Breastfeeding is one of the hardest journeys I’ve faced so far as a mum, alas it’s also the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done in my life. Knowing that Elijah is getting all of the goodness and is thriving from my own breast milk is a brilliant feeling.
As amazing as a woman’s body is, creating custom milk for her own offspring, it’s bloody hard work. I’m now 12 weeks into my breastfeeding journey and it’s finally a heck of a lot easier! I honestly believe the first six weeks are the hardest, even with all the support!
I gained so much support and advice from some wonderful groups on Facebook – two especially are Breast Feeding Yummy Mummys and Milky Mummies where all the mums are ever so supportive to each over.
I love breastfeeding and would love to share a little bit of advice to any other new mum or mum to be to in the hope it will help even a little, if at all!
Trust your body. Honestly, your body just grew a child from scratch, gave birth to it and is still in tact – it’s amazing. Ladies, trust your bodies. You can make the milk, and your baby is getting enough.
Ask for help. There is absolutely no shame in asking for help. Whether it’s just to grab your charger or a drink, or running that errand you planned on doing – just ask.
Cluster feeding is normal. I promise. You are making enough milk, and your baby does want your boob. A cluster feeding baby is likely to be extra fussy on the boob, crying and hitting at it, refusing it and taking forever to get a decent latch. You’ll be swapping boobs every 30 seconds and it it so so so frustrating! However it’s completely normal, and baby is just sending signals to up your supply! So whatever your annoying MIL or friend who’s baby sleeps through the night alright says, you don’t need to supplement with a bottle of formula – babies know what they’re doing!
Stick with it! I’m so glad I did! I wanted to give up after 3 weeks, if Elijah wasn’t on my boob I was pumping, burping or changing his nappy. It was so much harder than I thought! However 12 weeks in it’s a million times easier, feeding is a breeze! And sticking with it is the best decision I’ve made! Never give up on a tough day.
Research. I really wish I did! I had no idea about cluster feeds, which pump to buy (or to even buy one!), when my milk would come in, which bras would be comfy! I hadn’t a clue. I wish I’d researched more as I’d have had a lot more confidence in myself! Ask the questions you need to.
Stock up on cream and pads! I used Lansinoh at the start and it saved my nipples! Anyone who says it doesn’t hurt to begin with is either a liar or very lucky! Having a baby suck at your nipple all day absolutely will take its toll on you, just lather up in cream and get some air on your nips! Also, you’ll more than likely leak loads, I can’t remember the last time I had dry boobs. Gross. Get the pads in!
It gets easier after 6 weeks. Please believe me on that one. The first six weeks of breastfeeding is extremely difficult, your baby is building up your milk supply! Your baby isn’t just feeding for milk, he’s also suckling for comfort. It’s so normal for your baby to be on you all the time. Have a read on The Fourth Trimester and it’ll make a bit more sense. Just work with your baby and your body and it’ll come so naturally for you.
Find a support group. This has been so vital to my breastfeeding journey! If I hadn’t have joined the two groups I mentioned at the start of this post, I’d have been a lot less educated on breastfeeding and would have given in and put Elijah on formula at weeks old. I was in a few parent groups before which were to put it bluntly – awful. These were the wrong groups for me which offered no support. *If you’d like BF support and would like me to add you to the groups I mentioned, please send me a message and I’ll do do!*
Lastly, ‘If in doubt, boob!’ This is what I live by. I dread the day boobing wont fix what’s wrong with Elijah. For real. Teething? Boob. Hungry? Boob. Scared and anxious? Boob. Boob fixes everything.
I must add, it does get easier after 6 weeks, however if you’re still experiencing discomfort or pain OR your baby is losing weight and you don’t feel you’re making enough milk then please seek help from your GP, health visitor or lactation consultant!
Laura Loveday xo