Breastfeeding Expectations: The Twelfth Month

It's the final episode in our series, Breastfeeding Expectations, where we follow three breastfeeding moms through the children's first year of life. At 12 months, our moms reflect back on their one-year journey. What was their biggest challenge? What do they love most about breastfeeding? And would they do anything differently, if given the chance?

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  • Breastfeeding Expectations

    The 12-part series follows three mothers along their breastfeeding journeys throughout their first year of breastfeeding. Each month, listeners catch a glimpse into these mother’s lives, hearing about their breastfeeding triumphs and struggles, typical behavior for babies for each age and stage, and how they have grown into and embraced their roles as mothers.

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  • Breastfeeding Tips for the Working Mom

    Maternity leave was great, but now it’s time to return to work… with your pump. How can you make this experience run as smoothly as possible? What challenges will you face and how can you overcome them? What are your rights?

Episode Transcript

The Boob Group
Breastfeeding Expectations: The Twelfth Month

Please be advised, this transcription was performed by a company independent of New Mommy Media, LLC. As such, translation was required which may alter the accuracy of the transcription.

[Theme Music]

Robin Kaplan: A mother’s breastfeeding experience changes drastically over time, starting from her child’s birth throughout the month of her baby’s life. Today we have our final episode in our series called Breastfeeding Expectations. Over 12 months we had followed three new mothers along their breastfeeding journeys, learning how they cope with breastfeeding challenges and settle into the breastfeeding rhythm with their babies. Today these three ladies will reflect on the past 12 months. This is the Boob Group,.

[Theme Music/Intro]

Robin Kaplan: Welcome to The Boob Group, broadcasting from the Birth Education Centre of San Diego. The Boob Group is your weekly online on-the-go support group for all things related to breastfeeding. I am your host Robin Kaplan. I am also an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and owner of the San Diego Breastfeeding Centre. Thanks to all of our loyal listeners who have joined the Boob Group Club. Our members get all of our archived episodes, bonus content after each new show plus special giveaways and discounts. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter for a chance to win a membership to our club each month. Another way for you to stay connected is by downloading our free App available in the Android and iTunes marketplaces. Well, I would like to introduce for the last time our three lovely panelists. We have one in the car driving up to LA, so Jen, why don’t you start off first?

Jennifer Oliver: Hi! I am Jennifer Oliver, I am 34, almost 35 years old, I have two kids, Fiona is three and a half, and Bryson will be a year on 20.

Robin Kaplan: Okay, Cherri?

Cherri Christiansen: Hi! I am Cherri Christiansen, I’m 32. I have one daughter Kelly and she will be a year in just a couple of days.

Anney Hall: And I am Anney Hall and I am 36, almost 37. That is not okay and I have one daughter, she has just turned one year old.

Robin Kaplan: Well ladies, welcome back to the show.

[Theme Music]

Robin Kaplan: So, here’s a question from one of our listeners, this is from Stacey from Connecticut, “My son is a week old. When he was born he had a difficult time latching on to my nipples so the nurse gave me a nipple shield to use. It’s now seven days later and I cannot get him latch without it, he tries latches on for 20 seconds and then just start screaming and jerking his head back and forth. Are there any tips you can provide, this is so frustrating for both me and him.”

Andrea Blanco: Hi! Stacey from Connecticut, this is Andrea Blanco, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. Congratulations on your baby’s birth and I’m so sorry you’re having difficulty. It sounds like the hospital nurse may have picked up on some difficulty you and your baby may have been having and offered the nipple shield as a means of helping the baby latch on. Unfortunately, as you are experiencing nipple shields are hard to wean off of especially if the baby under breastfeeding have not been properly evaluated by an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. The first step to overcoming your breastfeeding difficulties is to see an IBCLC who can gauge why a nipple shield was introduced and then follow its use and the baby’s progress at the breast closely as you to try to wean off. In the meantime, lots of skin-to-skin contact during times unrelated to feeding like naps on your chest will help. Hope this helps!

[Theme Music]

Robin Kaplan: Today in the Boob Group we are discussing what Anney, Jen and Cherri’s breastfeeding experiences have been like during their babies 12 month. So ladies, I always like to open it up with this question just to hear what breastfeeding has been looking like for the past months. So, what is it like to breastfeed an 11 to 12-month-old and what does your breastfeeding relationship look like right now? Cherri, how about you?
Cherri Christiansen: I feel like I answer the same question, the same way every single time. I feel, I need to go back and listen to the last couple of episodes. But – no it’s good. Cali is still not eating, my husband says we’re not doing good job like trying to encourage her, but she seems just interested every now and then. Yesterday she had some melons and so, it was – when I had she some meal it touched her lips, her tongue may have licked it a little bit. But so, yeah, so breastfeeding a 12, an almost 12-month-old kind of looks the same as 11 month old, does the six month old, does the two-month-old for me.

