S1E14 Sarah Soriano’s Story | New Little Life Breastfeeding Podcast

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Show Notes

In this week’s episode, I am joined by Sarah– a breast cancer survivor, professional dancer, and mom of one. She shares her unique story of how breast cancer affected her breastfeeding journey as well as things we can all relate to including nursing in public, working with a young baby, and mastitis.

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Episode Transcript

Allison (00:06):

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. Hello, and another podcast for you today with an interview from Sarah. Now, Sarah is a mom of one and a maternity newborn photographer and a former professional dancer. Well, I say former, but she’s still offering online Zumba classes– which I try and pop onto whenever I can. And I’ll put that link down in the show notes because it is so fun. Sarah is also a breast cancer survivor. She had breast cancer at the age of 20 and shares her story about how that affected her during her dancing career, what that meant when she got pregnant and had plans to breastfeed, and what her breastfeeding journey looked like. She is incredible. And her story is amazing. If anyone can inspire you to persevere, advocate for yourself, and meet your goals through many obstacles, it’s Sarah. Before we jump into her interview, I just wanted to remind you about the courses that New Little Life offers. There is an online breast-feeding course available for you. You can find a lot of information on the YouTube channel, and I know that’s where a lot of you like to watch and listen to New Little Life content. But if you’re looking for a more focused and in-depth kind of overall guide to breastfeeding getting you started, or maybe a little quick refresher if it’s been a while since you breastfed before, you can find that all over on my website, NewLittleLife.com. There’s more courses coming too. That’ll be fun. Anyway, let’s jump over and meet Sarah. Hi Sarah. I am really looking forward to this discussion today. We were just kind of chatting a little bit before, and I just had to stop and say let’s record because we’ve got a lot of fun stuff to talk about. So welcome to the podcast. And can you start out and just tell us a little bit about yourself? You have an awesome life story, so start wherever you want. Let’s hear it.

Sarah (02:32):

Okay. I grew up dancing, so I danced all my life. I was very, very fortunate enough to travel all over the world with a Broadway show. The show was called Burn The Floor. We did a lot of international tours. We actually did a stint on Broadway for six months. But that was my life for about 10 years. And well just under 10 years, but you know, the best part of 10 years. What I do now is I am a photographer. I am a Zumba instructor, had to keep dancing in there somehow. And more recently my daughter and I have started a little on the side hustle doing little crafty things.

Allison (03:17):

They are so cute. I didn’t know Mercedes was helping you. That’s so fun.

Sarah (03:21):

Yes. Well, we were stuck at home during lockdown. I was like, “What can I do?” And I bought a Cricut and that was it. End of story.

Allison (03:29):

I bet you both love that. You guys are very talented.

Sarah (03:32):

Kind of fell down the YouTube rabbit hole, bought a bunch of stuff. And now we’re just having fun.

Allison (03:38):

Oh, I love it.

Sarah (03:41):

What else? I don’t know.

Allison (03:42):

Where are you from? First of all, I was really excited to talk to you because I love your accent and I just could listen to you talk all day.

Sarah (03:48):

My girlfriend says that too. I’m from Australia, long way from home. Australia hasn’t been my home for such a long time though. I mentioned I was touring with a show that started 2002. So from then on, I haven’t really been back to much. In breaks I would go home in the beginning, but then I got married and of course Australia wasn’t home anymore. Las Vegas was home. But yes, I’m from Australia.

Allison (04:20):

Is that where your husband is from? Is Vegas.

Sarah (04:22):

He was born in the Philippines but grew up in Las Vegas from about 12 on.

Allison (04:29):

Okay. And you have one daughter, right? How old, how old is she now?

Sarah (04:32):

Is nine now. Nine going on 19. And she’s growing up way too fast.

Allison (04:39):

She’s the sweetest little thing. I do know her a little bit and I love her. She’s so cute. Yeah. But nine going on 19, that sounds about right.

Sarah (04:49):

I’m not looking forward to the teenage years.

Allison (04:51):

Oh man. No, no, no, no. I’m grateful that I have three boys, honestly. I think if I can just keep them alive, that’s like half the battle. Right. But the girls, they bring the the drama don’t they? Well, let’s just start with your story. So we’re going to kind of talk about some of your breastfeeding experience today, but I think your story starts a little bit before that. So can you just start way back when? And just give us a little background of how some of those events prior affecting all that stuff.

