Well guess what it’s not, it’s hard work! It’s probably the hardest thing other than giving birth that I’ve ever done but also undoubtably the best!
In the early days the baby cluster feeds non stop during the night, you survive on minimal sleep and probably don’t want to leave the house for fear that people will stare, judge, or that you will struggle to look like Mother Earth or someone who knows what they’re supposed to be doing.
This may be your reality at the moment however, if you manage to keep going you will almost definitely reap the rewards!
When I started my breastfeeding journey it definitely wasn’t plane sailing the midwife and health visitor labelled me as some sort of pro as I had breastfed my eldest daughter. But the reality was I had lost quite a few brain cells since then so It was difficult to remember my name never mind the joys of breastfeeding.
I felt a little more confident this time around although it didn’t really help as my (avert your eyes if you’re squeamish) nipples still bled, hormones were crazy, I hit the baby blues and my beautiful baby was still struggling with learning what she was meant to do.
It’s such a strange thing, when both of my children were born they instinctively latched on as if they had always done so, but then, they seemed to become confused, lose all sense of direction and would spend their time searching endlessly becoming tense and frustrated if they were unable to hit jackpot!
So,“They Say” it comes naturally, they say the baby will find their way, they say if the baby is latched on correctly it shouldn’t hurt, they say lots of things and I suppose they are all true but throw in tiredness, hunger, mis-direction and everyday events and it becomes difficult and no matter how much you try it may not be plane sailing for you or your bundle of joy.
Having breastfed before I knew the techniques and tried so hard to make sure I was doing everything right and still my nipples became chapped, painful and bled. This time I felt able to guide her a little sooner so it became better after 5 days but first time things seemed to improve after about 2 weeks.
I think it honestly depends on the baby and whether they are going to latch correctly and stay latched, snack or feed for extremely long lengths of time.
Ok, so I know it can all go smoothly for some women or maybe they just have industrial nipples that take no punishment. But for me and lots of others out there it can be agony to begin with! And well mastitis that’s another ball game that I’m very lucky I’ve only had the early stages of.
Before I continue I would just like to say I think one of the biggest worries for new mothers at the moment is the pressure of society thinking “they should be breastfeeding” my opinion is it definitely might not be for everyone. There are factors in everyone’s life that have to be taken into account such as work, other children, mental health and well-being. So please please don’t think that this is another one of those stories of why everyone no matter who they are should breastfeed. THIS IS JUST MY STORY OF WHY I’M SO PLEASED I DID.
To begin with I couldn’t believe that people said breastfeeding was amazing, seriously what planet were they living on! but after 6 months I understood. Being able to express meant I was able to have the odd night out or pop to the shops but second time around things were different.
So this time my little one struggled with reflux was exclusively breastfed and then refused to take the bottle as I probably waited too long to introduce. For over a year I’ve exclusively breastfed day and night and it’s been hard but it has also been the best and I’ve only decided to stop as I feel it is becoming a comfort rather than necessity as feeding takes place mostly at night.
The bond I have with my darling is the most precious ever. All those night time feeds, cuddles, little eyes looking up at me and fingers stroking my face! It was definitely my choice, my stubbornness, my commitment because I wanted the best possible start for my baby and ultimately the best decision I’ve made.
For anyone wondering whether they should breastfeed I would say definitely do it if you’re able to but remember your wellbeing is so very important and if you’re reading this and haven’t been able to continue don’t worry you have done amazing whether you have managed 5 hours, 5 days or 5 months you are amazing!
I suppose I’m very stubborn and there was lots of times along the way that family advised me to stop so I could have a break, night out or sleep, but I’m so glad that my instinct forced me to continue.
Is breast best! In my opinion yes of course it is! But will your child be any less able in the future if u don’t breastfeed no probably not. But the closeness, bond, love and joy of breastfeeding is so worth the journey.
What I will say is definitely use the techniques the health visitor and midwife tell you from day one, nose to nipple in the early days, once your nipples are chapped there’s no going back and it’s basically hardcore until they heal!
Once ur little one is a pro things are so much better and it’s a lot easier to be more discreet in public, although I am one of those mothers who becomes flustered, drops the muslim, knocks a drink over and draws attention to every single thing I’m doing.
A supportive family is crucial, if they haven’t breastfed themselves they may not be able to offer advice or help but just reassuring you can mean so much. Supporting you through the tears and sleepless nights. Sometimes your family’s influence may force you to stop before your journey has begun, but if it’s something you want to do stay strong and continue.
Don’t worry that you’re the only mother in the world struggling! Remember most mothers are they just choose not to talk about it! If you’re worried, feeling down, or a feeling a little lost seek advice or help
If I’m honest I shut myself off and probably don’t ask for help when I need it. But I think when hormones are involved a mothers instinct is to struggle through regardless of her own needs.
I think there is so much emphasis on the positives about breastfeeding which there are so many of, but often the struggles women go through daily are not mentioned!
I definitely believed first time around that I was failing that no matter how much research I had done, classes I had attended and commitment I had to it being fab from the beginning it just wasn’t! But then once I began speaking to other women I realised that this was the reality for lots of new mums.
I am so sad that our breastfeeding journey is coming to an end. So sad! Maybe after this long it’s become an addiction, a lifestyle, a routine which I’m gutted to be leaving behind. For over a year my body has supported my child to grow and flourish and that is the most rewarding feeling ever. Yes I’m sad but also very proud and happy that I have given her the best possible start in life.
We live in such a judgemental world and often no matter which road we choose we will be judged but believe in your own ability as a mother! Do what you feel is the best for your child!
I will cherish the memories of breastfeeding good and bad and although I’m sad that our journey is ending I can’t wait to embrace the next chapter!
Good luck guys! Feel empowered today and love life with your children xxx