I wish someone would have told me these things before I began my breastfeeding journey…
– Feeding gymnastics: Forget those posters in which you see the baby cradled in your arms nonchalantly suckling your breast. Oh no, get ready to try handle a lively Octopus! As a newborn mine would be held like a rugby ball and then as they got older it was like trying to get a fish to lock its lips on you.
– Squirting: Ah there’s nothing more momentous than when you’ve got enough milk in your bosoms that it starts shooting out. This can be hilarious and some have even used it as a weapon against anyone criticising you for breastfeeding…
– Magical milk: So it’s not all acrobatics and shooting stars. Breast milk is pretty darn amazing as it provides just what your baby needs. I.e. The fatty colostrum when your baby is first born then it becomes more watery as your baby ages. And if you tandem feed it provides just what each tot needs.
– Nursing Aversion: For a long time I felt really guilty for sometimes getting angry at my kids for breastfeeding. Especially at night time when I’m tired, I just want some space and some “me time.” I’ve naturally fallen into the gentle/attachment parenting route and I hate(d) myself for feeling so angry with my kids when they simply wanted breastfeeding.
Fortunately online, I found communities of breastfeeding mums who feel the same. It even has a name… nursing aversion.
– Losing/gaining weight: When I started breastfeeding I lost loads of weight, I think it was the shock to my body. Suddenly I had a creature, a lovely leach attached to me.
But ever since my weight has fluctuated and returned to normal, even now I’m feeding two. Other mums have said that they gained weight when breastfeeding with all the sitting down.
However my sling meant I could still move around and dance. And I do think breastfeeding has greatly helped with getting some of my pre-baby body back (I hate that term but you get what I mean). Well that, plus exercise and a vegetarian diet.
– Slings: I had a Baba sling to start with then a Mei Tai sling. They really helped with breastfeeding, bonding and moving around.
– Boring clothes: Most nursing clothes are like maternity clothes… navy, grey and baggy. It is getting better, however, but I still struggle to find nursing clothes that I like. I end up buying normal clothes that are low cut so I can pull my boob out at any given moment.
Facebook groups like “Can you breastfeed in it?” really help too. Any recommendations of lovely clothes please comment below…
– Breastfeeding older children: Once you’re breastfeeding a child over 1-year-old get ready for more stares and unhelpful comments. Sadly I think this is partly why there are such low breastfeeding rates in the UK. But breastfeeding, if you can and want to, is soooo worth it!
– Uncovered: I’ve been breastfeeding nearly 5 years now so I rarely breastfeed covered up. Even when I’ve appeared on TV!
– Engorgement: I’d always wanted a boob job until I got pregnant and, I gained boobs for free! However I got more than I bargained for when working away and not using my express pump… ouch. Engorgement. Where your breasts swell up with milk and become hard. Sometimes it has led to a flu-like infection called mastitis.
Here’s what happened on my hen party weekend even with a pump… owww!
– Injuries: As my children have gained teeth and longer nails they find it funny to bite and scratch me whilst feeding. My youngest daughter Arianna bit me so hard I had a tear in my nipple for months. And all I got told by health professionals was to “stop feeding.” Which wasn’t helpful as feeding was still in full swing.
– Support: Ive been lucky to live in an area where there is a “FAB” breastfeeding charity. I know I wouldn’t have coninued breastfeeding in the early stages without so much support.
The Breastfeeding Network, AIMS and La Leche League are great organisations you can find online who offer advice, support and knowledge. Also check out your local Childrens Centre for any breastfeeding peer support groups as these groups can be a great place to sound off how you’re feeling.
These points are just what I’ve discovered personally during my breastfeeding journey.
But everyone makes their own choices as each family/child/parent is different.
I just hope to help normalise breastfeeding so if mums want to breastfeed, they know they can and, they’re not alone.
The journey can be beautiful, it can be tough, but it is so worth it.
What are your experiences?