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Breastfeeding After a C-Section

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Most of us head into motherhood with a lot of expectations, especially when it comes to feeding your baby. It doesn’t help that everyone seems to have an opinion, even though there is no more personal decision than how to feed your baby. Breastfeeding, formula-feeding, or combo-feeding — only you can decide what is right for you and your family.

Our opinion? You’re doing great. And we’re proud of you, no matter how you choose to feed your baby. But in case you need a little more inspiration, we’ve partnered with Enfamil to share the very diverse feeding journeys of some very diverse parents, from breastfeeding to bottle-feeding, and the very blurred lines in between.

Beauty blogger Larisa Courtien had her heart set on breastfeeding, but an emergency C-section threatened to derail her feeding plan. Supplementing with formula helped her get through those first few days with her newborn and laid the foundation for a successful nursing journey. Seven months later, she’s exclusively breastfeeding -- at busy restaurants, on airplanes, at Ikea and every place in between. Below, she talks about her personal feeding journey, and why it’s so important to share images of women feeding their babies, no matter how they do it.

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What did you envision your feeding experience to be like when you were pregnant?

I tried really hard not to put a lot of pressure on myself about breastfeeding when I was pregnant. There were certain things I really liked about breastfeeding, that it is wonderful for the baby, provides a mommy-baby bond, and that it’s “free.” So in my heart, I knew I wanted to nurse exclusively. I told my husband, and he was on board from the get-go. However, I was worried it might not work out, and I did not want to be disappointed, so I was not going to be “against” bottle-feeding.

After a birth story that wasn’t anything like I imagined, I was so relieved that my daughter latched immediately. After 3 long days of laboring and a C-section due to my body’s failure to progress, I finally felt like I was doing something right.

Once she did latch well, it became clear to me that I wanted to nurse exclusively. And even then, the goal was to get to just 3 weeks. Then 3 months. Then 6 months. As each milestone has passed, I get more and more shocked with how well we’ve done.

Tell us how formula played a role in your breastfeeding plan.

My milk did not come in right away, which is fairly common, especially in first time moms who have a C-section. The baby lost too much weight, and we were told we had to start giving her the bottle. I felt sad, but not defeated, because I was never against formula to begin with. I did, however, make sure that we continued to practice nursing. So I did as the doctor recommended: nursed for 5 minutes on either side, then gave her a bottle. I also would put some of the formula on my nipple to encourage her to keep sucking. When she regained enough weight and my milk finally came in, we got the go-ahead to stop the bottle and start exclusively nursing again. We got so lucky because she still took the breast and didn’t look for the bottle once we stopped using it.

What have been some of your biggest challenges breastfeeding?

The biggest challenges of breastfeeding have honestly been dodging weird questions about it. If you don’t breastfeed, everyone tells you that you need to try harder because the baby needs your milk. But once you get the hang of it, people are all “don’t become that mom who is obsessed with it and nurses until the baby is 8!” I find that the biggest issues with breastfeeding are not my issues or my baby’s issues.

How important was it to have a breastfeeding community?

I’m so lucky because my husband was incredibly supportive and actually really strongly wanted our daughter to be nursed exclusively. So anytime I was tired in those first few weeks, he would remind me of our goal to exclusively breastfeed, and then give me the mental strength to do it.

Why do you feel it’s important for you to share images and experiences of breastfeeding?

I think it’s just important to share all images of motherhood, no matter what they look like. Everyone’s experiences are different, and I think sharing them creates an awareness and a broadens people’s worldview. Specifically for breastfeeding, I think it is so important to share images through online media because it helps to normalize what is a truly normal act. There was a lot of embarrassment that has surrounded breastfeeding.

When women share their images of nursing it takes away the embarrassment that has previously been associated with it. It allows mothers in the same situations to feel more comfortable about how they feed their baby, and it allows non-mothers and the general public to become more accustomed to seeing nursing so that if and when they encounter it in real life, it isn’t a shock. It’s normal.

What are some of the craziest places you’ve breastfed?

