Between my 5 boys I have spent 5 years breastfeeding. I am an massive believer in the magic of breast milk and the amazing things it can do for you and your baby!
I treasure my breastfeeding relationship with each of my children. The bond it creates is incredible. Personally, I love knowing that I have provided something my body has tailor made for my childs needs to provide immunity and nourishment.
However, I know first hand breastfeeding doesn’t always come easy and there are a 1,000 different reasons a woman physically might not, or just don’t desire to, breastfeed. I have no judgement.
Your body, your baby – whatever works for you and your child.
Breastfeeding isn’t not all rainbows and unicorns, but it can be magical.
I am not going to sugarcoat it, but some of these truths are going to be hard to hear. Please Don’t let them put you off.
Without a doubt, breastfeeding is one of the most amazing gifts you have to offer your child. Keep this advice in mind, and remember…
Us Mums are naturally made to persevere and not give up!
Personally, I think breastfeeding puts us in good stead for the rest of motherhood.
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1. Breastfeeding is not easy
Now, please remember that everyones experience is different. I find that the first 6 weeks are the toughest.
Firstly, you encounter the after pains while you feed. Breastfeeding helps your womb contract down to its pre-pregnancy state quicker.
Then there’s contending with painful engorged breasts, when your milk comes in. This is around day 2-4. I personally looked like I was a glamour model! I went up to a H cup! Yes an eye watering H!
There’s positioning your baby so that you are both comfortable. Your nipples will hurt and once your ‘let down’ kicks in, you will know about it. I compare it to contractions in my breasts.
Then theres the leaking boobs…they seem to pour out milk like no ones business.
But here’s the thing. Don’t go into this breastfeeding journey expecting an easy ride. I sincerely hope it is easy for you, and it can be for many women. Just remember, there can be many obstacles and prepare yourself just in case.
2. It hurts
Even when baby is latched right, it hurts in the beginning. Your nipples are one of the most sensitive areas of your body. Of course it’s going to hurt! Gradually though, they adjust and it stops hurting. Fight through it. It does gets better.
3. It can be an emotional process
Even if your child takes to breastfeeding like a pro – even if somehow you don’t encounter any pain – you may be surprised at how emotional breastfeeding is. In the first few days, your hormones are raging, you are sleep deprived beyond your wildest dreams, and you have this tiny little body cluster feeding all night long. The baby blues kick in.
Your body is no longer your own, your life is no longer your own and all you want to do is sleep. I will be honest, there were many nights, I cried as my child nursed. I wondered why I was doing this, until I looked down at my babies and I knew that I was doing it for them.
If you are struggling, physically or emotionally, reach out to someone. Call your midwife, health visitor, GP or a close friend or family member.
4. Breastfeeding Consultants and groups are life-savers
Seriously, they are like your own cheerleaders who know all things breastfeeding. I attended a breastfeeding group on a weekly basis as a way to get out of the house and gain support. Without the other breastfeeding mummies and breastfeeding consultants support, I may have ended my breast feeding journey early.
Breastfeeding consultants can offer advice on achieving a good latch, comfortable positions, and ways to improve your supply. If you have questions about certain foods or medications while breastfeeding, they have the resources to help you determine if they are safe. Additionally, breastfeeding consultants make amazing cheerleaders and will encourage you when you encounter a breastfeeding obstacle.
5. It gets easier
Eventually Breastfeeding becomes like second nature. Just like riding a bike. You and your baby will be a pro before you know it and life will so much easier. You will look back at the tough times and you will see that they were worth it.
Personally, I loved that I didn’t have to carry around bottles, warm water and milk. Once established, breastfeeding is easy, you can just whip out a boob wherever. You have instant comfort when your child is in unsettled.
Think of the money you will save on Formula! A tenner a tub. No thank you!
Just think of the less dishes you will do too.
There are a hundred reasons why breastfeeding can make your life easier, but the reality is it’s not about you. It’s about that baby, who you are essentially feeding liquid gold. You are building your child’s immunity, nourishing their body and nurturing them.
So just keep in mind, while your journey may start with some hiccups, rest assured, there is relief just around the corner.
Don’t give up.
Set small goals for yourself and strive to attain them. Start with the first 3 days, then a week, then the next 2 weeks etc.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel.
And, there are things you can do to get prepared!
Why not check out my other breast feeding posts over at www.thismummyrocks/category/breastfeeding