I spent some time today with my dear mama friend, Jessa Le Louie. When I became a mom, I started asking my mom friends who had babies before me for ALL the advice, especially with feeding. There’s just something about turning to a trusted friend who has been there before you! It’s such a great feeling to be able to pay it forward when you become that friend to one of yours as they become a new mom. I was lucky enough to have Mason about 6 months before Jessa had her baby, Olive, and be able to be that friend for her at first. Now, as our babies are a little bit older, we’ve evolved to just feel like we’re going through the journey together! Plus, our babies were delivered by the same doctor at the same hospital, so we're definitely sister mamas! So today, I want to share my mama friend + sister with you! Jessa has been breastfeeding for 8 months and has experience pumping as well. Whether you haven’t known who to reach out to or just want to hear another perspective, this blog post is for you!
Ailana J.: Hey, Jessa! Thanks for spending some time with us today. First of all, tell us a bit about your cutie little baby, Olive.
Jessa Le Louie: Olive is currently 8 months old and was born on her exact due date, January 1st. She wanted us all to know how punctual she was I guess. She is our little Dora the explorer right now. She bear-crawls her way to anything and everything that catches her eye, which then goes directly into her mouth for a taste test. She always monitors every person in the room. She likes to spend her time observing and learning new people. She is a happy and mellow baby. Although, she has found her voice recently, which is extremely high pitched! Olive’s pediatrician also pinned the tail on the donkey when he said she was analytical. Oh boy, she is a sharp cookie. It’s hard to trick her when it comes to a bottle and “the real thing,” for example. Hence the reason she is solely breastfed after attempting the bottle since she was 8 weeks old.
AJ: I seriously cannot imagine how frustrating it was trying to get Olive to take a bottle! That girl is so strong willed! But it is so great that you have had so much success with breastfeeding. What has breastfeeding overall been like for you?
JL: The first 3 months were DEMANDING and not as enjoyable as 4+ months. The beginning was hard because you really don’t get personal time, you’re nursing, then letting baby nap on you a lot because that’s where they find most of their comfort and then before you know it they’re eating again. LOL 4+ months has been amazing. We hit our stride where mommy and baby have it all figured it out. Not to mention I’m not nursing 10 times a day anymore.
AJ: Ugh, yes! I remember those days of marathon nursing! What was it like at the beginning? Your biggest surprise or funny story as you were navigating learning how to breastfeed?
JL: The beginning was tough. It takes a lot of patience and flexibility on mommy’s behalf. I think the biggest surprise is that, even though you just carried your baby for 9 months, you basically still carry them on your body for the first 3-4 months after delivery. So, yes that means occasionally having to pee while they nurse 🤷🏽
AJ: Oh geez! How funny! Mason was super weird about being moved while he was latched. It’s like he didn’t want to be disturbed! If I moved, he’d get pissed and not want to continue nursing. It’s funny how you learn these little things about your baby, especially with something as intimate as breastfeeding. When did you really know you hit your stride with breastfeeding?
JL: Around 3-4 months when both myself and baby got more experience and finally figured out some kind of routine. And it gets even better 6 months and beyond. Right now she is 8 months and I absolutely love breastfeeding her and being able to continue bonding. I love being her person.
AJ: I love that! That’s such a perfect way to put it. I loved being Mason’s person! What has been your favorite part of the experience? What has been the hardest?
JL: My favorite part is knowing that my baby is getting really good nutrients from me and her and I are continuing to bond and become closer and closer every day. The hardest part was when she was feeding 8-10 times a day because it was such a demanding full time job and not as enjoyable for me personally.
AJ: Girl, I get it. That was so tough for me too. Something else that was tough for me was adjusting to my body feeling and looking totally different. You’re someone who has always been really fit and eaten well. How did you deal with adjusting to your new mom bod?
JL: Look, it’s not easy. It was challenging going from the best shape I’ve been in my entire life (wedding ready) to postpartum body. On one hand, you’re over the moon about your new baby and, on the other, you can’t even look at yourself in the mirror. However, once you clear those negative thoughts and surround yourself with positive people, you soon recognize what a blessing it is to give the gift of life and then you give your body the proper gratitude it deserves for enduring it. Our bodies are meant to evolve and it’s important to not only love on yourself, but be a positive body role model to all the girls and women out there. Lastly, don’t wait to fit into your old clothes…buy ones that fit now and live your life. I bought new jeans a size up and was so happy because it was a way of me accepting my new body.
AJ: That is so true. It is so mind-blowing what our bodies can do! But, you’re right –I was in the same boat as you where I went from the best shape of my life to a postpartum body. And it is not easy to adjust your mindset. Once you do, though, it seriously makes the world of difference. You also have the blessing of having such a great sense of style and an amazing wardrobe. I 100% agree with buying some key things that fit your new body to make you feel your best! But how did you make your existing wardrobe work for you in this new season of life? What’s one must-have that you added to your wardrobe to make breastfeeding easier? What’s something you wish you had, but didn’t buy?
JL: I continued to wear almost all my dresses during pregnancy and postpartum. Babydoll dresses are so cute in particular and are very forgiving on your body. The one thing I couldn’t live without were the soft nursing bralettes that you just pull to the side and nurse. No clips or padding, just a simple bralette for around the house.
The one thing I wish I had was a nursing and pumping duo bra that was comfy for all day wear that gave support too. I used my Haakaa at every single feeding for 5 months and it was tragic when that thing came off and my milk spilled everywhere. Having a bra that would have held it up correctly and prevented spills would have been a major life saver.
AJ: OMG 100%! That is exactly how I felt too, which is how I even decided to develop the Perfect All-in-One bra in the first place! But we’ll both be able to have it in the future for baby #2, whenever that day comes! So, how long do you plan on breastfeeding?
JL: Good question! I will breastfeed however long my baby and I are both happily doing it together. I am a stay at home mom now so I am blessed with having flexibility to continue our breastfeeding journey together more easily than if I were still working full time. My plan has always been a year, but you never know if it’s going to be shorter or longer. As long as we both enjoy it, we’ll keep going.
AJ: That’s awesome! I feel like being a breastfeeding mom comes with all kinds of crazy stories, especially when you nurse for longer period of time. What is the craziest thing that has happened to you while breastfeeding?
JL: Two crazy things, once when I was nursing my boobs were so full that when Olive grabbed my boob to nurse it started spraying her in the face and she was so confused! The other crazy story is just having to take a pee because you don’t want to interrupt baby, but there is no possible way to hold it any longer!
AJ: I have for sure squirted Mason in the face with milk too! LOL! I swear…no one tells us these things happen! What’s your biggest piece of advice you’d tell a new breastfeeding mom?
JL: Give yourself a lot of grace!!! But hang in there. Like truly, hang in there. There were a lot of days I wanted to quit because all I was doing all day was nursing and it was hard on me mentally, but, once I got past 3 months, things got so much easier and I started enjoying the process so much more and it continues to get better and better.
Thank you again for spending time with us today, Jessa! I hope you all got something out of this REAL TALK blog post and enjoyed some bonding time with my dear friend! If anything resonated with you, please share with a mama who could use this message too! Whether you text her this link, share it on your IG stories, or post it on Facebook, just share it. The newborn and postpartum phase can easily feel so lonely, and many of us do not know how to ask for help. Most of the time, a friend to be there is all we need and, in this post, I am lending my friend out to anyone who needs her!