I’ve breastfed while walking through an Ikea, at a Starbucks, at a busy restaurant in midtown during pre-theater hour, in my husband’s office, and on an airplane. But the craziest places I’ve ever breastfed are in front of my in-laws and my family! I know that “traditionally” most people would hide away in a room somewhere, but I don’t like having to lock myself away if we don’t need to. We’re still a part of the family so we stay out and feed in front of family no matter what.

Have you ever felt uncomfortable or shamed about your feeding decision?

I’ve truly never felt uncomfortable with my body being slightly exposed, therefore I never really feel uncomfortable when I’m nursing. Only now that she is getting a little bit older do I ever feel that I get shamed for still nursing. The APA recommends you nurse until the baby is 12 months old, but a lot of older generations will quiver and make a face at me when I mention that fact! It’s so crazy - I got praised for nursing when she was a newborn but now that she is crawling around everyone asks me when we plan to stop.

How can breastfeeding be positive, empowering emotional experience?

Breastfeeding is a continuation of the miracle that childbearing is -- it is a magical experience that feels so incredibly normal, and yet so incredibly majestic and jaw-dropping all at the same time. It is empowering to know that my body knows just what my daughter needs and how to provide it. I love that my body continues to nourish my child and put her nutritional needs above my own even after she has left my womb. It is a powerful feeling knowing that only you, a mother, can provide such a specific food that is tailored to your baby.

Being a new mom in general is an emotional experience, so although breastfeeding is time consuming and draining, the positivity it has brought in my life and the bond it has helped create between my daughter is so worth it. I am so incredibly blessed and never forget how privileged I am to be able to stay at home and nurse exclusively.

What kind of encouragement or advice would you give to a new mom struggling to figure out how to feed her baby?

Find the support you need to be able to feed your baby the way you want to. Share with your partner your truest goals, whether it be to exclusively nurse or bottle-feed. Make sure your partner is on board, have the name of a lactation consultant just in case, and lean on your partner to help you follow through or remind you of whatever goal you may have had.

And mostly, don’t beat yourself up about anything. Motherhood is hard enough without you being hard on yourself - we have to nurture our hearts and our souls just as much as we are nurturing our newborns. Take care of yourself and remember that no matter how you do it, fed is best.

Photography by Belle Savransky of Augusta Belle.

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As mamas, we naturally become the magic-makers for our families. We sing the songs that make the waits seem shorter, dispense the kisses that help boo-boos hurt less, carry the seemingly bottomless bags of treasures, and find ways to turn even the most hum-drum days into something memorable.

Sometimes it's on a family vacation or when exploring a new locale, but often it's in our own backyards or living rooms. Here are 12 ways to create magical moments with kids no matter where your adventures take you.


1. Keep it simple

Mary Poppins may be practically perfect in every way, but―trust us―your most magical memories don't require perfection. Spend the morning building blanket forts or break out the cookie cutters to serve their sandwich in a fun shape and you'll quickly learn that, for kids, the most magical moments are often the simplest.

2. Get on their level

Sometimes creating a memorable moment can be as easy as getting down on the floor and playing with your children. So don't be afraid to get on your hands and knees, to swing from the monkey bars, or turn watching your favorite movie into an ultimate snuggle sesh.

3. Reimagine the ordinary

As Mary says, "the cover is not the book." Teach your child to see the world beyond initial impressions by encouraging them to imagine a whole new world as you play―a world where the laundry basket can be a pirate ship or a pile of blankets can be a castle.

4. Get a little messy

Stomp in muddy puddles. Break out the finger paint. Bake a cake and don't worry about frosting drips on the counter. The messes will wait, mama. For now, let your children―and yourself―live in these moments that will all too soon become favorite memories.

5. Throw out the plan

The best-laid plans...are rarely the most exciting. And often the most magical moments happen by accident. So let go of the plan, embrace the unexpected, and remember that your child doesn't care if the day goes according to the schedule.

6. Take it outside

There's never a wrong time of year to make magic outside. Take a stroll through a spring rainstorm, catch the first winter snowflakes on your tongue, or camp out under a meteor shower this summer. Mother Nature is a natural at creating experiences you'll both remember forever.

7. Share your childhood memories

Chances are if you found it magical as a child, then your kids will too. Introduce your favorite books and movies (pro tip: Plan a double feature with an original like Mary Poppins followed with the sequel, Mary Poppins Returns!) or book a trip to your favorite family vacation spot from the past. You could even try to recreate photos from your old childhood with your kids so you can hang on to the memory forever.