Sarah (05:26):

When I was 20, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Which did impact breastfeeding a lot. I didn’t think that I was even going to be able to have a child. Just with the things that they do, the things that they give you. I had radiation. I didn’t have to have chemotherapy, but they did put me on a course of hormonal therapy which basically turned my ovaries off, told my body that I was male and put me through menopause. So 21, I went through menopause and I get to look forward to doing that all over again. Because of course, when I came off the drugs and they were male hormones that they were giving me. And all over the packet, it said, “Do not administer to women.” So that’s what I was getting.

Allison (06:14):

Oh, my word.

Sarah (06:15):

Yeah. But I did speak to a fertility specialist and he did reassure me that yes, everything would go back to normal once I came off the drugs and he was like, “You know, you think about it as all your eggs just still being there, waiting, whether they’re released now or later.” So technically I have a few more years at the end. Now I think we’re done. One and done. But you know, you never know. But yes breast cancer did make it difficult. I was only able to breastfeed from one side. Which was actually kind of awkward through the whole pregnancy. My one side just kept growing and growing and growing. And this other got radiated, just didn’t go anywhere. So I had to keep putting padding in. Cause you know, you would get a bra, of course it’s the same on both sides. I had to keep petting my left side. Which when it came time to breastfeeding, that also created issues because I was only milk production on one side. So it got even bigger. But then there was no relief. At least when you’ve got two sides, you can breastfeed from one side. And if that side’s a little irritated, you can go to the next side for the next feed. Well, no, I was just the one side. Ended up with a nipple shield, cracked nipple, that kind of fun stuff.

Allison (07:46):

Oh my word. Okay. I’ve got some questions for you. Are you ready? Here we go. Okay. So you’re 20 years old, no kids yet, but you get diagnosed with breast cancer. I don’t even know what that would be like. What were your first thoughts? I mean, were you thinking like kids, breastfeeding and stuff later? Or was it like, “I just gotta survive this first and deal with that later”? What was that like?

Sarah (08:09):

This is terrible because I wasn’t a smoker, but I went and bought a packet of cigarettes. And I thought “If I’m going to die, why not do all these things anyway?” That phase, I think lasted maybe three hours. By the packet of cigarette, you have one or two and then that’s it. I’m like, “Nah, not for me.” But yeah, it was more so just like just get through it. You know, I always knew that I wanted to have kids. But at that point I wasn’t really thinking about, “Am I going to be able to feed?” It was more so “Can I have a child? I’d be happy just to be able to have a child.” So yeah, the breastfeeding didn’t really come into it until later on when I was pregnant.

Allison (08:58):

Yeah. So did you end up having surgery on that side? Or just– not just– but radiation and all that.

Sarah (09:05):

I had two surgeries. The first one, they went in and took out the tissue. And when that came back to be cancerous, I then went back in, took extra tissue around to make sure that they got it. They then took out my lymph nodes. So I have a ugly scar under my arm and a bit of a divot. They took out all of my lymph nodes. And yeah, radiation after that. And then not chemotherapy, but hormonal replacement therapy for awhile. I was on that for three years.

Allison (09:37):

Wow. Okay. For the hormone stuff. Okay. How did you find this? Or why did you go in?

Sarah (09:47):

I was literally scratching on the inside of my bra strap, scratching on my arm. As I pulled my hand away, I felt it. It was so close to the surface of the skin. I felt something, yeah. One was up high. Another one was lower and deeper. But the one that I felt was right here and it’s only that it was right there. Had it been a little deeper, I wouldn’t have even noticed. But it was hard. I saw my doctor and he said to me that “If nothing has changed in two weeks, it’s not hormonal. And it’s something that we need to check out.” This was right before Christmas. And nothing changed. So I went back and I saw him. It was like the 22nd of December. It’s funny how certain dates just stick in your mind? The next day I was in having a fine needle biopsy. And then like right before Christmas, they got the results back. And the doctor, I went back and I saw him a few years later– maybe six years or something like that– for another fine needle biopsy. He’s like, “You ruined my Christmas that year because I knew that it was cancer right before Christmas.” He’s like, “I was devastated.” I was like, “Oh, that’s so sweet.” Didn’t mean to ruin his Christmas. But yes. My doctor then called me in between the Christmas and New Year. And he was on vacation, so I knew something was up as soon as there was a voice message left. I went in January 4th to see him. I think on the seventh I was in having my first surgery. So it was very quick. And I think I was so lucky that my doctor was proactive. My godfather, his wife, or sorry, his sister– it doesn’t matter who– but anyway she went to the doctor about something and they kept saying, “Oh, no, it’s nothing. Oh, no, it’s nothing.” She ended up having a double mastectomy. Whereas my doctor’s like, “No, we need to get it checked out. Want to make sure.” And I think1 it’s because they were so proactive and maybe because I was younger and they were worried. I don’t know, but yeah. Very, very lucky.