So yeah, and it’s just – it’s still a little frustrating, we still deal her not really wanting to take anything from the bottle which I thought we had kind of dealt with. I thought she was doing okay and I discovered that when we came back from our vacation last month, my husband wasn’t being completely honest with me about just how little she was taking from the bottle. Because the other day he said, she had a great day and she took six ounces and I was like wait, she took ounces and that was a great day like what’s happening and like that explains a lot. So, yeah I'm still breastfeeding her, kind of round the clock when I’m home sort of from five, six in the evening until I leave to go to work the next morning and all night long she’s probably rooting around the bed right now looking for this boob that’s not there, because I’m here. But I’m loving it and I’m having good time and she’s happy and so, we’re doing well.

Robin Kaplan: Fantastic! How about you Anney?

Anney Hall: So, this last month I think we kind of started to wean a bit, she let go off her middle feeding, I think I talked about that last time. And so, I just stop pumping at work and that’s glorious.

Cherri Christiansen: I’m so jealous.

Anney Hall: Amazing! And then one day she just kind of got up and started walking around so I just didn’t breastfeed her in the morning and I started thinking about, okay, well I just do night time is what I’ll go towards. And then recently last week I think she started teething and she was really needy in the morning, so she just popped on every morning. And now it’s kind of sporadic. Jessie put her down without giving her anything and she was completely fine. So, I know she, it’s more just her comfort thing so that makes me feel more comfortable about when she doesn’t get it and obviously I know that it’s not really sustaining her because she’s eating food that crazy. So, we’re kind of in the weaning stage, this morning she didn’t have any milk. And so, I’m trying to just get to the night routine and that’s a lot too for me I’m not ready to let go. And I was thinking about it last night that I thought I was going to be the mom that was, all right, here’s the time, you know 12 months, let’s go and I’m just go with the flow and then am kind of taking her cue which feels really comfortable and great so, that’s where I am.

Robin Kaplan: Awesome! How about you Jen?

Jennifer Oliver: I think I’m exactly the same as Anney. So, I think that Bryson has a holiday with feeding and I’m not sure where it’s going because it’s not particularly huge so, he eats a tremendous amount during the day more than my toddler does. And I know, so I don’t breastfeed at all during the day, he’s not interested in it. Sometimes he’s interested when he first sees me and he kind of like pounds at my chest But then I get handle that’s on and then he’s not interested in actually taking my stock. He just kind of like looks at me and he goes yes, the boob is there and then he does some other thing.

So, I’m trying to stop responding to him which feels a little odd because with my first child as soon as she wanted to she can have it and she would stay on so it was just sort of this understanding that as long as the person is was available to her and that I knew that when I made it available she would actually breastfeed. But Bryson, Bryson doesn’t do that. He kind of sometimes will check to see that it’s available to him, but then he’s not actually interested in breastfeeding. So, now I would say the only time that we may have real feeding are once in the morning and then maybe once in the evening. And so really short, I don’t think my supply is up, I think I’m actually probably providing him with maybe a couple ounces and I don’t pump during the day anymore, I don’t pump at work, it’s a good thing to have really, I think I might, I’m really done with pumping for the rest of my life. I will no longer feel like a cow. So, I feel like we’re at the weaning stage, I don’t think it would be much longer before he’s completely off.

Robin Kaplan: Yeah, all right. Well, thank you so much for sharing, it’s really interesting I knew when I started this series that I was like okay, I hope everyone can make it to a year, I didn’t want anyone to feel like, we had this goal kind of set so it’s awesome that everyone’s in different stages and everyone, even though they are in the weaning process, each totally all made it to the first year.

Cherri Christiansen: I remember when you first spoke to me about it and you said there’s no pressure, you don’t have to, no expression, no judgment if we don’t make it to a year. But then I was thinking well I’ve got to at least make it to a year now. Keep your boring radio show.

Robin Kaplan: Maybe everyone should have series. Well, so and that kind of leads in to my next question Cherri. So, over the past 12 months, everyone--all three of you have dealt with some sort of breastfeeding challenge or hiccups. So, what has your biggest challenge been this year and what do you think helped you persevere through it, Cherri you want to start off?

