S1E12 Aimee’s Story | New Little Life Breastfeeding Podcast
In this week’s episode, I am joined by Aimee, a money confidence coach and mom of three. Each of her experiences were very different, including breastfeeding as a very young mom, returning to work and low milk supply, a child with a birth defect, exclusive pumping, a breastfeeding child who wouldn’t take a bottle, and so many other things.
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Hey everyone. It’s Allison here with New Little Life. I’m an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), a nurse, a doula, and a mom of three little boys. Here on the New Little Life podcast, we’ll talk with real moms about their breastfeeding experience– the good parts and the bad– and share real and practical advice about breastfeeding. Connect with and learn from other moms and professionals to help you meet your breastfeeding goals. Welcome back. And I’m really glad that you decided to be here with us today. Before we get started, I just wanted to say a quick thank you to all of our patrons over on Patrion for making this podcast possible. If you’re able to support even a little bit to help keep this podcast going, that link is in the description for you. Today’s interview is with Aimee. She’s a mom of three and a money confidence coach. She manages her company at aimeecerka.com where she helps families master their money and create confidence in their ability to solve the money problem. I chatted with her a little bit after her interview, and she has a really unique and very practical way of approaching financial freedom. If that’s something you’re interested in, you can definitely connect with her. Today though she’s going to share with us her three breastfeeding experiences, which were all wildly different. She’s experienced breastfeeding as a very young mom, returning to work and low milk supply, a child with a birth defect, exclusive pumping, a breastfeeding child who wouldn’t take a bottle, and so many other things. She shares with us a lot of the emotions and logistics involved with these scenarios. And I loved learning from her. I hope you enjoy our chat as much as I did. So here’s Aimee. Hi, Aimee. Welcome to the New Little Life podcast. I’m so happy that you’re here with us today.
I am so excited to be here. Alison. Thank you. Yay.
Okay. So can you start by telling me just a little bit about yourself? I’d love to know about your family, what you do for work, your kiddos since that’s kind of what we’ll be talking about today. Anything like that?
Definitely. So I’m married to my best friend. He is a trucker, so he’s gone two to three weeks at a time. So I’m really running the household, but he’s still my best friend. And we have three kiddos. So my oldest just turned nine this past week and then I’ve got a four year old, who’s anxiously awaiting his birthday now, and a two and a half year old, a little girl. So the four year olds, a boy and the girl. So for my profession, I’m a money confidence coach, so I help families to master their money.
Okay. You got to tell me just a little bit more about that, because that sounds really, really interesting.
I know everyone’s always like, what is that? I’m like, “Well, I created the term, so you probably haven’t heard of it before.”
Do you run your own business?
I do. So I didn’t start out that way. I have background in personal finance. I was in the insurance industry for a while and through a lot of our own personal experiences, stuff that had happened. I know we’ll talk a little bit about my middle son and the experiences with him. We had already done some work to improve, but being able to do the things that we were because of the decisions we had made, it truly became a passion. I dived all in. I can talk numbers and finance all day. But really what it looks like is helping people– when you truly master your money, there’s three different aspects and you have to get a good grasp on all three. So there’s your defense, which is saving money. Offense, which is making money either like at a side business, at your job with a nine to five, all of those different areas. You really should have multiple streams of income. And then the last one is the battlefield. And that is kind of like our mindset, the rules of the game, economics-type thing. The stuff that nobody really thinks about, doesn’t attribute to it. But even things that we were told as children growing up, it becomes programming for us. And we have to be able to use that to truly move forward and address a lot of the misconceptions out there that we just need to make more income to actually be set when somebody is making that more income and saying the exact same thing. So I help you to master all three areas so that you can build wealth and create those opportunities for yourself and your family. Most of the time is with your with your priorities, most time it is with your family. And then creating that financial security because life’s going to throw curve balls at us and it’s just being prepared for when that happens.
Oh, wow. That’s cool. I always love it when I hear about moms, especially like you, where you’re kind of running the house, your husband’s away a little bit and you’re still killing it with your business and helping other people too. I love it. So very cool. I would love to put some of your links down in the show notes. So send those over to me so that our listeners can find you, especially after our chat today. Cause I already know that they’re really going to love you, so perfect. Okay. Well, let’s dive into some of your breastfeeding story. Can you tell me going clear back before your first nine years ago? Yeah. Why did you decide to breastfeed? Did you grow up around breastfeeding? Was that always the goal? Let’s start there.