Allison (12:03):

Okay. So after that whole cancer thing, you had a few years until you got pregnant, correct?

Sarah (12:12):

Quite a few. Yeah. Like 14, 13.

Allison (12:16):

Okay. Quite a few. And you were dancing this whole time, right? Just doing your awesome thing.

Sarah (12:21):

Yes. Yes. Funny, well, not a funny story, but I don’t know if I should get into this, but anyway. My first husband, so I was married before. We were both dancers, but he had said to me just two months after we got married, “If you don’t give up dancing, I’m going to leave you.” So I was like, “What am I going to do?” You know, my parents just forked out 30 odd thousand dollars for this wedding. I can’t not make this work. So in my mind, I had already decided that I needed to stop dancing. And that’s when I was diagnosed with cancer. It took me about a year and a half to get my courage and my strength back. And I said to him, “Look, I’m done. This is not a ride.” You know, I wasn’t dancing. I wasn’t happy. “I’m not happy. I can’t make you happy.” So I left him and I went back to dancing, did a few years of competing again. And then I ended up in the show that I was traveling with which is, you know, I feel like my life actually started after I had cancer. It’s like I needed that. It was a wake-up call. The doctors wouldn’t let me get pregnant. They said to me, “If you get pregnant, we will medically terminate you. Just because the pregnancy would promote the growth of breast cancer.” I’m still not allowed to take any kind of…

Allison (13:58):

Hormones, birth control.

Sarah (13:58):

Contraceptive is what I’m trying to think of. So that was a medical thing I wasn’t allowed to do, which is another reason why I ended up on the hormonal replacement therapy. But yes, my life definitely started after cancer. I was going somewhere with this and I don’t remember where I was going.

Allison (14:17):

So you danced for quite a while? And then can you tell me what it was like when you got pregnant? I mean, that’s gotta be an amazing feeling after what you’ve been through. Did you plan on breastfeeding? Did you want to breastfeed during that pregnancy? What were some of your thoughts there?

Sarah (14:37):

How I felt when I got pregnant? We were over the moon because I didn’t think we were going to be able to. I actually went in and told the company heads of the show that I was at. “We’re going to start trying, I probably won’t get pregnant for a while.” My gynecologist thought I had endometriosis. He’s like “Try for a year then maybe we’ll need to laser surgery your uterus, and then you’ll be fine.” Well, we started trying and three months later I was pregnant.

Allison (15:06):

Wow.

Sarah (15:07):

So that was a shock, like from thinking that I wasn’t ever going to be able to have a child to three months later. It was exciting. I had always planned to breastfeed. Breastfeeding is for me, just something that you do. It is very common. In Australia, I feel like everybody does it. It’s the norm. I know when I was growing up, nobody ever covered up. I know that’s a big thing I feel in America.

Allison (15:46):

In the States at least. Yeah. It’s only recently that moms are even kind of doing that. Before it was a very select few. So that’s interesting that that’s been the way it is in Australia for quite a long time. Now that we’re here in Europe, I’m like, “Okay. Yeah. Women are just feeding. They don’t care.”

Sarah (16:02):

I remember actually when Mercedes was born in Australia. When she was six, we took her back to Vegas. And just at the airport, we were all having lunch. Of course it was time for her to have lunch. I was facing the wall and I just got it out and gave her some lunch. No, I didn’t think anything of it.

Allison (16:22):

How old was she?

Sarah (16:22):

About six weeks. The waiter freaked, like didn’t say anything, but you could tell he was uncomfortable. And I didn’t even think about it. I seriously did not even think about it.