Cherri Christiansen: Yeah, I think there’s been certainly like sort of ups and downs over the past 12 months, I don’t think anything can compare to that first – I was going to say that first month but really it was like the first twelve weeks were rough. Things got better and then it got worse and then something else came up and so, dealing with the Raynaud’s and the vasospasms and just sore nipples and just all of that, the oversupply, it was, there was so many things going on and they were all happening at the same time and I think it’s – I don’t have a any doubt in my mind that if I wasn’t as determined as I was before I even I had my daughter that I wouldn’t have gotten through that. And I definitely understand now why people don’t get through things like that. But, so I think those were definitely despite everything else those were definitely the hardest times in that. Once things got better, even if something came up, it was never as bad as it had been and so that kind of help frame things for me and give me little perspective. If you ask me what’s been like the last six months versus the first six months, definitely working and pumping has been the challenge but you can’t even compare like the irritation and frustration of pumping to the pain and sort of just emotional turmoil that was in the first couple of months so.

Robin Kaplan: Yeah, how about you Anney?

Anney Hall: Well, I’m glad that you said something about pumping because I wasn’t going talk about pumping. But I think there were two things for me. Of course, the first few months I had no idea that I would be challenged through that process, you just think you have the baby and then here we are! Because nobody talks about it, but that’s okay. And then so, I think the first biggest challenge was going back to work and pumping and not feeling comfortable with that and not having a private office and just feeling homesick during that whole putting this foreign thing on me and being in this place and so, getting comfortable in my body, getting comfortable as a mom and working and that kind of all goes together, I can’t disconnect it. And then secondly, the vasospasm process, I say process, it’s so – it hurt! So, I think that was definitely a challenge and again if I wasn’t as feeling like I wanted to persevere through 12 months I probably would have – that would have been an easy point to say forget it, I’m done.

Cherri Christiansen: Oh! I think the thing that helped me too was that it didn’t last forever. In those first couple of weeks when I was doing all these research and still trying to figure out what it was and when I first had this sort of inclination and I don’t even know if I’d seen you yet, Robin about this and we talked but you hadn’t actually been able to see my nipples and reading online, I’ve just read these stories of women who just said, you know what, it never away and I’m seven months postpartum and I’m still dealing with it or some woman who wrote and said I breastfeed till my son was 14 months and it went away when I stopped and I just thought in my head, I was really just prepared for it to be that whole time and I was like, all right, well I’m not going let this stop me until the fact that some people said, oh my gosh you had that for 12 weeks, but I’m like yeah, it was only 12 weeks, now I can say that in sort of hindsight. I can say, well I didn’t lost the whole time.

Robin Kaplan: Absolutely. How about you Jen? What would say was the most kind of challenging thing that you dealt with and how did you get through it?

Jennifer Oliver: You know that I was just thinking about -- I think because this was my second doesn’t feel so hard but they weren’t as hard as they were with Fiona. I remember with Fiona just crying and like gripping my toes and my hands and like towering through some of the breastfeeding thinking, oh my gosh, this is the worst thing ever. And I didn’t have that with Bryson though the first 12 weeks was challenging, but they weren’t – it wasn’t as difficult and I also had always in my head that this passes fast and I couldn’t feel that through the whole process, it just passes fast. Oh, it hurt again, I'm surprised that it hurts again but it sort of flies out.

And then when I think about Bryson in the most challenging, I don’t think about the first 12 weeks, I think I think about the fact that it was different and that was challenging. It’s having this the expectation that I had from feeding Fiona and that those expectations were ready to help me with Fiona and I was trying to apply them to Bryson and it didn’t work with him, it wasn’t the same experience with Bryson. And I think I had I jumped again to a place where I had sort of state that assumption that I was having and realize, oh, I have to let it go, he doesn’t need it in the same way, he doesn’t respond the same way. So, what I think is probably the most challenging and looking back at it, I think challenging because I had the faith that over and over and over again and realized that this is a very different experience, it’s hard time.

Robin Kaplan: Absolutely! It’s so interesting how different children are even if they came from the same parents and there is something that we said about that whole nature versus nurture thing because they require different parenting styles, they require different breastfeeding styles and just our expectations it’s hard to – we think it’s going to be the same and it totally isn’t. So, I appreciate you bringing that up Jen because that’s such a valid, valid point as well. So, now on the flip side beyond these challenges, what have you loved most about breastfeeding, Anney do you mind if we start with you?

Anney Hall: No, that’s okay. I think what I loved most is that it’s mine.

Cherri Christiansen: I was thinking the same thing.

Anney Hall: It’s not, it’s not Jessie’s, it’s not the people that watch Ele, it’s just mine and I get to go to work and comeback and that’s just mine and no one else can do that. So, that’s been such a sweet time for me during this I think first having a first child and having to work full time.

Robin Kaplan: Cool! How about you Cherri?

