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My name is Jill. I live with my hubby and kiddos in the Midwest. We have 5 boys, all 18-24 months apart, so our house is loud and active. I am a former NICU nurse who became a lactation consultant (IBCLC) in 2013. I really like educating and encouraging parents and I didn’t have enough time for that in the NICU. Years later, that is still my favorite part of the job.
For over ten years I have been helping new parents inside and outside of the hospital. I have also been creating curriculum and educating parents, nurses, and other health care providers (nutritionists, physicians). I love helping people reach their breastfeeding goals and I want you to receive good information from everyone you encounter!
When we had our first baby, I was still working in the NICU. I said I was going to “try” to breastfeed him because that’s what I thought you said. I had a lot of nipple pain our first two weeks. Sometimes I cried when he started showing feeding cues because I knew it would hurt to latch him. (FYI It’s not supposed to be that way!) My beautiful sisters in law sat with me and encouraged me which was really helpful, but no one taught me to latch him deeper. After a little perseverance and a lot of luck, I nursed him for 12 months. I thought you just stopped breastfeeding babies when they turned one so we went on a trip without him and that was the end of that!
Baby #2 was so much easier!
With my second son, we had switched pediatricians and I found out he had a tongue tie. (All our kids do to varying degrees.) Breastfeeding wasn’t nearly as painful because I had a handle on latching deeply but we did have his tongue clipped around 2 weeks because the mild discomfort wasn’t going away. Breastfeed him was fun and easy. This whole stage of motherhood was fun and easy. I was working part time and adventuring with the boys part time. They were both great nappers and night time sleepers and happy kids. Baby #2 weaned himself sometime between 1 and 2. I was pregnant with our third baby at the time and I have a feeling my supply had dipped low enough that he wasn’t too motivated to nurse and I didn’t offer much.
The transition to baby #3
Our third baby, another boy, was a whole different ball game! We called him a tree frog. He completely changed my mentality on “teaching babies to sleep” because he preferred to only sleep in my arms. And be awake in my arms. Just always be in my arms. As you can imagine, this made it quite difficult to clean, do laundry, or make a meal. I was only working one day a week at this point and it was a huge adjustment in my motherhood. I find most people have a hard transition. Often it’s when baby 2 comes or when baby 3 come but there are other variations. What we learn is that we haven’t let go of some things from our single life. Things we think we still need to do, need to be, need to have, or need to have our lives or house look like.
In my case, with baby #3, I needed to get more efficient with household things and waste less time on my phone. Oh, how the time slips away when your nursing baby falls asleep and you hold them as you get lost in the internet! Some of the difficulty of this phase is also just the circumstance. I had a 4 year old, 2 year old, and a baby. None of them could help much and my toddler was learning how to exert his newfound independence with mess making and nap refusal. Moms with all littles don’t know the rest of their motherhood won’t look like this. Even if they continue to have babies the bigger kids will get older and more helpful. So much of the difficulty in this stage is lacking perspective.
I was sleep deprived and I thought I was really bad at this motherhood thing.
Adding faith into my motherhood
That is when I went through a program at our church called Christ Renews His Parish. I heard God speak to me. I would read the Gospels like a story book on the floor while I played Magna-Tiles with my kids. I started to learn more about who Jesus is and began to have a relationship with him. That changed everything.
I learned about what Jesus might be calling me to and not calling me to and that was motivating. I learned how much he loved my kids and that I didn’t need to worry about their every safety. Then, I was able to let go of the anxiety I had been carrying.
God put loads of people into our lives that helped to form us. We had three more boys after our first three. I nursed the last three until they weaned themselves around 18 months. I was still nursing our youngest, when one day he choked on an almond butter sandwich while I was working upstairs and he was with a babysitter. I performed CPR on him and two days later he was declared brain dead. The story is long, detailed, heartbreaking and beautiful and perhaps I’ll share it some other time. We saw how God had been preparing us.
Although the hardest thing we’ve been through thus far, God draws close to the brokenhearted and this was no exception. He showed us many miracles and he increased our faith.
I am stilling working as an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) at a large, urban hospital. I’ve been thinking about it for a long time, but finally decided to put breastfeeding information and motivation for parents on this blog at BreezyBreastfeeding.com. Why Breezy Breastfeeding? Well, because I think your breastfeeding and your motherhood should be joyful.
I hope you enjoy it and find it helpful. I hope it lifts your spirits and encourages you.