Jenn: First Generation Breastfeeder

Jenn: First Generation Breastfeeder

New mom and first generation breastfeeder Jen didn't grow up with breastfeeding moms, instead she was raised making formula bottles for her littler sisters. When Jen found out she was pregnant, she made the decision to breastfeed mostly because it will save her money (although she does did understand the health benefits for both her and her daughter). She will be returning to work a month after baby arrives and her husband will be taking charge in caring for their daughter.

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I Did It: Now It's Time To Pay It Forward

Eight months ago if you had asked me if I thought I’d still be breastfeeding today I would have said “I hope so, but I doubt it.” Eight months ago I said I would try to breastfeed, that my goal was to make it through maternity leave. I didn’t expect to last much longer. Eight months ago I thought formula was a fine substitute for breast milk and had no problem using it if I didn’t pump enough. I thought I’d never want to nurse in public, and that I’d wean my daughter by the time she got teeth.



Now here I am. My daughter will be eight months old in a less than a week, and I never imagined things would be going this well. I haven’t touched an ounce of formula since my she was born and don’t plan to. Even though there are times I have 60-hour work weeks, and sometimes wasn’t in the office the entire day, I still managed to pump every work day, and miraculously still have at least half of the freezer stash I started with left over. My breast pump broke and I was so grateful I had that on reserve, and quickly built my supply back up once my new pump arrived.

I don’t have any problem nursing in public even though at her age now she is more interested in things around us than eating, so I feel more comfortable with some sort of cover.

She has two teeth but luckily she hasn’t bitten me with her pearly whites but once (and hopefully that’s it). Instead of planning to wean her, I’m dreading stopping. I’m more than half way to my year goal and for the first time I’m thinking I don’t have a problem extending breastfeeding. I don’t plan to keep pumping after a year but the bond we get through breastfeeding when I get home is irreplaceable.

I’m not sure I can say things would have been as successful as they’ve been had I not been blogging here for Bravado’s Breastfeeding Diaries. You know how they say when you make a goal you should share it? Well sharing my goal with all of you really made me think about breastfeeding more, and the more I thought about it, the more I fell in love.

Reading the diaries of the other Bravado bloggers made me realize I’m not alone. I laughed and cried with them, and sent and received virtual hugs through my computer to theirs. This has made me realize how important breastfeeding support is.

Over the months I’ve used fenugreek, lots of water, eaten tons of oatmeal, and power pumped. But my biggest help to keep me going was support. Support from my husband who would bring her to me in the middle of the night. Support from my friends who have been there and done that. Support from the women I met at Le Leche League, and online support, where people like you have left words of encouragement for me, and good advice.

As I graduate on from the Breastfeeding Diaries I want to offer the same support to other women who are starting where I was eight months ago. Women who may not be sure if they even want to breastfeed, or for how long. I want to tell her it can be done, and cheer her on. Because I truly believe if I can do it, you can too.

I’ll be continuing my breastfeeding journey from eight months and beyond on my personal blog at http://babymakingmachine.blogspot.com/. Feel free to follow along to see how it’s going. And if you’re ever in a breastfeeding rough patch, need a pep talk or someone to vent to, know I’m all ears and here for you. Because now it’s time to pay it forward.

9:00am on Monday April 4
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I Love Breastfeeding

I have grown to love breastfeeding more than I ever imagined I would. I was the girl who thought I'd give it a try, at least through maternity leave, but determined not to stress out about continuing. A first generation breastfeeder who "turned out fine" without mothers milk. But I've fallen in love with nursing my daughter.

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9:00am on Tuesday March 29
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Absence Makes the Pumper Grow Fonder: Losing My Breast Pump Made Me Love It All Over Again

You know how they say absence makes the heart grow fonder? I think the same rings true for breast pumps. I never realized how much I appreciated pumping until that option was taken away from me.

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12:00pm on Tuesday March 15
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Boosting Breastfeeding in the Black Community

I haven’t bought a single can of formula since my daughter was born, and I haven’t touched the can that was sent to me before she arrived. I know formula companies target new moms, and moms who sign up for things like special offers at maternity stores. But I also wonder if they target minorities. Statistic show breastfeeding rates among black women lag behind all other ethnic groups.