Cherri Christiansen: Yeah, I was thinking the exact same thing that at the end of the day this is something that, it’s a relationship that she’s ever going to have, only ever going to have with me and even -- I hope to have other children and I’ll have a relationship with them, but it won’t be the same. I’m sure it will be wonderful but there is just this relationship that we have and it’s just so special and you know, Anney you mention something about not feeling like a cow anymore and it’s funny because lately, I have been feeling a little bit like a cow, even without pumping. Because I come home from work and she will claw at me like sometimes that she’ll be on the ground and I just get down on all fours and kind of sneak round the corner and just see how long it takes to her to notice me and I’m on like my knees because I want to kind be at the same level with her. And yesterday she just came rushing up to me and I wasn’t like, oh hey! Mommy’s home, how are you? And she was just clawing at my shirt, literally trying to pull it off, trying to latch on and this is what she does every single day when I come home from work and it can be hard the fact that she’s so relying on me but I think that’s also what’s been so wonderful and so amazing is that she’s so relying on me and this is something that I only we have and you mentioned working full time and I remember being a couple of weeks postpartum and reading a book and it actually is – it was about nursing moms and it actually spoke about how that many women despite the fact that there’s this misnomer that you need to stop breastfeeding when you go back to work that in actual fact to the opposite is true. That it can make it much easier for someone to go back to work because you still have this bond and no matter how long you’ve gone for at the end of the day when you come home you can just pick it up and it’s seamless and it’s nothing can replace that. And I have absolutely felt that it’s been the one thing that’s made I think working full time a lot easier so.

Robin Kaplan: Very cool! How about you Jen?

Jennifer Oliver: Yeah, I mean I was just thinking on the same thing and then I was also thinking of just the actual process of breastfeeding and how much I love it, how much I love it, how I feel like it brings us so close together physically but as well emotionally and mentally and I'm used to the task like breastfeeding. I would do it so much longer with Bryson if he was interested him and wanted to do and I had a conversation with them the other day who seems like a little bit prudent about breastfeeding like, oh you know I’m going to try it and we’ll see how it goes and I just kept -- I said, I can’t tell you enough that you need to go into it knowing that it’s going to start hard because if you know that it’s going to be hard at the beginning then you can get through it and you’ll get through the best part of it and I’m just telling you that trust me in this, it is the most beautiful thing that you can do. And it will make you feel so incredible as a mother. But if you go into it just sort of with this attitude of, oh I’ll try it but if it’s hard I might just have to fall out. Then you’ll miss out on one of the best things that I think of having an infant and having a baby. It’s so special and I wish that everybody does experience that and not everybody can. So, I feel fortunate and I also want to urge everyone else to just really try and make it happen, because as you get through this first 12 weeks it does get easier, it does get better and it’s really amazing, I guess, that we as mother can provide.

Robin Kaplan: It’s perfect way of putting it, Jen. Okay, when we come back we will continue talking with Anney, Jen and Cherri about some of their thoughts on weaning for the ladies who have started this weaning process and what they feel most proud of as they’re approaching their babies first birthdays, we’ll be right back.

[Theme Music]

Robin Kaplan: Welcome back! Today, we’re talking with Anney, Jen and Cherri about breastfeeding during their babies 12 month. So, one of our Facebook followers Debbie had a question for you all and what she wanted to know was, ‘would you do anything differently another time around or just kind of looking back at how things went, is there anything that you would want to do differently or, did it kind of just pan the way that you had hoped?’ Jen, you want to take that one first?

Jennifer Oliver: Yeah, I can take it first unfortunately nothing came to me.

Robin Kaplan: No, that’s good so you would have done it exactly the same way you did?

Jennifer Oliver: I think so. I mean think that, I guess in a way I could have had a second chance to do things differently and I think I did something exactly the same as I did the first in the sense of, you know I really took all my cues from Fiona or Bryson. I went in to it with all of my effort and all of my heart. Gosh, I can’t think of anything I would do differently except for maybe try and find better places to pump when I was at work to avoid awkward situations. I don’t know if I ever talked about the situation where some kids walked in on me.

Robin Kaplan: Awesome!

Cherri Christiansen: I actually think that you should talk about where you sit when you breastfeed, I mean pump?

Robin Kaplan: Where do you sit when you pump, Jen?

Jennifer Oliver: Oh my God! I sit on my desk which is an open desk, there is no cubicle and everybody can just sit there. And actually co-workers literally sit right behind me. And she just – when we turn and talk I have literally talk to her while I’m pumping and she’s like it never gets normal.

Cherri Christiansen: No, I do remember hearing that.

Jennifer Oliver: I think I would be doing this, this is the second child, she’ like and it’s still awkward.