That was always the goal. Now my oldest before he was born, I was very young. I was really a teen mom. He was born a couple days before my 19th birthday. But growing up, I was breastfed, my brother was breastfed. Wasn’t like that was the only option. It was like, that’s what I’m going to do is just like what I need to do, what I wanted to do. I always grew up wanting to envision a way to be that mom and to be that present mom. Cause I did have that role model growing up. So it was definitely a priority for me.
Did you take any classes to prepare you know, watching YouTube, blogs, is there a class at your hospital? Anything like that?
I took a class at the hospital, but it was a generic, like baby generic prep, a childbirth class. So I think it was like one session that they mentioned breastfeeding, but nothing specific to that. No.
Yeah. So how did it go for you? Tell us about the first one.
So when he was born, he was born via C-section. And they had taken him back and they said his blood sugar levels were destabilized. So there was a delay. He wasn’t able to latch right away. By the time that we’d gotten to that point, essentially he was kind of being a little lazy because they had given him the bottle. So then we were told to start using the nipple shield and all this stuff that kind of complicated everything and we kind of made it work. It was never great. I didn’t ever have problems with the milk supply, but it worked for a little bit until I went back to work and I know now– I did not realize then– because I had gotten one of the Medela… What are they called? The black ones that like is the pump and the bag. It’s not like they were,
I think it’s probably the Pump in Style. It’s a square pump. Let’s see if it was nine years ago. That was like the most common pump about nine. So probably just the Pump in Style. It’s kind of an old pump. Yeah.
Yeah. So that was what I had and I was using it. My employer was good about letting me go pump. I did have a nine to five. I was working in insurance. So I would go like in the back room and use my lunch breaks and stuff. But I was not responding to that pump and I didn’t learn until my second, really, that it was actually the pump. I guess me and the way that I responded to the pump, I only respond to the hospital grade pumps. So I lost my supply because it was not the suction that I needed. So I don’t remember the exact date, but I think by six months, he was completely on formula because it just wasn’t really working anymore. He was more interested in the bottle than he was in nursing when he was at home and then I wasn’t producing enough to supplement when he was at daycare and I was at work. Yeah.
How was that for you at the time? Was it okay mentally because that’s where you were at or did you struggle a little bit with that transition?
I struggled a little bit with that because it was something that I had wanted so badly. And I blame the pump because I didn’t know what the difference was. And the pump had been given to me. So I think I took out a little bit of frustration there as well from the person who had given it to me. It was like, “Well, you gave me a broken pump. Now this is what happened.” So it was definitely something that I had to work through. Yeah.
Was there anything in particular you remember that helped you get over that? It’s frustrating when you don’t meet your goals and you have to kind of adjust in a different way.
Yeah, I think probably a big theme for me over like really my whole motherhood journey, was learning to give myself grace. And I don’t know that I ever really got good at it. Maybe last year was like an improvement here, but just kind of accepting, like I did the best that I could in the moment. And there’s nothing that I can do to change it now. Like that doesn’t do me any good. I want to be able to be present with my family. And if I’m sitting here beating myself up.
And giving your baby formula is not the end of the world, nor does it make you a bad mom nor is it the wrong decision. But it is hard. I think when moms have these goals like you and you wanted to breastfeed and you were kind of forced to readjust based on your scenario and that can be hard. Just emotionally sometimes. So grace is like the word for everybody. Oh, my word. So your second baby there’s about a what? Five… four and a half year difference there? Cool. You had a challenge with him.
Her. That one’s the boy, he’s a boy. Youngest is the girl.
Start at the beginning. Let’s let’s hear about your second.