Allison (16:37):

Well, why would you? And she’s tiny. Obviously, that’s her only nourishment. Oh my goodness. He didn’t say anything to you though?

Sarah (16:45):

No, but you could see. We were at a Mexican restaurant. He may have even been Mexican. I’m not sure. But in the States. It’s definitely a different vibe in the States than it is to Australia. We’re a little bit more laid back. Just whip it out.

Allison (17:04):

Did you have to do anything different where you only had one good breast to work with? Did your other one that had the radiation and stuff? Did it make milk at all?

Sarah (17:13):

Not at all. I pumped that sucker like constantly. In the beginning, the nurses in the hospital said, “Just keep pumping, just keep pumping. It may come on. Just keep pumping.” Nothing.

Allison (17:26):

Did you still have like the nipple and everything on there so it could have made milk? Or were they like, “No, it’s not going to.”

Sarah (17:33):

They were hoping that it would, but nothing happened. And it’s funny over the years that a nipple that was radiated has now inverted. So I have one breastfeeding nipple, you know how they kind of stick out after you breastfeed? And the other one is just completely… It’s odd. It’s a good thing my husband loves me because I look weird.

Allison (17:59):

Your husband is a sweet man. I really enjoy it.

Sarah (18:02):

Thank goodness.

Allison (18:05):

Oh my gosh. I don’t even know what this would be like. Can you tell me what it was like? So you have this baby and you’re like, “Okay, I’m going to breastfeed it.” What did those beginning days look like? I don’t even.

Sarah (18:17):

It was natural. Yeah. I feel like I just went with the flow. It wasn’t an issue. I kind of knew they need to be fed every two, three hours. I just fed on demand. I kind of kept a track of the time, but I didn’t really stress about it. The first couple of weeks. Yes. I wrote it all down. Cause the nurses that come to see you, they want to know. But after that I just kind of went with the flow. I didn’t think about it. It just happened.

Allison (18:55):

Did she gain weight well? Or did you have any supply problems where you only just were feeding from the one side?

Sarah (19:01):

I guess I kept up because she was a fat baby with huge cheeks that just hung off her face. I could only breastfeed her. I tried pumping and it didn’t work. I would pump for a long time and get just the tiniest little bit in the bottom of the bottle. And she wouldn’t take it out of the bottle anyway. But yeah, it’s just straight from the source. Little fat chunka. No one ever said anything about her weight. You know, she wasn’t getting enough. Thank goodness. Although at nine months I was thinking that it was starting to slow down. So I did go and get some fennugreek and mother’s milk tea. I think it’s called.

Allison (19:48):

Good memory for nine years ago? Well done.

Sarah (19:53):

But it was the fennugreek. I remember the lady at GNC telling me a story about another woman who would take this stuff and swore by it. And she would then donate… Like her children, the youngest was eight at the time. And she said that this stuff works, you know? And I was like, “Okay, I have to try it.” Cause I bought some formula thinking that it was time that we would switch to formula. She hated it, hated it. It was like she’s going to starve. So yeah, the fenugreek was a godsend. And now I think I remember so much is because when moms come in and talk to me during a session it’s the one thing that I strongly suggest if they’re having issues is the fenugreek.

Allison (20:39):

Yeah. Cool. Some moms don’t respond as well to it. Some do. Yeah. Supplements are kind of like that, but I’m super glad that that worked for you, especially where you’re kind of working against the odds here.

Sarah (20:55):

Right? I wasn’t sure that I was going to be able to do it just one side, but yeah, it worked good and actually we ended up feeding until 13, no, 15, no 13 months. Sorry, my bad, but yeah, 13 months.

Allison (21:17):

That’s amazing. Did you mention earlier that you used a nipple shield for a little while?

Sarah (21:22):

I did. I had to because my nipple cracked. I’ve heard different, different opinions on the nipple shield. Some are saying, “No, they’re not good. Don’t do it. It makes it harder to get them to feed.”

Allison (21:44):

There’s pros and cons to it, for sure. I’ve used one with all my babies for my own issues, but yeah.

Sarah (21:50):

Yeah. It helped though, because just that little barrier, but yeah. Unfortunately when you’ve only got one side to feed from, and it cracks. It wasn’t pleasant, but I got through it. I think milk from the source or from us anyway, is so much better for them that it was worth the sacrifice. For sure.