Robin Kaplan: Oh my God, this is so funny. Well how about you Cherri, is there anything you would have done differently?

Cherri Christianson: I don’t think so. I think I don’t like to live with regret, so I don’t spend time thinking about well, I could have done this or I could have done that. And all of the issues that I had were really unavoidable and really weren’t things that I had within my control. I had no way of knowing that I was going to have so many of those issues that I couldn’t really control the fact that I had, the supply that I did, people would kill to have the supply that I did, so I can’t complain. 12 months and I’m still donating breast milk, I’m donating to two different mom this afternoon, so yeah, I mean it’s definitely, it’s almost something that keeps me pumping even though I need to pump for Cali, it’s almost something where I just think even I didn’t need to, I wonder if I would keep pumping, if it meant that I could help someone else get to their goal of giving their child breast milk for a year.

So, I don’t know that I would change anything. I think I have one stupid little thing that I might change, I don’t know if it’s really related. But, among many of the things that I did to try and treat Raynaud’s was I went rushing off to go get acupuncture which everyone swore would help me and they told me it was, could be caused by a hormonal imbalance and so we’re regulating your hormones and my cycle came back at eight weeks postpartum, which I like to blame on that acupuncture that just got everything working so well. Which probably was part of the reason why I did get better at 12 weeks but that kind of sucks because I thought that I was supposed to have this like lovely vacation from getting my period for like a year or two years.

Robin Kaplan: Especially since she bed share and you nurse like all night.

Cherri Christiansen: Yes, and no pacifiers and no bottles and no nothing for like months and months and months and yeah, eight weeks so, may be nine. So yes, sometimes I wonder I’m like, what I have sucked it up and had the pain a little bit longer, probably not so. Yes, I don’t think that there would be anything that I would change.

Robin Kaplan: Okay, how about you Anney?

Anney Hall: I think it would just be related to seeking help. So, I feel so supported and every month we get together and we get to talk about our thing. So, if I was someone who wasn’t getting together and talking about these things I might not have brought up the vasospasm, I just would have dealt with it, which is totally my personality. So, I would definitely have called my lactation consultant the minute I started thinking something different because it wasn’t until I talked to you that you said, oh! Well, that’s that issue, do this, this and this. And it was like a moment of freedom. I can fix this? I don’t just have to deal with this? So, I would say that I would just seek help right away.

Robin Kaplan: Okay, and I do want to ask Anney and Jen a little bit about this weaning process so you kind of alluded to where you both are just kind of not necessarily offering as much and just kind of following your baby’s lead and things like that. Is there anything else you want to add about this weaning has gone?

Anney Hall: Yeah, I think it’s a little you said, did our breastfeeding experience live up to our expectations and I don’t know if I had any expectations other than I thought it was going to be easy. Sort of knowing in my head that it would be hard at the beginning but you don’t really know until you feel it. But the weaning process, I just thought would be okay, like sort of like schedule or at least that’s how I thought I would handle it. So, I think that sort of it feels just right to just sort of follow her lead and connect with her and when she’s fine and on run around then I don’t have to and so that sort of it’s all happening naturally which feels right. So, I like that, I don’t, I’m not setting a schedule to force her on something which feels right.

Robin Kaplan: Cool! How about you Jen?

Jennifer Oliver: Yeah, I think the same. I think the only difference is that I feel like I am pulling away a little bit during the day time and it’s really because of my frustration with its process which is that he’s going count on me to have some breastfeeding moments have been like it just have been that I only breastfeed for literally a second. And then I would be like, oh and looking away and looking away, and then I will keep trying and trying and trying until finally, I gave up. So, I think the only thing that’s happening is I do feel that I am pulling away, which is just a little contrary to kind of looking back and forth that moment, but I kind of know that or at least I think I know that he doesn’t actually want to breastfeed, he actually just check to see if my boobs are still there.

Cherri Christiansen: You didn’t go anywhere, right they’re still there? Okay I can keep going.

Robin Kaplan: He just sounds like a typical dude?

Jennifer Oliver: I mean honestly, I mean he doesn’t even wait till there is a letdown or anything. He just check in if they were there and then he wants to do something else.

Anney Hall: Jen, I think you have a player on your hands, pretty sure, pretty sure.

Jennifer Oliver: Yeah, I’m pretty sure. I have seen him interact with little girls.

Anney Hall: That’s right and he just wants to make sure that they’re there, all right keep following me.

Robin Kaplan: Too funny. Well, Cherri, Leslie from Facebook had a question specifically for you and she wanted to know, ‘how long you thought you were going to continue breastfeeding? Have you now that you’ve met your goal of a year and you had also talked about maybe moving to, you know setting a goal for two years. Have you even set a goal or you just kind of riding with that?’