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12:00pm on Tuesday March 8
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Old Me vs New Me: Trying to Keep Up the Good Work

As I drove home from work this week I thought about my goals in life. My dream job, and where I hope to be several years from now.

Growing up I always wanted to work my way up the news ladder, and one day report for CNN. I had studied and worked towards that my entire life, and that wasn't going to change once I had a baby.

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12:00pm on Tuesday March 1
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Six Months Down — Now What?

I've made it! I flew past my goal to breastfeed for six months and I still haven't needed to supplement with formula. I'm actually beginning to think I won't have to. I've got the pumping rotation down pat, and with my daughter starting solids, it's given me a little wiggle room, so I'm never short milk, and actually am now freezing about three ounces more every week than I'm taking out in my rotation.

So now what? I've achieved my goal, so naturally I should set a new one right? I guess I'll go ahead and jump another six months. My new goal is to breastfeed a year.

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12:00pm on Tuesday February 22
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15 comments


Finding Time For Romance

I'd be lying if I didn't say breastfeeding affected the romance level in my home. I'm just being honest, ladies. It happens. But I suppose just having a child changes the dynamic of a couple's relationship.

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9:48am on Tuesday February 15
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Baby's First Meal

Motherhood is funny. Just when you think you have a plan set, your child throws you for a loop and it all changes.

I was so paranoid about breastfeeding and pumping enough milk for my daughter while I'm away at work. I was counting down until the day where I could add food to her diet and breathe a sigh of relief that I'm her sole provider of nutrition, especially with my not-so-small obsession with maintaining a stash.

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12:00pm on Tuesday February 8
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Breastfeeders (Not So) Anonymous

I looked both ways before crossing the street to a small house on the corner of the street. My daughter was bundled up in my arms.There were several cars parked on the side of the house, but it was so quiet and discreet-looking. If there wasn't a sign posted on the door saying "La Leche League meets here" I may have questioned if I was in the right place. Before I opened the door I chuckled to myself, thinking of my husband's joking comment before I left: "Have fun at your Breastfeeders Anonymous meeting."

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12:00pm on Tuesday February 1
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Shy No More

You know how some people just don't have a verbal filter? They'll say what they're thinking without stopping to ask themselves if they should verbalize that thought. That's happening to me regarding pumping, breastfeeding and everything in between.

For some reason breastfeeding seems like a sort of taboo subject. It was to me before having my daughter, and somewhat still shortly after. Now it's just a common every day thing I do. I don't think about, and often I forget it's not that way for everyone.

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12:00pm on Tuesday January 25
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New Year Breastfeeding Goals

I've surpassed so many of my breastfeeding goals. I wasn't sure if I'd even be able to breastfeed, much less without supplementing with formula for as long as I have. I'm happy to say that I've made it six months and still haven't even depleted my frozen stash. It hasn't been easy but I've done it!

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12:00pm on Tuesday January 18
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Overcoming Personal Breastfeeding Doubts

I may be a first generation breastfeeder but I sure have a lot of support for someone who didn't watch women breastfeed as I grew up. As I try to think of objections I've had to overcome from friends and family I can't point to any. I guess I'm very blessed in this regard.

Looking back, in the beginning I was overly sensitive about looks from my mother, suggestions to supplement, and inquiries about nursing on demand. Of course my feelings were warranted. I had never done this before and was learning on the job.

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3:08pm on Tuesday January 11
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Finding Breastfeeding Support Online

I don't remember the first time I saw a woman breastfeeding. I believe it wasn't really until sometime in my adult life. Having grown up in a family where formula was what babies ate, I didn't think there was much of a difference between that and breastfeeding.

Now here I am: my daughter is almost six months old and I've surpassed numerous breastfeeding goals of mine and I'm still going. This couldn't have been possible without support from my friends.

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1:51pm on Tuesday January 4
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Milk Hoarder

My name is Jennifer and I'm a milk hoarder. There. I said it.

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1:46pm on Tuesday December 28
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Breastfeeding Road Bumps

All of a sudden I've been overwhelmed with the feeling of not wanting to be touched.