Allison (22:17):

That’s amazing. Okay. So this might be a weird question, but how did you work the bra situation? Like I can only picture one milk engorged breast and the other one having been radiated. Like how do you find clothes?

Sarah (22:34):

Lots of padding. I would sew it into… I had like two bras and I would just sew it in and I’m talking like chunky padding Yeah. Cause if you don’t sew it in, it comes out. It’s very embarrassing.

Allison (22:47):

I don’t know why I didn’t think of that.

Sarah (22:50):

Yep. That’s me. I’m all about the padding. Especially being a dancer, they would pad all of our dresses. So we all look like we had fake boobs in our outfits. It was amazing.

Allison (23:02):

Right? So when you weaned her, what was that process like? Were you guys ready? Did it go well?

Sarah (23:09):

I was not ready to wean her. The only reason why I stopped at 13 months is because I hadn’t had a mammogram. The whole pregnancy, I couldn’t have a mammogram. And of course with my history, I’m supposed to have one every year. And it had been about two and a half years and a ton of hormones. They were really keen on me to get a mammogram done. So otherwise I would have just kept going. Weaning. It was okay. We cut down during the day and then did morning and night feeds. Cause this is probably not a good thing, but we co-slept. Most of the time it was just the two of us because Henry went back on tour. So it’s just us in the bed. So I would, you know, get it all, set up, put her on. I think I would fall asleep before her. And then in the end, I think it was only nighttime feeds and then it was fine.

Allison (24:10):

So you can’t have be lactating to get a mammogram. Is that what they wanted to do?

Sarah (24:15):

They wanted me to stop feeding for two months so that all the milk ducts reduce in size. Otherwise they would be cutting me open because the milk ducts look like cancer.

Allison (24:27):

Okay. That makes sense. Just like fluid filled kind of, and they were really looking for you. Okay. Yep. All good after that? I’m hoping that everything came back well.

Sarah (24:36):

It’s been 23 years, all good so far.

Allison (24:41):

It’s so crazy because you’re so young to say that it was 23 years ago. I’m like, oh my word.

Sarah (24:46):

I’ll be 43 in a week and a few days.

Allison (24:50):

Wow. That’s that’s incredible. So after you had Mercedes, did you go back to work? Did you continue dancing? Or were you home with her for that 13, 14 months you breastfed?

Sarah (25:03):

Actually I did take a job. My boss from the show that I was in, he was choreographing Dancing With The Stars live in Las Vegas. Las Vegas was home for us. So he actually had me come on as his assistant. My official title was assistant choreographer, but I was really just the choreographer’s assistant. Which was great because Henry was home at the time. So he was able to look after her, bring her to me. I could feed her. Then he would take her back. Once the show was up and running Jason had to leave and then they’d asked me to stay on and actually run the show, deal with injuries. And this was a daily thing actually dealing with injuries and making sure the show was covered. And I was like, “That’s fine. Yes. But this is my situation. I have a three-month old, it would be the two of us. We were a package deal. She’d be in a Baby Bjorn.” And they were like, “Yes, yes, yes. Name your price.” So I took a job when she was three months old. It was awesome though. I loved it. She had her little noise canceling ear phones. I think part of the reason she’s so attached to me now is because she was on me 24/7. You know, we slept in the same bed at nighttime. We got up, went to work. She was on me for a good– gosh– sometimes 10 hours during the day and then go home to bed. Yeah. So it was fun. There was definitely a lot of situations where there was no privacy. I didn’t have my own room. I was just camped out in the green room. She had her little play area. It was so sweet. You know, everybody bought her toys and stuff. So he had this little setup of her own with a bouncer and everything. But when it came to breastfeeding, I’d be there in the green room. Australia, we don’t cover up, so boobs out. People would come back with their guests. I’d be like, “Hey, sorry, I’m Australian. Deal with it” kind of thing. So yeah, but it was fun. I definitely enjoyed the experience. Wouldn’t give it up for anything. But yes, I definitely think that my daughter is much more clingy because of that situation. I know now as a newborn photographer, if I get a chance to talk to the moms beforehand, I always recommend put the baby down. If photos are important to you put the baby down, because if you hold them all the time, they get so attached. They so used to being on top of you that I can’t do what I want to do, but that was definitely our situation. She was on me a hundred percent of the time.