Cherri Christianson: I kind of – a little bit both. I think at the beginning I kind of had four goals in mind and technically I have only met one of them so far. And those four goals were make it to six months, but I kind of just like, all right at the bare minimum let’s see if I can get it to six months. Then my second goal was I’d love to make it to a year. The third goal was once I get to a year let’s see if we can get to two. And then the fourth goal was to go as long as we both – mutually desirable and the third and fourth goal, well I guess the fourth goal could have been anytime really. There is no time limit attached to that because she might decide she’s done kind of like Bryson, I’m not interested she could decide she’s done it. 12 months she could decide she’s done with. Three, I really don’t know what that looks like.

In retrospect I think, I was just thinking about this yesterday and I was like there was really fifth goal because in those early weeks I kind of – it was like, okay just get through today. Every day was like I just need to get through today, I just need to get through like this 2:00 a.m. feeding that’s always like the pain of me where I’d be crying and hysterical. But, so yes, so now I’ve made it to one year I am definitely keep going. I don’t have a set number in mind because I don’t want to feel like put this pressure on myself that it’s two years and I don’t get to two years and I feel like I let myself down. Because if I made it to 18 months like that’s incredible. I think someone who makes to 18 days is wonderful.

So, I don’t -- even though in my head I’m thinking gosh, I would loved to make it to two or I’d loved to go as long as she wants to. I don’t want that to be something where I ever like I let myself down or I let her down. And the one thing that’s actually going through my mind now is, we do we want to have another child and what I’m wondering is, when is the right time for that? And if I’m still breastfeeding Cali what is that going to look like. Because we talked about things that we would change and not having any control over a lot of the things we experienced. What’s going to happen to my milk supply during a pregnancy is a perfect example of something I probably don’t have that much control over and so, that’s something that may impact. I’d be happy to nurse through a pregnancy, I would be happy to tandem nurse, in fact I would love to, I don’t know if that’s in the cards, so we’ll see.

Robin Kaplan: I do want to mention, just not really off-topic, but since Cali has been -- you’ve been working on solids and she hasn’t been super excited about them yet and she’s coming upon this year, I have a very good friend in San Diego who sees a pediatrician also in San Diego and her daughter is also exclusively breastfed up to 12 months and just had her year birthday and is still not eating solids and her pediatrician said look at her weight, look at how she’s doing, just keep trying like it, and no pressure whatsoever. I’m so glad that you’re continuing the breastfeed because she’s getting everything she needs, so I did want to share that because I’m sure you’re probably getting similar feedback here and there but --

Cherri Christianson: Yeah, for the most part it’s one of those things just kind of like having a baby at home, you just don’t volunteer that information in a group of strangers. Yes, now I’m just going to have it on the floor in my bedroom, you know so --

Robin Kaplan: I thought that tub looked quite nice.

Cherri Christianson: So, it’s one of those things that – there are some people who know and people, what! she still not eating? But she’s almost triple her birth weight and she’s not even 12 months, she’s doing great, she’s super healthy, she’s never really been sick, I don’t really see anything to worry about. My pediatrician when I saw him at nine months didn’t seem very concerned and I have a really good friend and I’m kind of taking her lead on everything throughout my pregnancy and throughout my first year and her daughter just really wasn’t interested until 14 months. And then one day she’s just kind of like woke up and was like, oh, food and it was on her own time and her own schedule, just the same way babies choose to wean when they’re ready so --

Robin Kaplan: And potty train.

Cherri Christianson: And potty train, exactly. So, I just see as one of those things where I found myself -- we always wanted to do baby led weaning and I find myself sometimes think, yeah, take it, take it, trying to like force this little piece of something in her mouth and I stopped and think I’m like that’s totally against everything that I’m trying to do. I don’t want her – if she doesn’t want it, she doesn’t want it. I don’t have to force breast milk down that’s for sure. So, we’ll just take it as it comes, so I might be back here, I’ll cry if I’m back here at two years. She’ s not eating solids. I’ve never met an adult that didn’t eat eventually so I’m not going to worry.

Robin Kaplan: Exactly!

Anney Howe: Well, and that’s the thing too is that it’s not like you’re not disciplining your child like you’re in a place where you’re being too lenient or you’re letting your child do whatever they want and take over the house. It’s --

Robin Kaplan: It’s all about respect.

Anney Hall: -- a connection with you – it’s respect and it’s respecting her process.

Robin Kaplan: Exactly!

Anney Howe: And your relationship with you, so I think it’s beautiful.