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3:19pm on Tuesday December 21
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In Need of Real Life Breastfeeding Support

When I was younger I asked my mom if I could go to a dance with some friends.

"No," she told me, probably with some sort of explanation I can't recall.

"But all of them are going!"

And you can probably guess her response to that...

"If all of your friends were jumping off a bridge, would you jump too?"

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1:00pm on Tuesday December 14
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9 comments


First Bite

My goal was to breastfeed through maternity leave. I surpassed that mark, and my new goal was to breastfeed until my daughter hit four months and I'd start her on solids – or that mushy stuff they call solids at least. For her first meal, I was planning to grind up oats and mix in breast milk, and feed it to her once every few days. On her four month birthday, instead of taking her first bite of baby food, she took a bite out of her current food source – ME.

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11:45am on Tuesday December 7
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Nursing in Public Near My Husband

It's funny how I'm never really afraid to nurse in public, unless I'm with my husband. I've nursed my daughter in public dozens of times, but when we're with her daddy, things change a little.

It's sad in some ways, because I should feel most comfortable when he's around, but the truth of the matter is, when he's around, I feel less confident and more self-conscious.

We talked a little about me nursing our daughter in public before she was born, and several times since. Every time we pretty much come to the same conclusion: I'll feed her when she's hungry, wherever we are, but I'll cover up.

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11:45am on Tuesday November 30
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16 comments


My Maximum Boob Capacity

Have you ever felt like your boobs may just explode? They're so full and hard a rock that with the slightest touch, or wrong move and you're in pain? Well, that's a feeling I've become all too familiar with this week. That's what happens when I don't have a chance to pump at work.

I knew this day would come, but I'm surprised it didn't come sooner. But I'm even more surprised that my boobs didn't combust after 10 hours of breaking news, covering a triple homicide.

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1:13pm on Tuesday November 23
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The Pride and Pains of Breastfeeding

I love breastfeeding. I really do. But I can't help but sometimes feel like it's a blessing and a curse at the same time.

I love looking at my daughter, her big plump cheeks, her thunder thighs, and her multiple rolls and smile -- knowing I did all of that. But at the same time every day I have a huge weight on my shoulders, feeling like her livelihood is dependent on my diligence.

Of course part of this is very true. I am her mother, I provide and care for her, I feed her and I'm raising her along with my husband. I am responsible for her. But the pressure when I'm away from her at work, dealing with other duties, but still setting aside time to pump for her is getting overwhelming.

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3:34pm on Tuesday November 16
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Nursing Around My Family

Before having my daughter I worried I'd be too nervous to breastfeed her in public. I imagined that I'd pump, prepare bottles and feed them to her when she needed to eat in public. After I actually had the experience of pumping a bottle, then feeding it to her myself later, I got over my fear of nursing her in public. I do usually feel more comfortable covering up while nursing, but I don't mind just latching her on wherever we are.

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11:14am on Tuesday November 9
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The Hamster Wheel of Pumping

I love breastfeeding. I really do. But I can't help but sometimes feel like it's a blessing and a curse at the same time.

I love looking at my daughter, her big plump cheeks, her thunder thighs, and her multiple rolls and smile -- knowing I did all of that. But at the same time every day I have a huge weight on my shoulders, feeling like her livelihood is dependent on my diligence.

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4:40pm on Tuesday November 2
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Pumpin' Ain't Easy

My first week back at work was a success. I pumped enough every day for the next day, and on my last work day of the week I froze what I pumped. This week, however, has been an entirely different story.

This week, I have only pumped enough for the following day once, and that's because I hadn't fed my baby all day, and I wasn't able to express much from the manual pump I brought with me on an out-of-state day trip.

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2:58pm on Wednesday October 27
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First Time Pumping at Work

220.5 ounces was the grand total of frozen milk I was able to store before returning to work. Plus 10 fresh ounces for my first day back. The day I've been dreading since the moment she was born.

I woke up extra early so I'd have time to pump before leaving. And since I had been used to sleeping in until 9 most of my maternity leave, this wasn't the easiest adjustment.

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12:00pm on Tuesday October 19
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From Snacks to Meals

Right now my daughter eats whenever she wants. And normally that's ALL. DAY. LONG.

