Dun dun dunnn and the truth is.... some hungry little walker baby (walking dead fans) rehomes your boobs to themselves, and takes milk like they've never been fed before in their life. The end. Joking , well kind of, they are like little zombies when it comes to feeding! If only the feeding malarky was that easy though hey! So this is a truly honest account and just my own opinion on breastfeeding for 6 months. Here we go (also please don't hate on me)
So being handed that beautiful bundle of joy after hours, or days of pain in labour can be exhilarating and emotional, and also a relief that the pain has gone, and you can go home as a perfect new little family. And then the midwife suggests you try breastfeeding and somehow you think the the hard bit has only just begun. Now comes days of establishing breastfeeding and perfecting the perfect latch as well as looking after this new tiny person. So, I am going to say this now. I am by no means a breastfeeding expert. I mean, can you even be an expert in something that is as natural as child birth? Or is it just experience and time that helps with this process. Yes, process. I say it so matter of fact because to me it simply is a natural process that takes place after childbirth, I mean those boobies dont produce milk for nothing. This is not me standing here preaching some sort of breast is best campaign. I went into motherhood on very neutral ground when it came to feeding. To be honest I would say I was even more slightly swayed towards the formula feeding to breast, so it wasn't until Emelia actually arrived that this changed. As a first time mum, I obviously had no expectation as to how It would go or even wether I wanted this squirming newborn sucking from my engorged boob (glam I know). I brought everything to bottle feed, and just explained to Reggie that I would try, but I wasn't going to put pressure on myself to do it. Whilst I was pregnant Reggie wasn't sure. It wasn't something he had ever really been around, and didn't think I would be able to cope with breastfeeding, but was supportive with the fact I wanted to try (Nothing at all to do with the non surgical boob job that comes with it). He is as proud as me when it comes to sticking it out, and Honestly his support with me breastfeeding has helped me power through, when at times I have wanted to give up. This is purely going to be pretty informal, just sharing a few of my experiences through the past 6 months, in the hope of maybe enlightening the way to any one thinking of breastfeeding, has a newborn, or anyone thinking of giving up.
So firstly to anyone who has breastfed please let me know, but, I would love to meet any woman that has not experienced any pain and discomfort whilst breastfeeding (especially in the first days). I think its very deceiving when you are told breastfeeding shouldn't be painful, and quite possibly why some people dont stick it out. Your milk coming in is painful, having engorged red hot boobs on the front of your chest hurts, and having a baby madly cluster feeding off of your boob for hours on end does not feel natural and easy at first. Yes it becomes natural and easier, but it does take a bit of time to get there. Like riding a bike I guess once you know what your doing you know. I dont know, I just felt frustrated constantly being told that it should not be painful to breastfeed when, to be honest over the first few days some aspects of it were. I was very very lucky and Emelia latched perfectly, and we had no real troubles at all, but it is by no means easy even if you dont have any issues. I can remember Emelia being about 3 weeks old and breathing a sigh of relief that things were feeling a lot more natural with feeding. It finally felt as though things had clicked and finally worked. Now I know some people aren't able to breastfeed for particular reasons and they have to go down a different route of either formula, or I have friends who have exclusively pumped, so I know its not just as easy as saying stick with things, give the feeding a go for a few weeks etc. but for some people it never clicks and there are reasons for this. Or simply you just dont want to breastfeed. Everyone will have seen all this breast is best stuff everywhere I mean, it is everywhere. I posted a picture of Emelia in a milk bath at 6 months and wrote how I was so proud of reaching 6 months of Exclusively breastfeeding. Should I have bothered documenting it with it being something so natural? Am I being controversial to formula fed mothers by highlighting my choice to breastfeed? No, of course not. I am proud to have gone through childbirth, and I am proud to have reached 6 months of feeding. Just like I would be proud of running a marathon! No I do not think I am superior, I am just so happy with my choice. I do think that a lot of the breast is best and body shaming stuff are just excuses for people to be confrontational and have an opinion on something, not the greatest side of human nature. I guess in this day and age there will always be controversies around anything people see fit.