Robin Kaplan: Well, one last question for you all before we end our show today. What has been your most favorite of motherhood? Now, it doesn’t have to be breastfeeding-related at all, but just we’ve been getting to know you all for the past year, and just curious what have you enjoyed the most?

Cherri Christianson: I don’t know, I mean you said it doesn’t have to be breastfeeding related. But definitely breastfeeding is one of it. I mean I don’t think you can come and get up at the crack of dawn every, third or fourth Saturday and come and talk about breastfeeding if it’s not something that you love and you’re passionate about. So, I really think that’s been one of my favorite things. I think I’ve just discovered this whole set of like a community of moms that have just been such a great sense of support for me both in person and real life here in San Diego as well as online. And I feel like I’ve just had so much support throughout this whole process and I think just I always knew that I was going to love being a mom, I really, really did and I never had any doubt about that but you never know, and I just like, I have friends who -- they love their kids and love being a mom but they don’t -- they’re happy to work, they would rather work, for me I would rather home with her and I’m not because I can’t right now. But I didn’t want to say, oh I know that for sure when I have my baby this is what’s going be like because you just never know and I don’t want eat my words but now that I’m there and I mean that place, I love her more than I could ever possibly imagine. Like I never ever thought that was possible, you hear it but you don’t really – until you’re experiencing it and I remember someone saying to me, just make sure you don’t lose your identity and disappear into just being mom and I think I’m so much more than just mom, but if that’s all that I was, that would be okay with me as for right now.

Robin Kaplan: Now, you make me cry.

Cherri Christianson: Yeah, and there are so many and I’ve been volunteering as a doula and I’ve been studying breastfeeding and I work and I have a full-time job and I have my family and all these different things but if all I did was just be her mom like that would be enough, that would be amazing.

Robin Kaplan: Thank you, it’s beautiful All right Anney?

Anney Hall: Well, I know I’d choked up. I mean I’m going to cry. I want to say that there is two things. So, one is sort of just related to me personally that the role of being a mom is perfect. It’s what it’s supposed to be in my life and the role of the woman that I’m becoming in this life. So, that in it of itself I didn’t know what to expect for that feeling. And then two, I think my favorite thing is falling in love. I didn’t know that it would be like falling in love. I just thought you would have this emotion when you see your baby and then they’re breastfeeding it’s you love them. No, it was this process of falling in love with this human being and adding her life and her light and love into my world and so I think it’s just speak to just the whole concept of love in life, just that there is we can expand so much and that and so adding her into this is just unbelievable.

Robin Kaplan: Cool, thank you. How about you Jen?

Jennifer Oliver: I love that you said the I think the expanding, it’s amazing our capacity for love, it’s amazing because when I had Fiona and I was pregnant with the second child I kept thinking how am I ever going love the second child as I used to love my first.

Robin Kaplan: I was thinking the exact same thing when Anney was saying that too.

Jennifer Oliver: I honestly didn’t know how it should be – I actually thought it was unfair. I thought it was unfair for the second baby to be coming into this environment because there is not going to be enough of love left because I am so in love with my first child and then I had him and then I, of course, I fell in love with him the first moment but as Anney put I just don’t – it just builds and builds and builds and honestly I am so in awe at our capacity to love and how much love there is. And I could have two or three more and I would love them as much and maybe I want two, three more I’m not sure.

Robin Kaplan: Garrick, are you listening?

Jennifer Oliver: I honestly, honestly and I would love to have five, six kids. They are so amazing and they’re so beautiful and they fill my life with so much every day. Every day I feel so fortunate to have both of them and I feel so lucky and then I also realize that I only have two bedrooms in our house and I have no idea how we’re going to send them all to college so maybe I won’t have five but I'm going miss this time. I’m realizing that on June 18, Bryson will turn one and then I’ll no longer have an infant in my house and no longer have a little baby and it starts to enter this next phase of walking and talking and I’m really sad about that, I really love babies.

Cherri Christiansen: I feel like we were just here, like I remember the day that I met Anney and Jen for the first time and I remember how we were kind of struggling to sit on these uncomfortable chairs with our sore bottoms like I remember –

Anney Howe: Yeah, I’m pretty sure I brought you donut.

Cherri Christianson: Yeah, I remember we left and went into the other room to go grab pillows to come back and settle, I mean I remember that like it was yesterday and that I was about 11 months and we’re not quite a year yet. But it’s hard to believe that a year has gone by and I was thinking the same thing Jen, then I was just like, where is my little baby. I think it’s time to start, yeah, pour me a drink, Anney.

Anney Howe: Yeah, we’re drinking in the studio by the way, as a celebration. No I got it, I got dig until five.

Cherri Christianson: Oh yeah, let the breastfeeding women drink.