So when I got pregnant with my second, I knew that I wanted things to be done differently. I mean, of course we do the best that we can in the moment. And there was a lot of blindly trusting people that I think went on with the first, because I was so young and so naive. I didn’t know to go research. So I dug in, I went and researched. So the cascade of interventions definitely is what happened with my first. And I think that’s what resulted in the C-section. So I was bound and determined to have a VBAC with him and to have a natural VBAC. So I dove in, did several different classes. Birth Bootcamp is one that I really recommend to people. It was a really good class for me. But fast forward to delivery day he was born in the hospital. So we had no idea anything was wrong from any of our prenatal appointments. Everything looked great. So I got my VBAC. He was like natural, no pain medicine. So he did great. He latched right away. He was really alert. Like everything was really perfect, isn’t the right word. But just like I had imagined for those first few hours together. And then the pediatrician came to come check on him. And they had delivered my food. So I remember that I had turned to the side to focus on eating while they took him to the little table. And while they had him, he turned purple. So they sat there and helped. I don’t know what they did at the moment. I think it was just like patting him on the back so that he could breathe. And then they went and they took him to the NICU. And we’re doing some tests. And I remember I was being pushed in the wheelchair, from the delivery room to the recovery room. When the nurse asked me when my baby was being transferred to the children’s hospital. It was like, “What are you talking about? Nobody had said anything yet.” So apparently he had what was called esophageal atresia. So his esophagus and his stomach weren’t connected. So everything that he had drank– amniotic fluid and any of that stuff. Because we knew he was spitting up, but we just thought he had swallowed some amniotic fluid.
How old was he at this time?
Like three hours and was in the NICU there at the hospital where he was delivered at. And they transferred him over to the children’s hospital that night. So my husband got to go over there and be with him. Actually my mom stayed with him overnight. They let her stay overnight, so my husband could stay with me. He was more comfortable with that. He didn’t want to be in the position to having to make all the decisions. So we did that. We were able to talk with the doctor and they had done x-rays. This is what happened. And so I was discharged the next day so that I was able to go be with him again. But at less than 48 hours old, he had to have surgery to repair that. So they went in and connected his esophagus and his stomach. Thankfully his esophagus was long enough that they were just able to attach it. It wasn’t like waiting for it to grow type thing. But there were some complications after that. But since his esophagus wasn’t connected, he couldn’t nurse because he couldn’t get the nutrition that way. And then after the surgery, it had to heal. And we were there a total of seven and a half weeks. So I started on exclusively pumping. So they have the hospital grade Medela– the Medela Symphony– there at the hospital. Really, really great supportive with everything. And I respond really well to that pump. I was definitely an over producer.
Well, I mean, cool. That can cause other problems. Where you had low supply before, I bet it felt really nice to just have oodles of milk. Great. Yeah.
It was like, thank goodness. It was really funny because at one point they were like, “Okay, you’ve got too much milk here at the NICU. Can you take some home?” So then I was pumping and then taking it home and storing it. But my goal was always to make it to two years with him with milk and he never successfully nourished again. With the surgery, it should have healed like completely within the first two weeks or so. But there was a little tiny, we never even saw it. They do what’s called a contrast dye. So they would put the contrast dye down his esophagus and we can never see the hole, but you would see the dye come out into his chest cavity. So we knew there were still a hole there. So we were actually not able to hold him through all of that too, because of the tubes that they have with the healing. So that was a whole other thing. It was seven and a half weeks total that we were there. And by the time that we were able to leave when everything closed– which was right around his one month birthday was when we were able to hold him again and try the bottle and he just couldn’t take it. He would gag. He didn’t like it, it was not successful. We tried for awhile. And then it was just like, “We want the heck outta here, and this is not happening fast.” So he got what’s called the G-Button. So it’s a port in his stomach. So he was exclusively breastfed via the G-tube there. I mean really for the first two years of his life. So I pumped for nine and a half months, and then we were able to make it till over two years with him with that milk.
Wow. So you had quite a bit of milk. Oh, that’s great. So that’s a lot. That’s a lot to go through and you’re pumping through all of it too, which is incredible. When he started solid foods, was he able to do that on the normal timeline? What did that look like?
It was a little more delayed. So we actually see a speech therapist because the speech therapist does feeding therapy as well. So that started in the NICU and then we had a great therapist that we saw for… Let’s see, he’s four now. So probably three and a half years. And probably like the last four months of it was really just for my comfort. He was doing good there. But we started with trying to get him to the point where he could take a bottle. And that took about 16 months that he was good with the bottle and then we had to start working on the solid foods as well. So a little bit more delayed there. It might’ve been closer to 12 months that we started. Because when you’re in one of those situations, the rules get thrown out the window. It’s like a whole different set of rules on what you’re working on. So like textures and materials, like jello. You wouldn’t think that would be one of the foods that you start with. But it was one of the foods that we worked on as well. On just teaching him how to eat because they learn that that swallow reflux in utero. And since it wasn’t connected, he didn’t learn that. So we were basically teaching that over the time, but he’s doing great now. We haven’t used the G- Button in over a year. So his sister pulled it out for him while my husband and I were on a trip in October. And it was like, “Oh my gosh, do we try and come back and put this in? No, this is just it. This is the sign, let’s be done.” And everything healed great. He’s great now. So he’s got two belly buttons is what it really looks like where that spot heals.
