My Instagram challenge post today has prompted me to write this blog all about breastfeeding.
☆☆☆ Warning you will see images of breastfeeding in this blog ☆☆☆
The first time vs now
I never breastfed first time around I couldn’t get my daughter to latch on she would just scream and scream so she was bottle fed. My experience with my daughter around breastfeeding was a negative one. The staff at the hospital and the health visitors were all for a bit of human milking but the way they went about it left many feeling inadequate, a failure and as of they were bad parents for not breastfeeding. They would push so hard breast is best so hard that I had a bit of an arguement with one staff member just after I’d had my daughter because my baby was hungry and she was insisting I put her on the boob and that I was being selfish and silly not doing so. I was 17 and just been through a traumatic birthing experience, all I wanted was to feed my baby and get my head around my new life and responsibilities. I had to fight for the formula milk that was right there on the trolley. There seemed to be no empathy towards my situation and views on how I was hoping to parent my child. I was often referred to as a child having a child to my face and whispers from across the room. I know the Breast is best campaign was nbig then but it was a little misguided with some people taking a no nonsense almost militant approach to it.
This time around I really wanted to give it a go to nurture my baby boy in the way nature intended. I was hearing so much about the benefits of breastfeeding, the strong bond that is created between you and your baby, the boost for the baby’s immune system and the ease of it just being there on tap no carrying bottles around. Thinking back to the moment the midwife placed my son in my arms and latched him onto my breast I am so glad that she was as informative, comforting and assertive as she was. She wasn’t pushy, I wasnt made to feel like this was my only option. Instead I received an explanation on stimulating milk flow and the benefits of encouraging a strong latch. I wish that her approach was what I had gotten 16 years ago then I may have felt more comfortable and may tried for longer to breast my daughter. I feel extremely lucky as my boy was born sucking his thumb and latched on straight away the only issue was it took a few days for my milk to come in, despite all my efforts to stimulate milk flow in the last week’s of pregnancy in the hope of starting a freezer stash. I wanted to always have a weeks supply of milk in the freezer just in case I was ill, needed to take antibiotics, away from the baby or unable to feed for any reason.
Once I got into the swing of things I would feed on one breast and express on the other so I could estimate how much milk the baby was getting each feed and have a supply of milk in the freezer. I was so glad for that supply as I had complications with my C-section wound and had to go on antibiotics. Also I was giving the baby a bottle a day so that he’d get use to feeding on both bottle and breast. This method worked well for me although I was advised many times against it as it can confuse the baby and ruin the latch. This was never the case for me.
The one thing I was apprehensive about was feeding in public. It actually wasn’t that bad there was no pitch forks or flaming torches, nobody has insisted I cover up or serve my baby his lunch on a porcelain throne. The most I got was a disapproving eye gaze at wilderness festival from the guy on stage during a talk about the UN, I had gone into the tent early to feed the baby and get a good seat to see Scummy Mummies and Cherry Healy live (They were great, incredibly funny). With public feeding I just get on with it I’m my son one stop shop to all things yummy so if he is hungry I will feed him wherever I am. Hopefully I’ll never receive any negativity and people are now seeing it more as a necessary part of life.
The joys of breastfeeding
I absolutely love breastfeeding but was worried that I wouldn’t be able to make the transition from sexualised funbags to nurturing food mounds. Since breastfeeding its hard to see my breasts now as anything but my baby’s only food source. Seeing how my body has nourished my boy from a scrawny new born to a dumpling face cherub makes me so proud. It is the sole reason why I pushed through the pain the weeks of crying every time I fed him because I knew it was best for him and I had such a great supply in the beginning. I’m glad I endured because now it’s so much more comfortable the pain from the early weeks has gone. The noises he makes while feeding reminds me of me when I’m eating a good meal. The milk comas after a feed are just adorable Now at 5 months he’s started blowing raspberries while feeding he finds this highly amusing. When my boy looks up at me and smiles while I feed him it melts my heart. The complete trust he has in me to give him the best of everything to meet all his needs how can I not push myself to make sure he is fed. Breastfeeding ain the night is such a bonus there’s no getting up and making bottles I literally whack a boob out and I’m done it helps that my boy is either in bed with me or in the side by side bed.
Some truths nobody told me about breastfeeding
- Tough time – It can be hard. Everyone always shouts about the benefits as if there are no downsides.
- Boobs of fire – You may feel an intense pain like no other while you feed like the baby is sucking shards of glass through your boobs. There were times it felt as if red hot pokers are being pushed threw your nipples while molten lava pours out or as if Stinging nettles and Thisles are being pulled back and forth through my breast.
- Temporary Narcolepsy – You will fall asleep while feeding especially in the early weeks so sit back and get comfortable.
- No rest – Your baby may feed every two hours for an hour and a half only leaving 30 minutes between each feed.
- Custer feeding is an exhausting mofo – Your baby will want to feed most of the day due to growth spurts and this can vary some cluster feed for moths others weeks. Staying in tune to your baby and their needs is key
- Morning glory – For your boobs, some mornings I woke up and they were like stone so full of milk and so painful like they were going to burst at any moment. When like this it was extremely painful to feed the baby and express.
- The wind is not your friend – Your boobs may become so sensitive that a change in wind direction can bring tears to your eyes.
- Don’t touch – If you have a partner like mine he will repeatedly touch you when you’ve him not too because he doesn’t believe that you are as sensitive as you are. These boobs can now feel the air vibrations from the pebble that fell off the curb three towns along DO NOT TOUCH THEM!!!!
- Leaky Leaky – Yes we’ve all been told we will leak but be prepared to not know that you are leaking. Not all breast pads help some will just bunch up making it worst. You may need to double up.
- No support – I found that maternity bras were not very supportive but this may be due to my large size bresticles. I like the disconnecting part making it easy to gain access but the support was non-existent.
I honestly have enjoyed breastfeeding and would highly recommend it but if it isn’t for you then don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. We are all individual and parent in different ways and finding what works best for you and yours is important, what worked for one baby may not work for another. Being comfortable in your decisions and trust your gut.