32,400 Minutes

(some of my favorite feeding photos since birth. Taken by Grant, myself and the 1st one by my sister Anna.)

3 hours a day

21 hours a week

90 hours a month

540 hours in 6 months

22 1/2 days of strait breastfeeding since birth.

I have almost spent an entire month since she has been born just feeding her.

If you’ve ever wondered why new moms talk about breastfeeding so much, the numbers above are why.

Everyone’s experience with breastfeeding is different. For us, once we made it past the first 3 weeks we were golden. So convenient. So comforting. Keeps us close. We love it. It is a lot of work and time (see numbers above) so part of me is glad 6 months of feeding is behind us but a larger part of me is kind of sad that so many months have already past.

Transitioning into motherhood is not nearly as strange as some may imagine it to be. I had always hoped breastfeeding would feel normal and it has.

Bodies are just knocking my socks off this year.

And while I’m crunching numbers.. if breastfeeding is suppose to burn and extra 500 calories a day that’s 11,000 calories that should be missing from my bod. Somehow the baby’s home has managed to hang on for dear life. Sometimes when we are rolling around on the ground together and she comes upon her old home (ie: belly mush) she will start rooting around and sucking like it’s another body part altogether. I can’t decide if the joke is on her or me.

Today my little munchkin is 6months old. I have single single-handedly kept her alive with my body for 16 entire months. I think that deserves a huge prize!!..Maybe the prize is a baby that has survived for 16 entire months.

6month photos and thoughts coming soon. Just had to rely those numbers since today is a landmark day.

What are your thoughts on breastfeeding? Did it work for you and your babes?

Alli - These are so tasteful, and yet, I still think you are so brave to post them! Beautiful.

I guess my numbers would be a bit higher. For the first 2 months it was EIGHT hours a day–it took my little man forever to latch and forever to nurse. Then it gradually moved down to 7, 6, 5, and at 9 months, I think we’re down to about 3 hours a day. I thought it would be such a natural thing for both of us, but it is SO much work, and it is very hard (not to mention painful for the first while!). But the benefits are so worth it.

I also wonder if the belly paunch will ever disappear.August 18, 2011 – 3:48 pm

Rachel - Alli, thank you! I did have to be brave but if it wasn’t me I wouldn’t think twice about posting…and for heavens sake! I’m just feeding my baby! If in some small way I can help so others don’t feel like it has to be so hidden & covered up I will! Also the numbers were a guesstimate. I’ve probably spent more time than that. In the beginning I swear it was all day every day! xo.August 18, 2011 – 3:58 pm

Jen - First off .. I am a big fan of your work. Always so beautiful! I am not sure about hours but I breastfed my daughter until her 2nd birthday (to the day). She wouldn’t take a bottle EVER and it was so easy/convenient for me. When my son came along 3 years later I breastfed him until his first birthday when he basically said “enough is enough mum”. I have to say that both of my children are super healthy and rarely get sick. Just saying….. Enjoy this time!August 18, 2011 – 4:06 pm

Lisa - Love these pics, Rach! I feel the same way about breastfeeding. Loved it so, but also a lotta work. And once you get the hang of it, so nice. Yes, Congrats are in order. Way to go!!!

Isn’t it strange–I’ve only not been breastfeeding for 2 months now, and already it seems so far away. Say it ain’t so! And I remember so much about 6 months–but also seems forever ago, almost another lifetime. They grow so fast, and luckily each stage just makes you love them more. And also, Nova is one of the cutest babies. For real. :) August 18, 2011 – 4:14 pm

mary kane - I’m tearing up. I love this post so much! It made me miss nursing my babies! Your photos really capture the intimacy of breastfeeding, and you look beautiful.August 18, 2011 – 4:17 pm

brooke - Amen. Love the photos Rachel, they’re beautiful. Congratulation on six months of breastfeeding. It’s something you should be proud of… it’s hard work! And if it’s any consolation, my body is also one that holds on to every last darned calorie when BF. ;0) Dang well worth it.August 18, 2011 – 7:23 pm

Flor Austin - Beautiful pictures!August 18, 2011 – 8:41 pm

jolie - i love this post and your picture although i have to say i have now weaned my baby at 7 months and i am so glad to be free!