Oh, interesting. So you would feed him for the first year, year and a half. You would feed him breast milk via the G-Tube. Or the G-Button, I guess. What does that look like? Can you tell me a little bit?
So there’s a couple different ways. When we first started it’s what’s called a continual feed. So it’s hooked up with kind of like an IV type cord. So there’s like extensions there, but it was a pump. So we’d put the breast milk in our bag and the pump could send a certain number of milliliters every so often. So you would program it how much he would receive over an hour. So in the very beginning, he was on what was called continual feeds because he couldn’t handle the volume of what we would eat in a normal meal and be full. So he would eat like basically overnight. He would be hooked up to it overnight and it would just be like a slow amount. So it’s almost like continually keeping them full. And then we worked to decrease the times so that he was able to handle it faster. And eventually we got to the point where you don’t need the pump anymore and you can use a syringe it’s like a really giant syringe and you slowly push it. It’s like a two ounce syringe. So like you would make the food. And once we were done with the breast milk, I did blend real food for him as well. And that goes through also. It’s just like pushing it in with the syringe. I don’t know how else to describe that.
I was a nurse too.
You know what I’m talking about?
Like GI feedings. Yes. But it’s really interesting to hear you explain that with an infant and specifically breast milk. And for our listeners, who’ve never experienced something like that. Very interesting. Did you have to warm up the breast milk? Like regularly that you’d warm it up, put it in a bottle, and feed them. Or did you have to change it out so it didn’t go bad? What’s some of the logistics there?
So that’s the great thing about breast milk. I think if you look at the safety guidelines, they’re a little bit shorter, but breast milk lasts a lot longer. So with the breast milk, I could stick it in. Some kids have sensitivity to cold. Wyatt– that’s my son– never showed that. So I was able to take it out. I would probably set it out like 30 minutes beforehand and then fill it up and I could set it up to run overnight and that milk would stay fresh. It’s just kind of making sure that you mix it up and get all the fat mixed in really well. Because it does have a tendency to separate and we want to make sure that they were getting the fat because he’s small, but mighty. He’s definitely on the smaller end. His sister’s about to about the same height. But it lasts well. I’ve got friends that ask me now, like, “Okay, is this bad?” I’m like, “It’s always the smell test. Like always the smell test. If it smells bad. Yes. It’s bad. Otherwise like you’re good.”
Oh, that’s so funny. Okay. So you liked the the Medela Symphony pump. Did you have any problems pumping? You pumped a lot, so I always want to know what your experience was like. Did you have any funny pumping fails?
There’s so many. So our insurance was really great. So I actually own a Medela Symphony now. Like I have one and so we were able to purchase a brand new one. But a pumping bra was definitely like a lifesaver. So like that I could be hands-free. I would pump going down the road– like set up in the parking lot beforehand. Had a really big shirt that I would wear over it. I was always concerned I was going to get pulled over for something and like what what’s going to happen. I’m actually was in several pumping groups. And I can tell when people would have that, it was always like the funniest thing because like what’s the officer going to do? And half the time, they’re like, “You can go now” and just ran off.
I was going to say it’s probably a great way to get out of a ticket. Cause they’re just like so uncomfortable. They’re like, “Yeah, you weren’t speeding that bad. Just go.”
So many like spilled milk, forgetting parts of the pump, and just spraying myself and everybody else with milk everywhere. And it was rather ridiculous. Lots of pumps, washing parts. Cause he had to wash it frequently.
Oh my word, there’s a lot of logistics that you don’t think about when you’re an exclusive pumping mom. It sounds like you were in some Facebook support groups. Was there anything else you found that was helpful? Because that journey looks a lot different than an exclusively breastfeeding mom. So I know we’re going to have exclusive pumpers listening and that’s becoming more common of a thing now. So can you share any tips on that or support groups or what really helped you get through that?
