As soon as you tell the world that you’re pregnant, it seems that the one thing everyone wants to know is how you’re planning on feeding your baby.
To be honest, I didn’t really think about how I was going to feed my baby throughout the whole pregnancy. I was more focused on how I was going to get through childbirth! But a week before I gave birth, we went to a parentcraft session held at our local hospital which spoke about the benefits of breastfeeding and it really got me thinking. I really wanted to give breastfeeding a go.
I’m going to tell you straight – breastfeeding is tough. Think about it – you’ve got this little being constantly hooked to your nipple and when you finish one feed, it’s literally time for another, especially in the early days. Your boobs can sting, you’ll leak through your clothes wherever you are, and it’s the mother of all that’s awkward when you have to whip it out to feed in front of your father-in-law! It’s hard to get the latch right – I remember being in hospital and trying to get Raife to latch for over an hour before asking a midwife for some help and you’re all alone when it comes to feeding overnight (unless you express). As your baby gets older, they may start to pull your hair (ouch) and can even hit or grab at your other boob. It can be extremely exhausting.
The pain when you first start breastfeeding is, as I like to call it, ‘dig your heels into the sofa’ painful. You’re dealing with engorgement, cracked nipples and possibly even blocked ducts or mastitis as the baby struggles to empty the breast. There were days where I just wanted to give up but support from my husband and family kept me going – as well as the thought that I was giving my son the best possible start in life.
There have been days where Raife seems to be permanently latched and I haven’t been able to move for pretty much the entire day to meet his demands. I call these days write-offs and just have to accept that the dishes and hoovering will not be done but that my son has eaten all that he needs. It’s a huge learning curve for both mother and baby, and I don’t feel that there’s enough support out there for those who want to breastfeed but simply don’t know how to go about it. My local hospital was truly amazing – every time I needed some assistance, I could press a button and a midwife came along and showed me how to pop him on. I’d say it took us a good two weeks to get fully established but once we did, it was and continues to be brilliant. I love it.
I’ve never actually said this out loud before, but I’m really bloody proud of myself for exclusively breastfeeding my son. After going through pregnancy and childbirth, my body is still able to nourish and comfort my baby. Not only this, but breastfeeding in public is a very scary prospect but trust me, it’s something that gets easier every time and now, I don’t even think about it. In fact, I’ve had so many compliments from people of all ages for breastfeeding publicly which fills me with pride.
I plan on breastfeeding Raife until he’s at least 6 months old and who knows, we may not stop there. As long as he’s happy and I’m able to give him the milk he needs, this breastfeeding journey will continue.
Don’t get me wrong, I know that so many women out there would do anything to breastfeed but have been unable to for whatever reason. I do believe that however you choose to feed your baby is the right way for you. Never let anyone make you feel shit for not doing one or the other.
You’re doing great fellow mummies, however you’re feeding your little ones!