Wow, what a whirlwind these first 12 days have been as a new mummy. In some ways it hasn't felt weird or surreal in any way.. motherhood has just felt totally natural like it was always meant to be a part of mine ans Josh's lives! I have to say though, I do feel pretty lucky as Maddie is such a well behaved and sleepy baby! (Touch wood I haven't spoken too soon haha!) I can imagine I wouldn't be quite as high on cloud 9 if she was constantly screaming the house down! Anyway what I want to chat about today is breastfeeding/feeding your baby in general and my experience so far. This is a topic I feel someone will always have an opinion on, or think they know everything. In all honesty, I believe as long as you do what is best for you and your baby, then you're doing great!
I had personally always known I wanted to try breastfeeding my baby, there was never a question of what to do for me. However I have always stayed very realistic in knowing that it might now work out for whatever reason, my hormones might not agree with me or I may not produce much milk, I might not like it etc.! So as much as I wanted to breastfeed, I knew not to beat myself up if it didn't workout, the main thing is I tried!
The first few hours in hospital once Maddison was born I felt like superwomen. She latched on straight away and it just felt comfortable and easy, maybe this breastfeeding thing isn't so complicated after all? WRONG! 48 hours later, my milk had come in properly which meant overnight I'd woken up with a Pamela Anderson boob job! (Seriously, these boobs were unreal!!) And because my breasts suddenly ballooned and had changed shape, I just couldn't get Maddie to latch on anymore! She would just shake her head around like mad, pull away (sometimes with my nipple - OUCH!) and she would squeal, it was just horrible and heartbreaking seeing her that distressed, and frustrating that she couldn't settle on me. I felt so incredibly guilty and that it was all my fault, I just broke down and cried! Luckily I do have a breast pump so ended up pumping my milk and bottle fed her so at least she was getting something! But it just wasn't the same as having that initial skin-to-skin feeling and connection when feeding her. After hours of us battling each other my nipples were in AGONY. They had even started to form these little blisters! (sorry if too much info but its true!) I was even crying just trying to rub nipple cream on them! At this point I just rung the Midwife and asked her to come out and help.. a few hours later with some different positions and techniques under my belt, it was like we'd never had a problem! And Maddie was happily feeding away!! Although my nipples did take a good 24 hours of cream to feel bearable again!
Ever since then, we've had no problems at all! (back to my lucky well behaved baby!) I've actually found I produce a LOT of milk, so I am always having to make sure I've got the glamorous nipple pads in my nursing bras - oh how times have changed from my little Victoria's Secret numbers haha!! And I didn't realise how painful boobs could be if left too long without 'milking' them! There's been times when Maddie's been sleeping and I've just had to pump to take the pressure off!! We've actually got a good routine going now, with me breastfeeding Maddison throughout the day, then Josh will give her a big pumped bottle before bedtime which sends her off till about 2 am for a nighttime feed! Then we also always have an emergency bottle of expressed milk for in the night. Just in case my nipples aren't quite up to another feed or if I'm super struggling from tiredness so Josh can help again!
Establishing breast AND bottle was another thing I knew I wanted to do as soon as possible. My mum had said that when she had me, there was so much pressure for her to just establish the breast and bring in bottles later, that by the time she tried a bottle I just wouldn't take it! So for my sister, mum established breast and bottle straight away and just made life so much easier! So I knew that's what I wanted to try and do! I couldn't imagine not having the option of Josh helping out, it would be so much harder! And at the end of the day, she's still getting my breast milk, be it from a bottle or straight from my boob!!
BREASTFEEDING IN PUBLIC
One thing I am yet to try is feeding in public. I'm actually quite nervous because when I'm feeding at home I couldn't look more inelegant if I tried haha! I'm usually slumped over tons of cushions, legs crossed up, boobs and belly hanging out on show, nipple pads everywhere... I have tried to cover up with a muslin to "practice" saving some modesty but then I really struggle getting her latched on initially if I can't see where she is?! I've seen some women make it look so easy, just popping their baby onto the boob and carry on chatting away with friends while having their coffee.. Ladies, please give me your tips/secrets?!
For now, I am pleased that I have my pump so I can always carry a bottle of expressed milk on me, in case she does need a feed while out and about, till I can build my confidence up with feeding in public without flashing the entire world my boobs. I feel for now until I'm super confident it's just not worth getting unnecessarily stressed about it. I'll also try and time outings around feeds.. but that probably sounds easier said then done (baby's gonna eat when baby wants to eat!)
I am 100% all for feeding you baby WHEREVER and WHENEVER that baby needs feeding. As soon as feel I can easily breastfeed in public I will! I didn't realise till reading an article on the BBC the other day, about the backlash to Baby Dove's new advert, but it is actually ILLEGAL to tell a women breastfeeding to leave a public place, such as a cafe, shop or public transport in England and Wales! (CLICK HERE to read the BBC article). Knowing that, it gives me even more confidence and pride knowing that I can and I will feed my baby whenever she needs to be fed.. (Just hopefully looking a little more elegant then I do now with some practice haha!) Breastfeeding is such a beautiful and natural thing to do, I can't even comprehend why anyone would ever disagree to it?! We are made to feed our children! So why fight nature and make a women feel embarrassed about what her body is designed to do?! I feel this is going to be one of those topics that someone will always have something negative to say about it, us mums just have to stick together through it and carry on doing our thing!!!
BREAST IS BEST?
I bet you've all heard this saying thrown around a lot right? How nothing can beat the nutritional content of breast milk and its the best thing for your babies development?
Scientifically, yes, there are many pros for breastfeeding your baby. For example, breast milk contains antibodies that help your baby fight off viruses and bacteria and it helps lower their risk of developing allergies. There are also benefits for mother too, such as it really helps with loosing the 'baby weight' gained as breastfeeding burns a lot of calories and it releases the Oxytocin hormone to help shrink your uterus back down. But despite that, I really do feel that it is up to each individual to determine what is best for them.
I am so 'on the fence' about whether women choose to breastfeed or use formula. I am neither for or against either! Some women don't even have the option of breastfeeding (for various reasons), so I feel it's really unfair to make them feel bad about not being able to breastfeed their baby or to turn your nose up at someone using formula! As long as our babies are getting fed and cared for, surely that's the main thing right? Plus there are so many formulas these days that are actually very good! And I guess when we are older.. who can tell if you were breastfed or not!! When do you ever look at someone and think 'I bet they were breastfed?'.. you just don't! I think it's also unfair to judge women who could breastfeed but choose not to. If it's not for them then so be it! Going back to me personally, I always knew I wanted to breastfeed, if it didn't work out obviously I'd be upset, but I know I shouldn't beat myself up as it's not the end of the world.
At the end of the day, I'm not preaching one way or another, and I feel society should let mums get on and make their own decisions of what works for them, without feeling pressurised to do things a certain way. To me, a happy and healthy mama = happy and healthy baby, simple!
As always, I'd love to hear your stories and experiences on this topic. Did you breastfeed? Did you have any problems? Any tips for feeding in public?! Was breastfeeding maybe not an option for you? I always believe the more we talk the more we can help each other out!
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