I know that Facebook group was incredibly helpful. Like I don’t know what I would have done without that group. Just even like problem solving. I know that the hospital had breastfeeding support that I probably could have reached out and like help with. But after we left the hospital, logistically it wasn’t really feasible for me because we had so many health appointments for him. It was like on a weekly basis we had some form of a doctor’s appointment. So being able to go to the group and like, “Okay, this is what’s happening.” Like knowing you need to be using coconut oil works great to make sure that you’re not getting raw. Or I never had mastitis or a clogged duct. Like all of those things, knowing how to just move past and having people to sympathize with you with all your Amazon purchases in the middle of the night. That was really important, like great to have that support group. And then I think the other thing is having support around you. So my husband was always super supportive. But sometimes our loved ones are supportive, but they don’t know what to do. So like just communicating like, “Okay, I need you to do this. I need you to go wash pump parts. I need you to just do this. Like rub my back.” Like whatever it might be, just communicating what you actually need from them. And understanding that some people are just going to be strange about it. Like my father-in-law was totally freaked out. I would go hide in the other room. I know that my husband and my sister-in-law were not breastfed, so I know that’s something that he wasn’t really around. So I think the fact that my husband was supportive really helped, but it was almost like a taboo thing. Like he would literally run out of the room. Like I would go pump in the other room. So it was a great hideaway for myself, like time for me. But games on your phone is another great thing because otherwise you will spend a lot on Amazon and doing other things just trying to pass the time.
Yeah. Even as a breastfeeding mom, I have several of my like go-to, “I don’t want to use my mind right now, but I’m stuck feeding this baby, and I don’t want to be on Amazon cause it’s scary.” Oh, my word. Do you remember the process of weaning from your pump? Was it difficult to cut that down? You said it was about nine months. Do you remember what that was like?
It was a little more simple. I think when you’re actually nursing a child and your body kind of knows, so it’s just cutting down how much you’re pumping and then cutting down the frequency. Being able to sleep overnight. That was one of the first ones that I cut was my overnight pump. So there’s definitely some engorgement still that happens. Making sure that I had nursing pads cause I was likely to leak and all of that. And like hot shower helped. But I never got any plugged ducts or anything like that. That part wasn’t ever painful. It was kind of a smooth process.
Were you working your nine to five still during your second one? Or what did pumping look like with your work?
Yeah. Thankfully I had left my job. I was able to spend probably about three months pregnant with my second when I left my nine to five job. So I had time with my oldest there and then I had a business that I was running, but honestly, during that period of my life, I wasn’t really working on it at that time. I was not coaching on my own. I was still working with the network marketing company. So it was easy enough to step back and let everyone else do their thing or take over work with my people type thing. While I was able to focus more on the family and just kind of consuming personal development, kept working on myself in that manner. Listening to audios, I feel like mindset is really important, especially if you are exclusively pumping. I mean nursing too, but whatever you’re working on, being able to keep the positive mindset because it’s not always going to be great days was really helpful for me.
So when in this timeline did you start your business that you know now? Was it after your son’s needs went down a little bit or did you start it in the middle of this?
It’s always been the same type of business, but truly starting out on my own happened after he was born. But interestingly enough, we had another medical crisis a couple of years later where my husband was hospitalized and out of work for three months. And it was during that time frame that I decided like, “Oh, let me go do this on my own.” Which might not have been the smartest, like stress- logistically wise. But I was actually pregnant with my third then when we started that and I was like, “Well, let me get this up and running before she’s born.”
Oh, wow. Okay. So breastfeeding your third, please tell me it was a little bit easier experience.
Yes and no, there was different challenges. So my youngest is a daughter. And for a little bit of context, she was born on 4th of July. It was a planned home birth, but it was not planned unassisted. She’s a redhead, we call her a firecracker so stubbornness is definitely her thing.
I’m already picturing the birth based on your description.
Yeah, it was a really hysterical story. So I had prodromal labor with Whyatt, my second, as well. I always go late. I went 41 weeks, five days with Wyatt and 41 weeks, three days with Brooklyn, my youngest. So we had been in contact with the midwife. She had came and checked me like a couple days before and there wasn’t really anything. Like I would have contractions basically almost all day long, like five minutes apart. And then I would go to bed and they’d quit. So it had kind of been one of those things and I’m just annoyed at that point, right? So we’re just doing like our normal things. So we grocery shopped on 4th of July morning, I’m walking through Walmart and like stopping every couple of minutes to work through a contraction.
