of my daughter. I wrote about this in my “Ten things they don’t tell you about postpartum” post because I wish somebody had told me that cream existed. It’s the greatest thing ever for sore, dry, or cracked nipples.
If it hurts its most likely because you’re not latching your baby on correctly. Breastfeeding should never have to hurt. Through Google search I found KellyMom.com as well as tons of YouTube videos on how to pump and properly latch my baby to my breast. Google search and YouTube any questions you may have. I would even recommend to take a class during your pregnancy if you’re contemplating breastfeeding.
WIC has a lot of support for mothers who choose to breastfeed. They have lactation consultants available and they also give out free manual breast pumps. I prefer to use an electric pump at home, but I do take my manual pump when I travel.
I know electric breast pumps are expensive. If you’re worried about how you will be able to breastfeed while having to go to school or work just know that most hospitals will “rent out” electric pumps. So call around your local hospitals and ask!
AND this is the most important issue for me when it comes to breastfeeding and your rights. It’s important to know the laws in your state.
If your worried about having to work and breastfeed.
California Labor Code § 1030-1033.
2002: Chapter 3.8, Section 1030, Part 3 of Division 2 of the Labor Code
1030. Every employer, including the state and any political subdivision, shall provide a reasonable amount of break time to accommodate an employee desiring to express breast milk for the employee’s infant child. The break time shall, if possible, run concurrently with any break time already provided to the employee. Break time for an employee that does not run concurrently with the rest time authorized for the employee by the applicable wage order of the Industrial Welfare Commission shall be unpaid.
To read more you can click here.
This is California’s laws on breastfeeding. If your unsure about the laws in your state you can click here for an overview of the breastfeeding laws in all 50 states.
With my first I always felt so uncomfortable when it came to having to nurse in public. I would even go as far as hiding in the restroom because my daughter hated being covered up. I didn’t know my right to breastfeed in public, and it was also awkward being around people my age and having to pull out my breast to nurse.
As I have aged I have learned not to care what people think, and I have become so much more comfortable in my role as a mother.
Whether or not you choose to breastfeed in public is completely up to you.
I do have a nursing cover, and I used one a lot with my daughter as well as with my son. As soon as my son started growing bigger he would hate being covered up (he always tried to yank the cover off). That’s when I started freely breastfeeding in public.
The right to nurse in public
California Civil Code § 43-53.
1997 Section 43.3 of the Civil Code
43.3. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a mother may breastfeed her child in any location, public or private, except the private home or residence of another, where the mother and the child are otherwise authorized to be present.
As I previously stated, I never nursed my daughter in public because she was my first child, and I didn’t know I could without being shamed.
I wasn’t educated on breastfeeding. I’ll admit that if it wasn’t for my mom insisting I probably wouldn’t have tried it.
Take it from one young mom to another because I know it’s easy to blow off other people, but breast really is best…
Breastfeeding benefits. Facts provided from the World Health Organization.
Breastfeeding benefits in babies
Breast milk contains antibodies that help protect against infections
Lowers the risk of SIDS diabetes, obesity, ear infections, and allergies
Babies who have been breastfeed have been linked to higher IQ scores
Breastfeeding benefits in moms
Lower risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer
The baby weight is a lot easier to lose when you breastfeed (I kid you not!)
You develop a special closeness and bond with your baby
Now I understand sometimes there’s medical reasons why a mother cannot breastfeed, and that’s okay. I won’t look down upon other mothers who choose to formula feed because of that, but if you’re perfectly healthy and have been given the go why not give breastfeeding a try?
I know sometimes milk supply isn’t enough. That’s why it’s important to eat a well-balanced diet and drink lots of water. You have to also remember to stay away from eating foods that could make your baby colicky. It’s okay if at first you have to supplement with formula. I had to supplement my daughter with formula until my body was finally making enough milk.
The only time breastfeeding really hurt for me was when my babies started teething. With my daughter it wasn’t so bad because she got her first tooth at 10 months. My son on the other hand got his first tooth at 4 months old, and that’s when he started biting me.
“Keep in mind that it’s physically impossible for baby to nurse and bite at the same time, because the tongue covers the bottom teeth/gum when baby is nursing.” Kelly Mom.
If your baby bites during a nursing session take them off the breast and offer them a cold wash cloth, teething ring or a momsicle (breast milk popsicle).
I breastfeed Neveah exclusively for 12 months and after that we continued onto extended breastfeeding until she was 18 months. I had to stop rather abruptly because that’s when I found out I was expecting Nolan.
I have also exclusively breastfeed Nolan, who is now one year old. I am still breastfeeding him (mostly at nights), but I hope to have him weened by 18 months. Once I begin the weaning I will have blog posts up about the process. 🙂
I hope this post was insightful. If you still have any questions, worries, or concerns please do not hesitant to email me!
I highly recommend heading over to KellyMom.com because that’s always my online source go to for any and all questions I have related to breastfeeding.
Hey Beautiful! Thank you for reading!
Disclaimer: I am not a lactation specialist. I am simply sharing my story and my experience along with some tips that I have found to be helpful. Please keep in mind that what works for me may not work for you, and that’s okay. You do what you find works best for you and your baby.