When I visited with my family, her eating habits — or rather, my nursing habits—brought on some strange looks and comments.
At first formula was suggested because she'd "be full longer" but I know that formula doesn't digest as fast, which is why some babies may not eat as often. I also know part of the reason for suggesting formula was so they could help feed her, which is one reason I brought my breast pump along.

Then, my sister commented on how quick I am to feed her when she's upset. I didn't think it was a big deal, especially since it always calms my baby down. But after our pediatrician asked if she's eating every three hours or so it made me question how often she really eats.

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9:27am on Wednesday October 13
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The Pumping What-Ifs

Jenn's Milk StashI'd always been a very career-driven woman. Excited about a new job, a promotion, a job well done. But since having my daughter the things I care about are shifting from my career to my family.

Unfortunately this doesn't change the fact that we need to eat. And while my daughter may be able to survive solely off my milk for the next year, the rest of us need food, and shelter among other things. So in order to pay the bills, I need to get back to work.

The date that I'm set to return to work is sneaking up quickly — much too quickly. I am anxious not only about leaving my daughter for long periods of time, but being able to continue to provide enough breastmilk for her while I'm gone.
I'm a television journalist, so I'm not going back to a job where I'm hanging around an office and can just step out for a few moments and pump on a set schedule.

I'm often on the go and running all around the city racing a deadline. While I love the rush I get from the job, going back to it as a new mother brings on a whole new set of worries. There is no set time I can count on being in the building and I don't know exactly when I'll be out and about. I don't know where I'll be and when I'll be back at the end of the day, and unless I tote my pump around with me to every location, I won't always have a chance to pump multiple times at work. That's why I've been pumping and storing milk for a while.

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9:15am on Tuesday October 5
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5 comments


The Third Night: My Breastfeeding Hurdle

Night #2 wasn't as bad as I expected, so I guess night #3, also our first night home from the hospital, was extra hard to make up for it. My milk still hadn't come in and I had one fussy baby.

People warn you to enjoy your sleep before you have your baby. Of course there's no way to stock up and save it for later, but you get what they're trying to say. Often they'll inform you that a new little baby wakes up every couple of hours crying, and ready to be fed. If it was like that, it would have been much easier than my first night at home.

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12:00pm on Tuesday September 28
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Breastfeeding First Impressions

I had just met my daughter. As she was born, my doctor placed her immediately on my chest and I kissed and rubbed her slimy body against mine. I remember hearing skin-to-skin is good for establishing breastfeeding, but I wasn't thinking about advice, rules, or techniques in that moment, I was just in a happy place with my new baby girl.

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12:00pm on Tuesday September 21
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Last Minute Jitters

As excited as I am to breastfeed there are some worries I have too.

For one, everyone who has breastfeed has told me how painful it is at first. Most say it's usually painful for a couple of weeks but after that it gets better. They also warn me if it doesn't, to make sure I get help from a lactation consultant. Luckily my insurance covers lactation consultants, so even after we leave the hospital I can hire one to help us, and not have to worry about being unable to afford it.

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10:11am on Tuesday September 14
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My Breastfeeding Goodies

Believe it or not I'm excited to breastfeed and part of the reason is that I'm set with the gear! I already have a bunch of goodies to get me going and off to a good start.

I won a nice dual electric breast pump in a contest early this year and wanted to take it out and play with it the moment I got it. Luckily someone warned me that could cause put me into premature labor so I opted to watch the instructional DVD instead.

It was fascinating – the how-tos, the tips, learning how pumping allows dads to be involved in the feeding process and just learning more of the benefits of breastfeeding.

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4:01pm on Tuesday September 7
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A New Generation of Breastfeeders

I didn't grow up around breastfeeding moms. In fact, I grew up making formula bottles for my little sisters. That was routine in my home. And while I probably knew breastfeeding was an option, I knew formula was just as good of an option for us.

My mom decided not to breastfeed me after she became worried that her breasts would smother me, and turned to formula after that.

Formula didn't do any obvious harm to my siblings or me. We weren't any more sick than other kids we knew. We love our mom and still have good strong relationships with her, even though she didn't share some of the same attachment parenting philosophies that some breastfeeding moms do.

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11:33am on Tuesday August 3
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