You’re like, “It’s fine. This has been going on for days. We’re good.”
It was like, “It is what it is. Let’s just keep going.” It was really funny. I bought cherries and was looking at produce and stuff and picked all that out. And the midwife got a really big kick out of that later. Cause they’re coming to bring me the fruit. And I was like, “Oh yeah, I bought that this morning.” So my mom and stepdad and my brother had came over. We were planning, like eating, we grilled out on the grill. Just kinda kept doing our thing. And the contractions had gotten stronger, but I really didn’t want to think like, “Okay, this is it.” And then be disappointed again that this isn’t the true labor. My mom says she could tell because like they were getting more intense.
You were in denial.
I was like, I don’t want to be wrong. So I remember coming and sitting in my room, I had a yoga ball. And so I was sitting on the yoga ball, leaning up against the edge of my bed, thinking like, “Okay, if this isn’t labor though, like I’m in trouble. Like I can’t keep doing this.” So we took a family picture. We still have it like by our front door. So my two sons, myself, and my husband. And then my mom, my stepdad, and my brother took our oldest and they went to go see fireworks. Cause I was like, “I can’t do it, I can’t go. Y’all can go, but I can’t handle it.” It’s a really good thing I didn’t because otherwise we would’ve had a baby on the side of the road watching fireworks. And so my husband and I were sitting there, watching our Netflix show. Like I’m still on my yoga ball, like working with big contractions and he’s got Wyatt who is 23 months old at the time. And he’s just holding him and I’m like, can you go put him to sleep? Because it was like bedtime. I’m like, “Can you go put him to sleep? I need you to like cover up my back.” So he did that and he’s rubbing my back, helping me through contractions and stuff. And all of a sudden, like my water broke. During the contraction. And like I just get up and start walking. Oh no. I told him that we needed to call the midwife.
Oh my gosh, I have goosebumps. This story is so awesome.
He’s kind of freaking out. But he calls her and I was like, “Tell her that I’m pretty sure my water just broke.” I had called her earlier, before we went to the fireworks. And we talked about it later and she was like, “I still really didn’t think you were in labor. Like, you didn’t really sound like it, but okay, I’ll come check you. We’ll finish eating here. And then I’ll wrap up and come over.” And she was about 40 minutes away. And so she had already said she was on her way. So he calls and she’s like, “Okay, I’m on my way.” And so I think I had like one more contraction and I just get up and I’m walking into the bedroom. And like, that’s it. So I started to walk to the bathroom like, “Okay, I think I need to go to the bathroom.” I also told my husband to call my mom because she was going to be in a doula-supportive type role for me and like tell her we need her. So that was the phone call like we need you, and then I hung up. And so I walked in our bedroom, laid down on the bed and I’m like, “I need to push.” He’s like “What? No.” I was like, “No, I need to push. Like it’s time to push.” So it was less than 10 minutes between the two phone calls. So then he calls midwife back and like she needs to push. And then the midwife hangs up to call the backup midwife, who was closer. Like to tell her to come. And he calls my mom and he’s like “The head’s out.” And she was born less than 10 minutes later, like four pushes basically.
Okay. How did your husband handle that? Was he just like a champ or was he mortified?
He was kind of freaking out in the moment, but I think because I was calm because I had had the natural birth with Wyatt. And I’m like, “Okay, this is it. Like, this is what we need to do.” But he was able to do what he needed to do, but it was definitely like, No, you can’t push.”
“I’m not qualified to handle them.”
But now he’s like, “Okay, well we’ve done it once. Let’s do it again. We don’t need that, right?” No we do need a midwife.
Oh, my word, that is the coolest story ever. So okay. Everything went well.
No complications. She latched right away. We were able to do everything we wanted like delayed cord clamping, all of that. She had a tongue tie and a lip tie. So we did get that revised at about a week old, but she didn’t really have problems latching. Well, I guess her latch was a little off. Her lip kept tucking in, but we didn’t have any problems with that. When you revise that, the stretches were awful.
I’ve heard that the stretches are not like hard, but traumatizing.