Allison (28:01):

Wow. So did you ever receive any criticism or maybe praise too for breastfeeding like that. Where you had just had zero privacy and you brought your daughter to work? That’s a really cool thing that they let you do. A lot of working moms, most working moms, leave their babies and go to work. So that’s awesome.

Sarah (28:22):

I don’t know if there was any criticism. It may have happened after they left the room.

Allison (28:28):

But no one ever said anything directly to you?

Sarah (28:31):

No. They probably weren’t game.

Allison (28:32):

Great. I love to hear that actually. And I think a lot of moms are worried about like breastfeeding in public or even just like uncovered. A lot of babies, hate the covers.

Sarah (28:43):

Right? Well, do you want to eat with something over your face?

Allison (28:46):

Mine hate it cause they’re just like playing with it and I’m like, “They’re not eating. And I’m so clumsy. Like this is a lot.” So I think it always helps to hear mom’s experiences where like you breastfed for a year essentially at work and no one ever said anything to you.

Sarah (29:01):

Yeah. Well the job was only about four or five months. So it wasn’t that long. But you know, it was definitely a thing. You know, everybody saw it, there was no hiding it. I would change diapers in front of everybody. Like there was mid rehearsal, “Keep going.” Just lay her out on the table and change her diaper.

Allison (29:27):

That’s amazing. Wow.

Sarah (29:29):

It was like, nothing’s going on?

Allison (29:32):

Oh, my word. You said that you co-slept with her, was that just like the easiest for you guys to do? Is that a cultural thing that they do a lot in Australia? There’s no judgment from me here because my babies end up in my bed too. But I would love to know like what your nighttime routine was like. What worked for you guys? That kind of stuff.

Sarah (29:56):

I’m not sure if it’s a thing in Australia. I tried to feed her and then put her down, but she just didn’t want to have anything to do with it. She was just so used to being on us. From the very, very beginning I was in Australia with my parents. Henry was able to come out as well, so we were all there. So she had four adults. So somebody was holding her all the time. It’s just from the very beginning. She always wanted to be next to us. So the co-sleeping was more for me because I was able to get some rest. Yes. She would sleep just as quickly as I would. But when it came time to transferring her over to her own bed, I think around maybe one year. I was like, “Okay, this is enough. I need some space.” It was horrible. And I think had I been better in the beginning, you know, “Do as I say, not as I do” I think if I had taken my own advice and put her down, it would have been an easier transition. In the end, I know Henry hated it, but just letting her cry it out cause I would go in there and I would sleep on the floor and then she got asleep. So then I would go back to my bed. And then she’d wake up again. The monitor’s going crazy. So I go in there and I would sleep on the floor just so she could see me. Yeah. But then one night I was like, “I just can’t keep doing this.” So I let her cry it out. And I think I cried just as much as she did in my bed, but the next night it was nowhere near as bad.

Allison (31:45):

Yeah. She was somewhere around a year?

Sarah (31:49):

Yeah. About a year. I hate that I did that. I felt so bad. And this was around about the time that Henry stopped touring altogether. So he was home, so he would wake up and he would go in and I’m like, “No I’m training her.” It was a battle between like I had things set in place and then he comes home. Now that we’re military, the military community, we totally get this. You know, dads go away, moms have a routine, the dads come home. Everything’s just messed up.

Allison (32:24):

That’s yep. Military life in a nutshell there, I think. That’s really hard. Yeah. I kind of did a similar sleep training with my kiddos about eight, nine months when they could sleep through the night. It’s such a hard thing. I think a lot of parents feel guilty about how they get their children to sleep because the crying it out. And no one’s leaving their children screaming in their room for hours. Like, I don’t think anyone’s doing that. Like you’re going in and checking on them. You’re trying to soothe them. You’re just trying not to pick them up and trying not to feed them, you know? And the thing is that it usually works really quickly, but it is really heartbreaking. And I think a lot of parents feel bad about that because it does seem cruel. Actually I did a recent podcast interview with an infant sleep consultant and it was so cool. I’m gonna put the link down in the show notes for anyone listening because she really like changed my whole perspective on infant sleep. She likes to call it sleep teaching, which I thought was great. And it was all about teaching babies and infants healthy sleep habits. Even from the very beginning, you’re not like sleep training them to be on their own and self-soothe because infants really can’t do that. But she talked about establishing good sleeping patterns to make it easier in the long run. So you never have to do that sleep training because they already have all these healthy habits and skills. So I’ll put that link down in the show notes for you listeners. Cause it was a great episode. Actually her name was Sarah too. So if that’s confusing, the podcast from Sarah, the sleep consultant will be down in the show notes.