Robin Kaplan: Absolutely!

Cherri Christiansen: That’s a good point, Robin.

Robin Kaplan: Absolutely! All right, well ladies thank you so, so much Anney, Jen and Cherri for chatting with us about breastfeeding your baby during his or her past year. It’s crazy I can’t believe that this series is actually over. It has been an absolute pleasure sharing these recording days with and we’re so thankful for your dedication to the show and your candidness with which you share your experiences with our listeners. So, I said thank you, with a beautiful boutique of flowers that no one can see, but you get those, we’ve obviously been drinking mimosas. Sorry Jen. And also each of you’ll be getting a free year subscription to Parent Savers which we hope maybe you’ll join us on that show as well.

Cherri Christiansen: Thank you.

Robin Kaplan: And a CD with all 12 of your episodes so that way you can keep them for your baby so that she and he can listen to you guys talking about your experiences with them when they get older.

Anney Howe: Oh, I love that.

Cherri Christiansen: That was one of the thing I was most excited about and as someone who last night had this epiphany that Cali will be a year and not only have if I not filled out a single page of a scrapbook, but I have not written a word in the pregnancy book that I bought, nine months of emptiness in that book, I’m like this is an easy to kind of have a little keepsake.

Robin Kaplan: Absolutely! You might want to download it on your computer too because my thought is what if we don’t have CDs when they want to listen to this in 20 years but still –

Cherri Christiansen: Mom, you have CD, oh my gosh! What is that? Old school.

Anney Howe: Do you hang it from a tree?

Robin Kaplan: All right and so for our Boob Group Club members our conversation will continue at the end of the show, as Anney, Jen and Cherri will be discussing one last thing about where they found their best breastfeeding support over the past 12 months. For more information about our Boob Group Club please visit our website at

[Theme Music]

Robin Kaplan: Before we wrap things up, here’s Wendy Wright talking about breastfeeding tips for the working mom.

Wendy Wright: Hi! Boob Group listeners, I’m Wendy Wright, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and owner of Lactation Navigation in Palo Alto, California. I’m here to answer some of your most common questions about returning to work as a breastfeeding mother, such as are there tricks to using my breast pump at work? There certainly are! And let’s review a few.

The first thing I’d like to recommend is to set up a pumping routine and try to stick to it as closely as possible. By a pumping routine, I mean the times of day when you will typically pump while at work. For example, 10:00 a.m., noon and 3:00 p.m. Evenly spread throughout the day will allow you to produce as much milk as possible. By sticking as closely as possible to these times each day, your body will adjust and will learn to provide milk for the pump at those times. A little flexibility is okay, 30 minutes either side, but to get the most milk each day, try to stick as closely as possible to your pumping schedule.

I’d also like to recommend that you practice pumping while on maternity leave. Learn which settings works best for you learn how long it takes you to set up and take it down and even learn the times of day which are most productive for your body. This way, you’ll have no surprises when you return to work. I’d also like to recommend that you relax as much as possible while pumping. Your body will have an easier time letting down and relaxation will also help you save up your strength for the rest of the day, making milk and then providing it for your infant at home.

I’d like to also recommend that everyone purchase a hands-free bra. These are available at many retail centers and they simply allow you to hold the pumping flanges to your breast without the use of your hands. Then you’ll have your hands available to drink coffee, a nice relaxing glass of herbal tea, have a healthy snack and also for breast compression, compressing breast while pumping can increase the amount of expressed milk that we get from each pumping session.

Remember to pump for approximately 15 minutes every three hours and to maximize your pump settings by going as high as possible in the suction mode without pain will help you get the most from each pumping session.

Thanks for listening today and please visit for great information about my business Lactation Navigation. Be sure to listen to the Boob Group for fantastic conversations about breastfeeding and breastfeeding support.

[Theme Music]

Robin Kaplan: That wraps up our show for today. We appreciate you listening to The Boob Group. Don’t forget to check out our sister shows, Preggie Pals’ for Expecting Parents and our show Parent Savers for Moms and Dads with Newborns, Infants and Toddlers. Coming up next week we have a bit of celebrity on the show, Jessica from The Leaky Boob will be here chatting about traveling with her breastfeeding child or with the breastfeeding child. Thanks for listening to The Boob Group; Your Judgment Free Breastfeeding Resource.

This has been a New Mommy Media production. Information and material contained in this episode are presented for educational purposes only. Statements and opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those of New Mommy Media and should not be considered facts. Though information in which areas are believed to be accurate, it is not intended to replace or substitute for professional, Medical or advisor care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating health care problem or disease or prescribing any medications. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health or the health of your baby, please seek assistance from a qualified health care provider.

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