bf’ing was tremendously hard for me and i thought i would never make it. took an hour to feed my baby even up to 4 weeks and by 6 weeks was still taking 20min. had every issue problem with bf’ing in the book and some not even in the book. my husband says he’s proud that i lasted that long since i was about to give up at week 3 but decided at each feeding that i would try ONE more time. it was bittersweet to wean since i feel bad that she’s not getting my nutrients but it’s so so much easier on me this way. i always envy women who have lots of milk, always struggled with supply but i’m very thankful that my baby has never gotten sick so far (knock on wood) and had such a voracious appetite it was hard for mommy to keep up. :) August 18, 2011 – 8:45 pm

Diana - What beautiful, precious photos! Congrats on six months old! I’m on my fourth babe and breastfeeding has only become more precious each time. It’s a truly special experience.August 18, 2011 – 8:53 pm

Kathryn Louise - Have I mentioned recently how much I love you and your family and Super Nova?

I’m definitely planning on breast feeding when The Explorer and I have kids. My Mom breast fed me, but unfortunately had to stop early because she had to get her gall bladder taken out. I think it’s silly that some people are anti-breast feeding. It’s natural. It’s exactly how we were made to feed when we’re born.August 18, 2011 – 10:33 pm

Carol - What an honest and lovely post. Yes, motherhood is surprisingly wonderful. I thought it was for women made of sterner stuff, how I had fooled myself all these years (same for marriage too). It ain’t easy but babyhood is so powerful and breasfeeding only makes that more powerful magic on you. The begining was hard, very hard, and it’s all a blur but I bf’d my first for 18 months and I hope to go to 2 years at least with my second who is now 7 mos. Thanks for your post.August 19, 2011 – 8:38 am

Lisa Marie - Hey Rachel!
I liked this post because I’m a total believer in breastfeeding, and I felt validated in those numbers… I knew it felt like I was constantly breastfeeding for a reason! The first 6 months my body hangs on and then after that, breastfeeding is as good as exercising for me! It was great to spend time with you, we love you and your cute little family. Nova is precious!August 19, 2011 – 12:51 pm

kelly - love this post! the images and your words are so beautiful. i am a very proud breastfeeding mama of my almost five month old. i absolutely love it. sure, it can be a little challenging, at times, but i love the bond i feel…that little quiet special time that only she and i share. xoAugust 19, 2011 – 1:52 pm

Maryanne - You won’t find a bigger advocate of breast-feeding than me. Nothing can replace, or even measure up, to the bonding between a mother and her child that breast-feeding offers. Beautiful.August 20, 2011 – 7:06 am

Jenn - such beautiful and personal photos. I love them. With Madeleine I was so much more private about breastfeeding, second time around I’ve been much more open. It’s a beautiful thing and something to be proud of. I’m also a huge supporter of breastfeeding and it makes me sad when some moms won’t even give it a chance!

Can’t wait to meet Nova.

xoxoxoAugust 20, 2011 – 7:52 pm

Shauna - I saw a bumper sticker the other day that said, “breastfeeding is my super power.” amen. Beautiful pictures Rachael.August 21, 2011 – 5:51 pm

Lindsay - To be honest, with baby number 4 I’m considering not breast feeding. For some reason it’s a lot more stressful for me than it is natural. I’ve never been able to breastfeed AND get a baby to take a bottle. Which means I can’t ever leave them for more than 2 hours. I don’t generally want to leave them more than that long, but it’s hard not even having the option. I know the docs say breastfeeding is better for the babies, but I breastfed babies 1 and 3 and formula fed baby 2 and baby 2 is BY FAR my healthiest child. Not sure if there’s a relation or not. I’m not pro or con either way. The great thing is each mom gets to decide what’s best for her situation. No judgment either way.
Very tasteful pictures. I do love playing with my babies feet while they breastfed. And love the day when they start to rub your face while they eat. :) August 22, 2011 – 8:28 pm

Amy - oh how I wish I had had someone take pictures of me nursing the twins. It was by far my favorite part of being a mom! and we nursed till 20 months, so I bet the numbers are huge!August 30, 2011 – 7:28 pm