8. Just add music

Even when you're doing something as humdrum as prepping dinner or tidying up the living room, a little music has a way of upping the fun factor. Tell Alexa to cue up your favorite station for a spontaneous family dance party or use your child's favorite movie soundtrack for a quick game of "Clean and Freeze" to pick up toys at the end of the day.

9. Say "yes"

Sometimes it can feel like you're constantly telling your child "no." While it's not possible to grant every request (sorry, kiddo, still can't let you drive the car!), plan a "yes" day for a little extra magic. That means every (reasonable) request gets an affirmative response for 24 hours. Trust us―they'll never forget it.

10. Let them take the lead

A day planned by your kid―can you imagine that? Instead of trying to plan what you think will lead to the best memories, put your kid in the driver's seat by letting them make the itinerary. If you have more than one child, break up the planning so one gets to pick the activity while the other chooses your lunch menu. You just might end up with a day you never expected.

11. Ask more questions

Odds are, your child might not remember every activity you plan―but they will remember the moments you made them feel special. By focusing the conversation on your little one―their likes, dislikes, goals, or even just craziest dreams―you teach them that their perspective matters and that you are their biggest fan.

12. Turn a bad day around

Not every magical moment will start from something good. But the days where things don't go to plan can often turn out to be the greatest memories, especially when you find a way to turn even a negative experience into a positive memory. So don't get discouraged if you wake up to rain clouds on your beach day or drop the eggs on the floor before breakfast―take a cue from Mary Poppins and find a way to turn the whole day a little "turtle."

Mary Poppins Returns available now on Digital & out on Blue-ray March 19! Let the magic begin in your house with a night where everything is possible—even the impossible ✨

After a pregnancy that is best described as uncomfortable, Jessica Simpson is finally done "Jess-tating" and is now a mama of three.

Baby Birdie Mae Johnson joined siblings Ace and Maxwell on Tuesday, March 19, Simpson announced via Instagram.

Simpson's third child weighed in at 10 pounds, 13 ounces.

Birdie's name is no surprise to Jessica's Instagram followers, who saw numerous references to the name in her baby shower photos and IG stories in the last few weeks.

The name Birdie isn't in the top 1000 baby names according to the Social Security Administration, but It has been seeing a resurgence in recent years, according to experts.

"Birdie feels like a sassy but sweet, down-to-earth yet unusual name," Pamela Redmond Satran of Nameberry told Town and Country back in 2017. "It's also just old enough to be right on time."

At this moment in time, Simpson and her husband, former NFL player Eric Johnson, are probably busy counting little fingers and toes , which is great news because it means Simpson's toes can finally deflate. She's had a terrible time with swollen feet during this pregnancy, and was also hospitalized multiple times due to bronchitis in her final trimester.

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We're so glad to see Simpson's little Birdie has finally arrived!

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Spring is officially here and if you're looking for a way to celebrate the change in the season, why not treat the kids to some ice cream, mama?

DQ locations across the country (but not the ones in malls) are giving away free small vanilla cones today, March 20! So pack up the kids and get to a DQ near you.

And if you can't make it today, from March 21 through March 31, DQ's got a deal where small cones will be just 50 cents (but you have to download the DQ mobile app to claim that one).

Another chain, Pennsylvania-based Rita's Italian Ice is also dishing up freebies today, so if DQ's not your thing you can grab a free cup of Italian ice instead.

We're so excited that ice cream season is here and snowsuit season is behind us. Just a few short weeks and the kids will be jumping through the sprinklers.

Welcome back, spring. We've missed you!

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The woman who basically single-handedly taught the world to embrace vulnerability and imperfection is coming to Netflix and we cannot wait to binge whatever Brené Brown's special will serve up because we'll probably be better people after watching it.

It drops on April 19 and is called Brené Brown: The Call to Courage. If it has even a fraction of the impact of her books or the viral Ted talk that made her a household name, it's going to be life and culture changing.

Announcing the special on Instagram Brown says she "cannot believe" she's about to be "breaking some boundaries over at Netflix" with the 77-minute special.

