I remember when I was preparing to breastfeed for the first time I kind of expected it to be easy. I soon found out it wasn’t and this time I went into it fully expecting it to be difficult and to have to fight to get her to feed at all – after all it took Izzy 5 days to latch on and she was never easy to feed.
Chloe latched on within minutes of being born. She seemed to instantly love it and it was more of a fight to get her off than on.
Because of how easy and naturally she fed straightaway I thought wahey this is going to be a breeze but of course it isn’t.
Breastfeeding is rarely easy. Cheaper? Yes. Less hassle than bottles? Yes for the most part. But easy? No.
Lets start with the ouch factor. Yes it really really hurts sometimes. Most feeds are fine but when you have days and nights of cluster feeding every latch will make your toes curl. Don’t get me started on the teething.
Mastitis? This is common in breastfeeding mums and I’ve had it three times this time around. It’s painful and in most circumstances you will need antibiotics to clear it. It doesn’t just hurt your boobs it makes you feel like absolute rubbish. You feel like you have flu at the same time as having incredibly painful nipples and the way to help it the most is to feed..arrrrhhhh. You will feel like giving up.
Being tied to your baby. If you choose to exclusively breastfeed you can’t really do anything without your baby for at least the first 6 months. Unless you express (which takes time and effort) and your baby will accept a bottle.
The weight loss. Initially your breastfeeding will help you to lose your baby weight. It uses up around 500 calories a day and it helps your uterus contract back to its normal size so your bump will shrink a lot quicker. BUT your body is designed to hold onto fat stores to produce the milk so until your baby starts on solids and feeds less or your wean off the breast you may find that the final stone is the hardest one to shift.
So why do we do it? Because in spite of all the negatives the positive aspects are incredible. You will look back on the times that you spent feeding as incredibly special moments. When your baby stops feeding midway just to smile up at you the feeling makes your heart melt. As do the swollen cheek, slightly milk drunk faces they have afterwards.
You can dash out of the house with just nappies, wipes and spare clothes without worrying about a flask of water or sterile bottles and it saves you a fortune. The health benefits for both you and your baby are massive.
When I fed Izzy I found it awkward at times and always worried about being hidden. This time I feed anywhere, I am mostly covered up with a muslin or nursing shawl but we have fed everywhere. In restaurants, while shopping, on the bus, on the train, at the beach – even at a Christmas parade.
And yes being unable to book a haircut in case your baby can’t last that length of time or not being able to drink more than one glass of wine is a pain but its really not for a long time. In fact it goes by in the blink of an eye.
You could say I’m pro breastfeeding and I’d agree – this doesn’t make me anti formula.
Choose what suits you. Forcing yourself to breastfeed won’t make you or your child any happier. If you choose to do it then great but if you don’t then that’s great too. The best way to feed your baby is your way. Breastfeeding is my way but I’m realistic enough to know it may not be for 2 whole years. I’d like it to be but if I choose to stop at anytime I’m not going to feel guilty for that. I will however be forever glad for this time that I have done it. Every week is a bonus in my eyes. We are 13 weeks in and I don’t see us stopping anytime soon. I do plan to start expressing regularly so that if I need an hour or two away from home that will be ok. More on my expressing journey to come.
What was your experience of breastfeeding? Did you enjoy it?