Breastfeeding builds a bond with your child that I can’t even put into words. But I’m sorry to burst your bubble it’s nothing like you imagine in your head. This isn’t a movie. And even though I went to the breastfeeding clinic at my local hospital, which I completely recommend! I still wasn’t fully prepared for the reality of breastfeeding. The best advice I can give before your baby is born is get as much advice as you possibly can from friends, family and professionals. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare.
Labour is exhausting but it doesn’t stop there, sorry to say, the sooner you breastfeed the better chance of success. I never had a problem with getting my son latched on, but once he was latched on that is where he stayed for the first couple of days. There were times when I fell asleep sitting up in my hospital bed feeding my baby because it is continuous. But that is how your milk will come in. It normally takes a couple of days but when it does you will be feeding your baby every three hours, even throughout the night. But that is better than before right?
So you’re tired then…Ouch! Two weeks into breastfeeding my son, both of my nipples were cracked, sore and bleeding. I was told this could happen but I underestimated how difficult it was to get through. I was tired, emotional and it felt like someone had taken sandpaper to my nipples and all I want to do was give up. But there are ways to get through it. I sent my parents out on an emergency nipple shield hunt in hopes that it would help, unfortunately Baby H found it too exhausting to get milk from the shield. Then came along Lansinoh Nipple Cream, which was a miracle cream! Expensive but a miracle. I have no idea how I would have managed without its soothing, numbing goodness. You will be pleased to hear that it doesn’t last for long, your nipples will get tougher and can withstand the strong suckle of your bundle of joy. Just check when your nipples get sore that your baby is latched on properly. Its called breastfeeding because the baby sucks on the breast and NOT the nipple. Lick under the nipple and suck the breast.
When breastfeeding gets easier you might want to venture outside of your new motherhood bubble and unless you express you will have to breastfeed in public. In my town there are several places where you can go to breastfeed in privacy, Mothercare and John Lewis are the ones I used to use if I could, so it maybe useful if you lookup where you can go before tottering out. I am very confident in myself so I have never had a problem with taking my boob out in front of people, but there are ways to make breastfeeding more discreet. I got given some good advice from my auntie who said ‘wear a large vest top under whatever you’re wearing so you can lift the top up and the vest down and when the baby is feeding no one can see a thing.’ I found this so much easier than putting a cloth over my shoulder, which turned into a tent so I could latch Baby H on! Not so discreet.
I have breastfed in a middle of a public place. You should never feel ashamed or embarrassed, but there people who disagree with breastfeeding babies in public, so unfortunately you may have to deal with these small-minded people. I have never got any negative comments only embarrassed looks from men and glares from surprisingly women. No matter what, you should always enjoy breastfeeding moments because they will not last forever.
Mine didn’t last for long. When Baby H was 3 month he wasn’t gaining as much weight as he should have. In a panic I decided to combine breastfeeding with bottles in attempt to get his weight up and thankfully it worked. Baby H has always liked to snack, so when breastfeeding for only 5 minutes at a time he wasn’t getting the fatty milk that he needed. When I had to start feeding my baby boy bottles I felt like a complete failure as a mother. How could I have messed up something so natural to me? And to make matters worse I had been starving my son without knowing it. I found myself getting upset and crying at the though of bottle feeding my baby and starving him when I was breastfeeding. Looking back I know that it wasn’t my fault, these kind of things happen and it is nobodies fault. Consequently when I fully stopped breastfeeding my large boobs that I had gotten because of breastfeeding had shrunk back to my small but beautiful boobs, maybe even smaller than before! I have learnt so much from my time breastfeeding Baby H and I will take this knowledge on to when I have my next child. I loved my time breastfeeding it was the cherry on top of the mother of all cakes.