Netflix describes the special as a discussion of "what it takes to choose courage over comfort in a culture defined by scarcity, fear and uncertainty" and it sounds exactly like what we need right now.

April 19 is still pretty far away though, so if you need some of Brown's wisdom now, check out her books on Amazon or watch (or rewatch) the 2010 Ted Talk that put her—and our culture's relationship with vulnerability and shame—in the national spotlight.

The power of vulnerability | Brené Brown

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If Marie Kondo's Netflix show got people tidying up, Brown's Netflix special is sure to be the catalyst for some courageous choices this spring.

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My husband and I recently had a date night that included being away from our son overnight for the first time since he was born three years ago (but don't let your heads run away with a fantasy—we literally slept because we were exhausted #thisiswhatwecallfunnow). It was a combination of a late night work event, a feeling that we had to do something just for the two of us, and simple convenience. It would have taken hours to get home from the end of a very long day when we could just check into a hotel overnight and get home early the next day.

But before that night, I fretted about what to do. How would childcare work? No one besides me or my husband has put our son to bed, and we have never not been there when he wakes up in the morning.

Enter: Grandma.

I knew if there was any chance of this being successful, the only person that could pull it off is one of my son's favorite people—his grandmother. Grammy cakes. Gramma. We rely so much on these extended support systems to give us comfort and confidence as parents and put our kids at ease. Technically, we could parent without their support, but I'm so glad we don't have to.

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So as we walked out the door, leaving Grandma with my son for one night, I realized how lucky we are that she gets it...

She gets it because she always comes bearing delicious snacks. And usually a small toy or crayons in her bag for just the right moment when it's needed.

She gets it because she comes with all of the warmth and love of his parents but none of the baggage. None of the first time parent jitters and all of the understanding that most kids just have simple needs: to eat, play and sleep.

She gets it because she understands what I need too. The reassurance that my baby will be safe. And cared for.

She gets it because she's been in my shoes before. Decades ago, she was a nervous new mama too and felt the same worries. She's been exactly where we are.

She gets it because she shoos us away as we nervously say goodbye, calling out cheerfully, "Have fun, I've got this." And I know that she does.

She gets it because she will get down on the floor with him to play Legos—even though sometimes it's a little difficult to get back up.

She gets it because she will fumble around with our AppleTV—so different from her remote at home—to find him just the right video on Youtube that he's looking for.

She gets it because she diligently takes notes when we go through the multi-step bedtime routine that we've elaborately concocted, passing no judgment, and promising that she'll follow along as best as she can.

She gets it because she'll break the routine and lay next to him in bed when my son gets upset, singing softly in his ear until she sees his eyelids droop heavy and finally fall asleep.

She gets it because she'll text us to let us know when he's fallen asleep because she knows we'll be wondering.

She gets it because just like our son trusts us as his mom and dad, Grandma is his safe space. My son feels at ease with her—and that relaxes me, too.

She gets it because when we come home from our "big night out" the house will be clean. Our toddler's play table that always has some sort of sticky jelly residue on it will be spotless. The dishwasher empty. (Side note: She is my hero.)

She gets it because she shows up whenever we ask. Even when it means having to rearrange her schedule. Even when it means she has to sleep in our home instead of her own.

She gets it because even though she has her own life, she makes sure to be as involved in ours as she can. But that doesn't mean she gives unsolicited advice. It means that she's there. She comes to us or lets us come to her. Whenever we need her.

She gets it because she takes care of us, too. She's there to chat with at the end of a long day. To commiserate on how hard motherhood and working and life can be, but to also gently remind me, "These are the best days."

After every time Grandma comes over, she always leaves a family that feels so content. Fulfilled by her presence. The caretaking and nourishment (mental and food-wise) and warmth that accompanies her.

We know this is a privilege. We know we're beyond lucky that she is present and wants to be involved and gets it. We know that sometimes life doesn't work out like this and sometimes Grandma lives far away or is no longer here, or just doesn't get it. So we hold on. And appreciate every moment.

As Grandma leaves, I hug her tight and tell her, "I can't thank you enough. We couldn't have done this without you." Because we can't. And we wouldn't want to.

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