Sarah (34:09):

Yeah. That’s not me.

Allison (34:12):

So can you tell me, I would love to know what the hardest part about breastfeeding was for you? So your least favorite or the most difficult that you remember?

Sarah (34:22):

Probably two. The crack nipple definitely was one of my least favorite things. And I did end up with mastitis at one point. Only once. But that was stressful. Just then having to do all the things that we suggest. Feed her upside down, a massage, hot towels. I don’t remember now, so I don’t want to say something and somebody try it and not be right. That was I think probably the most stressful. So I definitely did not enjoy that at all, but I know some people do suffer with that quite a bit. It only happened once. And I was able to deal with it quite quickly.

Allison (35:11):

Oh yeah. Those are no fun. Both of those. That cracked nipple healed I’m assuming for you. You used the nipple shield to kind of help that healing, right? Since you were only feeding on one side anyway.

Sarah (35:23):

Yes. I don’t know for sure, but it felt like a month.

Allison (35:27):

Okay. That doesn’t sound unreasonable. So especially where you’re constantly feeding on the same side. And I would also love to know favorite part of breastfeeding. So, or favorite parts if there’s more than one.

Sarah (35:41):

Ooh the connection. I just loved having her so close to me, knowing that I’m doing something good for her. And that little hand. You know when they put that little hand on your chest and they rub, I just loved it. I mean, I didn’t love it the time she bit me, but yeah. Just the connection.

Allison (36:06):

It really is amazing how many moms say that that’s their favorite part though. That connection with the baby. Because there’s a lot of crappy stuff that comes with breastfeeding too. I mean, any way you feed your baby is a lot of work, to be honest. Making bottles and carrying around all that stuff is also really a pain in the butt.

Sarah (36:24):

I feel like breastfeeding is so much easier. I did not wash a bottle. I didn’t have to heat a bottle. I didn’t have to run out and get formula because I was out. If she was hungry, I just whipped it out. No questions asked. I mean, she was with me. It’s different for those who are working away from their child. But because we’re together, it was just so easy.

Allison (36:49):

Yeah I agree. And that connection that you get from breastfeeding, I think makes up for a lot of the hard stuff you also have to go through. Yeah. A lot of moms say that that’s her favorite part, which is one of my favorites too. This is probably my last question here as we wrap up. But is there any piece of advice that you would tell a mother who’s planning to breastfeed? I know you work with a lot of pregnant women in your photography business. Myself included. I love the photos that you took for me before and after. But is there anything that you think a mom who is planning to breastfeed should know– either from your own experience or stuff you’ve learned over the years?

Sarah (37:32):

Probably don’t be too hard on yourself. You know, everyone is different, your baby doesn’t know any different. So what you do is going to be okay. I feel a lot of people stress out a lot and that stresses the baby out. Actually I find that with photographing as well. If the mom is stressing out the baby can’t settle down. So yeah, probably just don’t be too hard on yourself. All you can do is try.

Allison (38:07):

Wow. Yeah. That’s excellent advice actually. And it’s interesting to hear you say that you see that from the outside too, where you work with a lot of babies. Because I can see those moms that are just like, “Sorry, this, this is not right. And I can’t get him to calm down.” Like I could see where the baby would feed on that energy. They’re very connected to their mothers, especially at the beginning. Absolutely. Sarah, thank you so much for talking with us today. You have such a unique story.

Sarah (38:33):

Thank you so much. I’m so glad I could be here. It’s a treat. Thank you.

Allison (38:39):

I’m going to put some fun links from Sarah down in the show notes. You’ll also find some links down there for me. I’ll also put that podcast we mentioned about infant sleep down there from the other Sarah we had on the podcast. And if you have any questions, you can connect with me over on my website or Instagram. It’ll all be down there. So thanks again, Sarah. It’s been awesome.

Sarah (38:59):

Thanks Allison.

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