Support is one hundred percent the winner when it comes to dedicating yourself to this challenge. You can be the most strong willed person, but the tiniest comment or action from anyone could set you back, and make you doubt your own ability. Other than a few comments I am lucky to have not received many bad comments or had bad experiences with regards to me breastfeeding. However, during the first few weeks when I was probably more sensitive a few things were said to me. One thing was whilst Emelia cluster fed. This is when babies feed for extended periods of time during the first few weeks, (and beyond through growth spurts) it will seem like they want to constantly feed. This is good and helps keep up your milk supply. Grab a book, enjoy the baby snuggles, put your feet up and chill.. honestly I wish someone had told me that. Instead, I was told Emelia shouldn't feed so much and that I probably wasn't enough for her, and should try some hungry baby milk. Firstly I had no idea about cluster feeding I didn't even know it existed until someone mentioned that was probably happening. Secondly, I was about a week to two weeks into motherhood. I was severely emotional and being told your not enough for your baby whilst trying so hard to establish feeding is heartbreaking. Luckily my determined head switched on and I thought no! I am doing fine and just carried on as I was doing. However, I doubted my ability to breastfeed. Even if it was just for 10 mins that one little comment could have made me throw in the towel. So throughout the last 6 months I have been told to go and feed in the toilet. When trying to feed my daughter expressed milk in a bottle told to shhhhhh because she was crying ( I knowwww !) she was 10 weeks old wouldnt take a bottle, and I was at a restaurant and too nervous to feed. I can tell you now since that experience I do not care where I feed ! I do use a cover up but thats just because it makes me more relaxed and confident. Plus, Emelia is so distracted now she's bigger, with everything going on around her, my boob would constantly be on view. Other than that Ive been okay and I've had only positive comments when it comes to me breastfeeding and also feeding in public which always makes you feel better. Choosing where to feed in public can always be a difficult one especially if you are a first time mum. I was very nervous to begin with but this does not phase me at all now. And fact once your baby is hungry and crying you would feed quite literally anywhere! I have been to a few places which have family friendly signs which basically exclusively say there happy for mums to feed in there shop or restaurant, but theres not many. I guess its nice to see the sticker but on the other hand they don't need it, It is against the law to discriminate against a mother feeding there child in public so you are basically free to go ahead and feed where necessary. Sorry if that was intense, and breath!
Family friendly ( breastfeeding) sign
Mastitis at 6 weeks was horrendous. I have no idea what caused me to get it. As my Dr said unfortunately it is just one of those things that sometimes can happen. I woke up on a Friday morning Emelia was 5 weeks old and Reggie was off work so we Were going to head out to run some errands. I got out of bed to make myself us a cuppa tea and that was when I came over really hot and nearly passed out. I mentioned to reggie how I was feeling but continued to get myself sorted for the day. I had a numb headache that had been linguring for a few days, but just brushed it off as tiredness. As the time went on I started to feel worse and worse, I couldn't concentrate I had no energy and my body ached all over. Before we ventured out reggie passed me Emelia to feed, and as I reached out the pain that radiated through my right arm and side was excruciating, and I couldn't hold her towards my chest. For some reason I didn't twig that I could have mastitis and just carried on feeding as I was through the pain. I began feeling worse and worse as the morning went on, I knew something just wasn't quite right so I took my temperature. It was 38.5 degrees.. that was when I phoned for an appointment at the doctors. Once I'd been examined and the doctor confirmed that it was in fact mastitis and I was prescribed antibiotics and told to rest up. Oh my goodness I honestly never thought mastitis could make you feel so poorly. I managed to sleep much of the first 2 days of taking antibiotics, but was feeding on demand every couple of hours. This is also one of the best things you can do for mastitis, as it can help eleviate the symptoms. But I didn't want to. Everytime I would feed I would wince in pain because it hurt so so much. Touch wood I haven't had this again. I really hated breastfeeding at that point in time and giving up would have been way to easy. Although mastitis can be quite common it doesnt always happen and is just one of those things. I know plenty of mums who have never suffered with it and have breastfed for months.
One thing I get asked a lot is whether Reggie misses out with not being able to feed Emelia and whether this affects the bond they have. The answer to that is no. They have an amazing relationship, if I need him to settle her he can. Obviously if she needs a feed he has to hand her over but i've asked him and he really isn't bothered and he's happy she's breastfed. He still gets to cuddle up with her after I've fed her and with him being a chef theres quite a few days when he works late in the evening, so I would be doing the evening feeds either way.
I realise that to a new mum this could be making you feel quite nervous and scared. But I am one of those people that would much prefer to know a little bit of whats possibly going to happen. Experiences like breastfeeding is going to be different for everyone of course, But in my eyes sugar coating things like labor and feeding ect is pointless, and a bit of prep on maybe what to expect never goes a miss. I will tell you now though there is of course the complete opposite side of all the blood sweat and tears. It is so so wonderful to have such a special bond with Emelia. I have grown to love breastfeeding my baby, and I am so glad I chose to. For me it has been the best decision I have made as a mother so far (I know we are in early days and theres plenty more to come !). It really is so so lovely knowing your giving them the best you can right at the beginning. I can't say I did much in the way of feeding research before Emelia was born, and my choice to breastfeed wasn't an informed choice. However, now knowing all the proven scientific benefits and health benefits, breastfeeding will definitely be my first choice next time. I will always try and look at things in a positive way and yes, breastfed babies maybe won't sleep as much at night and have you waking several times through the darkness. But I would never swap Snuggling up to my little bugg when its so quiet at home and she's so sleepy and cuddly. These are the moments I will remember, when In a couple of years time those sleepless nights will be a distant memory. I read a written piece the other day, and it really couldn't be more truthful. About the nights seeming so long now but how the years are so short. I know this will always be the case as she gets bigger. I will link it at the bottom.
I really do hope this has helped. showing you in my eyes the real side of breastfeeding. This is of course all my own opinion and taken purely from my own experiences, and I am well aware that peoples own experiences will differ so much. Please, if you have any questions though feel free to ask. Thank you for stopping by for a read.