Get them out there girls! That should be the tagline for World Breastfeeding Week 2020 considering the coverage other campaigns are getting this week!
All jokes aside this is a very important week in the calendar for many reasons. For one, it highlights all the good things about breastfeeding, and as well as that it brings breastfeeding education into a public forum, which it normally isn’t.
Breastfeeding can be a very polarising subject, which I find hard to understand personally, but it is something that can get women immediately on the defensive.
I am writing here solely about my own experience of breastfeeding, and do not intend to sell or slate the process in any way.
Personally speaking, I am all about the boobing. I think it is a wonderful thing to be able to do, and I am glad I have had two very positive experiences of it.
I am one of the few women that didn’t have the cracked nipples, the pain, the very common discomfort that many women presume just comes with the territory. It wasn’t all smooth sailing however, as I will explain.
With my first I was completely gung ho, breastfeeding was happening, it would be easy & perfect & amazing… a complicated labour and emergency C-section made sure that it was far from easy or perfect for the first 10 days.
Looking back on it, I realise that I was in complete shock for at least the first 24 hours of his life, and my head just wasn’t in the game from the off. It was a gruelling 5 days in the hospital, with the help of the world’s most patient midwives & my own midwife sister at the end of the phone helping & coaching 24/7.
Big Bro was a “sleepy baby” and just was NOT getting the boobing memo. It was very tough & beyond exhausting, but so much happens in such little time in those early days, and after the first week I was feeling independent and confident in myself and this new creature that was now perma-latched!
We plodded away for 7 months, some ups and downs, but it really was the best of times, warm milk on tap, any hour of the day, no kettle boiling & bottle washing. Lazy mornings of maternity leave, waving goodbye to Daddy, having a leisurely feed, not leaving the bed until I myself was starving!
I attended a La Leche League meeting the week I was due to have the baby, and continued to go whenever I could throughout my time breastfeeding, and I credit those meetings with giving me my confidence to feed whenever and wherever I was. I didn’t feel the need to hide in a corner or jump under a duvet, I dressed strategically & was always discreet (bar the odd nip-slip but hey, no harm done).
I did manage to get a freezer store going 1st time around, so I wasn’t chained to the baby, and I did start to get my own time back after a few months.
Second time around was a different story, as is often the case!
A planned C-section meant that I was not in a state of shock when my little buster was given to me. Again, a most amazing midwife in recovery helped me to get him latched & feeding within a very short while of being born, and we hit the ground running.
Knowing what to expect, and what did and didn’t work for me meant that breastfeeding the second baby felt like second nature. There were minor bumps in the road…mainly a supply that seemed to think I was feeding triplets!
Despite the major supply, time to pump & store milk was just not part of my life as a mother of two. I fed on demand & once I felt like it was time to move on, I had some major convincing to do to get Small Bro to take a bottle… I didn’t stress over it, there was no rush, we got it sorted and all was well.
Overall I really enjoyed breastfeeding, it really can be such an amazing experience, with such special moments of closeness that are hard to describe. It is rarely easy, it takes a lot of work and learning for the whole family, but in my experience it was worth it.
If you are expecting, I would encourage you to remain open minded until that baby is in your arms. You don’t know how you will feel when the time comes, and you shouldn’t rule anything in or out. Do your research, attend some meetings if you like the idea of breastfeeding, and chat to mothers who have experience of it.
As mothers, we need to do what works for each of us, and we need to follow our own instincts. Take advice, listen to others, but mostly, listen to yourself.
For me, I am all about the boob!