They just scream and cry. So there’s a little bit that reattached, but it’s not anything that we have to worry about again. But we kind of ended up having the opposite problem because I had exclusively pumped with my second. I was bound and determined that she was going to nurse. Dang it. And we were not going to give her a bottle because I didn’t want that to happen again. So I waited until she was about six weeks old to try and introduce a bottle and she would never take one. So then she was literally attached to me.
Yeah. So that was a little bit different. Yeah. For you
On her first road trip, she went to Utah at I think like nine months old because I had a trip I had needed to go to this event in Utah. So she went with me and we hung out in the hotel room for the parts that we couldn’t go into.
That is something that you don’t always think about. So as an exclusive pumper, you really could be away from your son, because all you need is your pump. And then when you’re exclusively breastfeeding, you are really tied to this human. Especially if they won’t take a bottle. Mine are similar that way, they don’t love bottles. And they also don’t love frozen breast milk. And so I feel that same way, very tied to the babies because I have the food and they won’t take it another way. I’m sure if I left, they would eventually take a bottle if they were hungry enough, but I haven’t ever pushed them that far.
Like I had mentioned, my husband had been hospitalized. So he was an undiagnosed diabetic, just quick story there. So he had followup doctor’s appointments. But from our experience with our second and really from my experience with my first and his birth and everything and knowing what I do now, I really become like the medical advocate and I’m not afraid to stand up. So I would go with him to the doctor’s appointments because I would fight back on the stuff that doesn’t make sense. So I would go with for those appointments. And there was a time where doctor’s offices were, frankly, being dumb. They wouldn’t renew his prescription until he came into the office, but they wouldn’t schedule his appointment for two months. Well, he was out of insulin. So the only choice we had was to go walk into the ER to wait to be seen. So we were there for like nine hours. But she wouldn’t take the bottle. So my mom and stepdad again were watching the kids. So they had to bring them up to the hospital for me. And I went and sat in the car and nursed her, and then they went back home. Like she was good. Cdause she wouldn’t take the bottle from them. Strong-willed is definitely in her genes.
A firecracker. Yep. That’s going to be her word for quite a long time. Oh my word. How long did you end up nursing her?
She was probably about 14 months when we were completely done. When she started solids, she definitely weaned herself quite a bit. I think it’s the independent in her. Like it was kind of like, “I don’t need you anymore.”
You have your hands full with this? Good luck with the future of her.
I feel like the other two have prepped me. Like I just thought this one was stubborn and then I thought this one was stubborn and then it’s like, this was just prep work.
So she kind of weaned herself off the breast. Was that earlier than you had wanted or was it kind of okay when she did that?
It was earlier than I wanted. But since I had been so tied to her, like even trying to do date nights, working in my business, everything had been more of a challenge to arrange since she had to be with me. It was a little disappointing, but it was also a relief at the same time because it was nice to be able to have that break and let her daddy or somebody else feed her. And me not having to be just the only one that did it.
That’s interesting. You had really three very different experiences breastfeeding and a lot of different emotions along the way. And I think it’s a good point for moms to know is that sometimes it’s situational and you can have a different experience even with your own kids. You know, even with these three different experiences you had, they were quite different and the end goals changed. You had to readjust many times and work through all of those different scenarios. I would love to know what the hardest part of breastfeeding was for you. You’ve had some very unique challenges. But is there anything that sticks in your mind as like one of the hardest things or one of your least favorite things about breastfeeding or pumping?
I think the waking up in the middle of the night is probably one of the worst things. I think during those times it was definitely leaning on like, “This is important to me and the reason why I wanted to do it.” Brooklyn was a biter there for a little bit and that was not fun. But I think like having to wake up in the middle of the night, cause I’m definitely one when you interrupt my sleep, it throws me off for the entire day, the next day. So having to do that for so long, especially with the pumping.
I was just going to ask you which one was worse, the pumping or breastfeeding at night?
I’m thinking pumping. Like with breastfeeding and at night we did co-sleep. So it was kinda like almost rollover stick your boob out and type thing. But with pumping, I literally had to get up and get all situated and sit there for like 30 minutes and look at my husband and my son who were sleeping. It was just like, “This is not cool.”
And then did you have to take the milk to the kitchen? Or did you have like a little fridge in your room? What did that look like at night? The pumping?
