Welcome back to my blog ladies! Today I am talking about subject that a few of you have requested. It is not to tell you the benefits of breastfeeding as I think many of us know them all already. It is to share my experience with you all and give you a few tips that might help.
I am very pro-breastfeeding but at the same time I am very aware that not everyone can breastfeed and it can be very difficult for some women and I HATE the guilt that some pro-breastfeeders put on us mother if we don’t breastfeed.
I know breast is best. I know milk from a mother vs. milk from a bottle is like the adult equivalent of eating a quinoa and bean salad with organic vegetables versus eating McDonalds. Believe me I know that! I get the point very well. But what I don’t get is the guilt that comes with it. Uggh! I went through every single comment out there on the subject!
So no, I am not here to make you feel guilty for not breastfeeding or for not begin successful at it. I am here to let you know my story and maybe you all mothers-to-be will learn from my mistakes and this post will lead you to have a better experience than I had. Or maybe it will help you to feel better if you are bottle feeding!
When I was pregnant with my first boy I was OBSESSED with breastfeeding! I knew it was better for my baby so I really wanted to be successful at it, so I read about 3 books to inform myself, and I also read every single post in the internet on this subject!
After realising how many benefits our breastmilk has. I was convinced I had to do it no matter what. Your milk is nature’s own immunisation protecting baby against a wide variety of illness and conditions!
But with all the amazing benefits you read, it also comes the advice of certain midwifes or some family or friends saying:
– “But don’t pick him up every time he cries, other wise you will never be able to put him down”
– “Give him some breast milk and top him up with some formula after every feed”
– “Don’t breastfeed in public/do breastfeed in public”
– “Feed him/her only during the day and give him formula on the last feed of the day so he/she sleeps all night”
– ” Don’t cover your baby up with a cloth when breastfeeding in public, would you like to be covered with a blanket when you are eating?”
EXCUSE ME? but why? Why does some people feel the need to be pushy with their ideas. I mean we all can give tips or a light advice to hep. But from there to be judgmental or push your ideas on someone is different. The sad part is that I followed every single “advice” that I mentioned above! And it drove me nuts! I felt I wasn’t doing anything right.
On my first pregnancy, there was someone quite close to me who would constantly say: “do not pick him up every time he cries” and I didn’t, and that was my main fail as he wasn’t putting on weight so I had to introduce bottles when he was 3 months. That made me feel like a total failure! And in top of that, my body, (as many other mothers) can’t pump milk (it happened to me on both pregnancies). This is something I had no idea it could happen, but it does to some women!
Some women can perfectly feed their babies from the breast and babies can be getting more than enough but for some reason milk doesn’t come out at all when trying to pump! And I was one of them!
Between the anxiety of not begin able to ever leave my baby (as I couldn’t pump, I couldn’t leave bottles behind for him) and the fact he wasn’t gaining weight just lead me to give it up completely and with that came one terrible depression and guilt. I felt I failed my baby.
I used to go to this breasfeeding meetings and seeing how successful this ladies were It genuinely got me so down, this is the time were I put most of the weight as I was so tired, so down, and so hormonal.
Please don’t let anyone dictate to you what is best for your baby, go with your instincts. If you feel your baby wants more milk, pick him up and feed him again. If you want to cover yourself up DO IT! if you feel better not covering yourself DON’T do it but don’t judge anybody else for doing otherwise.
I personally used to feel better covering up. And I still would get the typical comment from some friends: “would you like to be covered when eating?” well no I don’t, but I want to cover ffs leave me alone! (lol). Or on the other side, if you feel more comfortable feeding without a cloth, do so! don’t mind what anybody else think. Just do what makes you feel happier and more comfortable!
I was also having problems attaching him properly at the start. So I had terrible pain and cracks in my nipples, the pain was horrific so make sure you get help of your midwife to teach you how to attach your baby properly. The products I found the best for calming the pain and to cure the nipple were this products:
One is the compresses and the other one is the balm. As expensive as they are, they are the best thing in the world to calm the irritation in the skin from breastfeeding! You can get them in any pharmacies!
3 months after this I was pregnant again. I was assured this time I was going to make it work! and I did, as I did my own thing and I breast feed him for 6 months on which 5 were exclusively breast milk.
And as I couldn’t pump I just had it in my head that I wasn’t going to be able to ever leave him, so I would bring him everywhere, into the hairdresser, to friends houses, playgroups, park, etc. When he was able to sleep a little longer I started to fit in one hour workouts at the gym and pray to God that he didn’t wake up as hubby would be helpless to the poor little thing.
I don’t want to make this post super long so I am going to get to the point on my advice and tips and I hope they are helpful:
- Breastfeed your baby all day long, as much as your baby wants! do it by demand, every time your baby wants a feed. Feed him/her! They know when they need more so follow nature! This will allow help your milk to get stablished by your baby needs.
- In my opinion a soother is a bad idea when breastfeeding because they can get confused with the sucking motion and they don’t cry when they feel hungry as soother it is comforting for them. And your milk supply might be affected. (Obviously do what you think is best mama, I’m not judging at all, I am only giving my advice, soother might not do that at all and might work perfectly for you)
- If you feel like you are getting mastitis go to your GP immediately as the soonest is detected the easier it is to treat!
- Don’t give mixed formula with breast it kind of defeats the porpoise of the benefits of the milk. Even though some breast milk is better than no breast milk at all, try to exclusively breastfeed. It is best for your baby to prevent hundreds of illness and deceases.
- If you can’t breasted don’t feel guilty about it. Feel happy you have a healthy happy baba in your arms and no matter what, he or she will be always loved and cared for. And after a few years have passed you will not even remember or think how your baby was breastfeed!
- Breasfeeding helps you to get your tummy back in place. So for this reason it is worth the effort for you and your baby!
- Also once you start to wash bottles, you realise you should have never stopped breasfeeding. It is just so easy to attach the baby without having to sterilise bottles and washing them and carrying formula everywhere, boiling the water, etc. It is just much easier to feed them your own milk!
- Once your baby turns 6 months make sure you introduce him or her to the right foods, specially vegetables. Yes, veggies over fruits! By experience, a lot of kids develop a love for sweet foods and is very hard to get them to eat vegetables down the line. Always give them some veggies to start with and then a few teaspoons of some blended fruit for “dessert”. But make their main meal be veggies!
If you have any questions please do not hesitate on asking me anything!
And to finish this off, here is my favourite memes that will for sure, put a smile on your face: