One thing I noticed when I was pregnant with my boys, was how much midwives and health care professionals encouraged me to try breastfeeding. It was heavily pushed upon me especially as a young mum.
The importance of giving your baby your breastmilk was somewhat pushed upon me. I was of course happy enough to give it a go with both the boys however, I have never managed to exclusively breastfeed.
Whilst going through the process of trying to breastfeed, I realised there are some things that I was not told about or knew about and I feel that mums who are going to try breastfeeding should know as much as they can beforehand, which is why I want to share these points with you today!
It isn’t easy
I was made to feel right at the very beginning that once I learnt to latch on that was it. Once I did it, I would know how to do it and I would be able to go on my merry way. Little did I know that you have to train your body to produce milk, you have to learn when to tell when a breast is empty. There is a lot to know and it can be overwhelming at times.
I would highly recommend watching videos on YouTube and if possible attending some breastfeeding workshops if they have some in your area.
There may not be much support
I know that this may sound contradictory seen as I just mentioned workshops but the reality is that at times there doesn’t seem to be many services available to woman after birth. You go from having an appointment a week to having one a month, pretty much overnight. I remember crying when Cohen was a few days old because I felt like a failure and was made to feel like a failure by the midwives that came out to see me.
My best advice would be to ask your midwife for a list of all of the services available to you postpartum at your hospital and also in your local area, then if need be also look for other services outside of the hospital!
To help you find some services check out the NHS information page by clicking here!
It can hurt
I remember that being told over and over again when I went to antenatal classes, that breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt and if it does your doing it wrong. However, what they didn’t explain was that it’s not meant to be excruciating, but it is uncomfortable.
To be quite frank, my nipples were so sensitive during pregnancy. So much so that some times wearing a bra was uncomfortable. Imagine then having a furiously hungry newborn latching on and sucking away. It is going to be uncomfortable, but the pain should subside after a minute or so. As you continue to breastfeed your nipple do become pretty robust and use to the sucking.
Engorgement is a bitch
If your not familiar with the term engorgement is a term used when your breasts are full of milk and it is uncomfortable. Engorgement is appears differently for some women. Some women’s breasts triple size, some leak uncontrollably.
If you do breastfeed or decide to express then, the best result is to feed or express. However, if you decide to not breastfeed or express then the best thing to do it so try and sit it out. There are some brilliant old wives tales about how to deal with it but ultimately if you express then you will tell your body to produce more milk and the cycle continues.
It can be exhausting
Your body produces milk on a supply and demand basis. The more you feed the more milk your body produces. This does mean that you may have to spend multiple times during the day and night sat pumping to help with supply.
This alongside the already sleepless nights you already have can be exhausting!
Every woman is different
Not every woman has the ability to breastfeed. Sometimes your body can’t produce milk quick enough for how frequently your little one feeds. Sometimes your milk supply doesn’t start early enough.
I wish this was something, I knew when I had Cohen because I felt so guilty when I moved over to formula because I felt as though I had just given up on him.
None of the points that I wrote about above are meant to scare you or put you off. Breastfeeding is a brilliant experience and I am so proud that I managed to do it one or two times.
The one things that you should most definitely be taken away from this and I really hope you do take away is that fed is best! It doesn’t matter if you breastfeed, express or used formula what’s important is that you and baby are healthy.
If you liked this post then why not check out a couple of my other posts!