Most of the time, depending on the pump. Because there was one point where I was pumping twice in the middle of the night. Once we left the NICU, I did not have a fridge in our room. So it was like the first pump. I would go stick it in the fridge, which we had a one story home. It wasn’t like super far away to like walk over and go do that stuff.
Still annoying though to get out of bed. Yeah, I get it.
I had a chair that I would sit in. Either a chair or my rocking chair, which was in the nursery that I would go sit in. I had like my tablet that I would watch something or play the games on my phone, but with fresh breast milk being good for up to eight hours. Like that’s industry standard. If it was one of the later in the night pumps, I would just leave it on the nightstand and take care of it in the morning.
Yeah. Yeah. Cool. All right. Now can you tell me your favorite part of breastfeeding? Like we talked about the hardest part, which is night feedings and stuff. Was there anything that you just loved? Maybe you have something different from all three of your experiences? I don’t know. Or maybe there’s something that sticks out that you really enjoy?
I think with like my true nursing journey, seeing with my first and my third, like those extra cuddles when they fall asleep. Making those little noises and the extra cuddles that you get and that attention and it’s that love that moment that you have with them. With Wyatt, I think it was probably when he was able to start taking the bottle and truly drinking the breast milk that I had been pumping for him was really a special moment. And like seeing him actually do that. And it’s a different way. Like even though he had been getting the milk, it was a different way that he was consuming it.
That’s really interesting to hear you mention that because breast milk is amazing and has very nutritious properties and is the best for babies. So you’re giving it through his G-Button, which is fantastic. But it’s interesting to hear you say that when he was able to actually drink it, that that was a little more meaningful for you.
Every once in a while, I’ll pull those videos back up. Cause we videoed like the first couple of times. And at first when he started, it was just like a drop or two. Cause you can get the nipple with the very slow flow nipples. And it would be just a drop for two that he could take. And it was like those wins starting off and then getting to the point where he can drink a full bottle with one of the normal nipples. Like the level one starting off, which is the really infant. Then level two, which is a faster flow and seeing him now. Like it’s no big deal, but those wins along the way were definitely important.
That’s amazing. All right. As we kind of wrap up here, I could probably talk to you forever. You’ve had such an interesting experience and I love it. Can you tell me any piece of advice that you might tell a new mom who’s planning to breastfeed? So a first-time mom who’s pregnant, planning to breastfeed. Is there any piece of advice that you feel like would be helpful for her?
I think it’s important to know why you want to do something because the intention behind it. But at the same time, it is that fine line of having grace with yourself if the situation just doesn’t allow for it. And I think being able to look at that with your support group, support team, finding that those people that will support you. And just being aware of you are doing the best that you can in the moment. Yes, we have these ideal visions that we’ve always had, but being able to forgive yourself with that grace and not beating yourself up over things not looking the way that you wanted it to.
That’s actually one of the most common pieces of advice that I’ve had moms say here on the podcast for other moms. So I hope just drilling that into their brains will help it stick a little bit more. You need grace to get through parenthood. And so I love how you phrase that. So thank you so much for chatting with me today. You have a really interesting story and I hope that it inspires other moms to like push through whatever struggles they’re having or also just kind of give them like, “Oh, someone’s been through this too.” And you had a lot of really well-spoken ways of seeing things. So I really appreciate you taking the time to do that. Is there anything else you’d like to share with moms today or where can they find you? We’ll definitely put links down below, but any last thoughts?
Yeah. I just want to say I’m so thankful to be able to be on today. It’s definitely been a passion for me because I know how important breastfeeding is. And having three different, so different journeys I thought it might be a fun conversation because I feel like it’s been so much. I think just if you are struggling, maybe you’re exclusively pumping. I know that is a big one, like with the guilt and the struggle. So especially if you’re in that place, feel free to reach out like just getting support from people who understand. I’m definitely always up for a conversation. And then the best place to connect with me. I love hanging out on Instagram, so I know we’ll put the link below, but that’s @aimeecerka
Perfect. I’m going to go add you too. Cause I want to see what you’re doing over there. Instagram is a great late night scroll too if you’re breastfeeding in the night. So that’s perfect.
I’m on Facebook out of necessity. I like being on Instagram better.
Yeah. I’m finding myself more and more on Instagram these days too. Very cool. Thank you so much, Aimee. I loved our conversation today and we’ll talk to you later.
Okay. Thank you.