Oh yes, breastfeeding!! Most expectant mothers intend to be breastfeeding Mums for at least the first couple of weeks to allow their baby to get all the goodness that they can from them. It is not as easy as everyone makes out but it is more than attainable for the strong willed.
After a long conversation (nearly an hour and a half) with a friend, who is a new mother to a beautiful 24 day old girl, today, I decided to blog about the joys and woes of breastfeeding. My friend is at the point that I remember well. 3 weeks in, you are screaming at your husband/partner ‘just get the Aptamil (insert brand of choice)’. I was fortunate enough to have a friend who was expecting her 3rd and had breastfed her first 2 girls until they were aged 1+ who had told me, ‘just make it to 8 weeks, I promise it will get easier, just make it to 8 weeks’. I found myself repeating this to my friend today, whose little girl is permanently attached as she goes through her first huge growth spurt and my friends milk begins to adjust.
To those who do not know, forgive me if I sound arrogant or presumptious, I did not know that this happened until it was explained to me by my Auntie who is a midwife. (I was fortunate to be able to constantly call and harass her when I felt at crisis point, which was often over something trivial that felt huge at the time). Breast milk is an amazing thing, it constantly adjusts to your babies need for sateity. The milk that you produce for a 3 month old would not satisfy a 5 month old. It adapts as your baby grows. During this period of evolving it will feel as though your milk is not satisfying your baby anymore and you were not designed for breastfeeding. It is correct that your milk is not satisfying your baby for very long and they will be on you constantly, usually for at least 2 days whilst your milk adapts and responds to the babies need. Then it should calm again. This happens every time that your baby has a growth spurt.
A lot of people give in and begin weaning at 4 months as they feel their milk is not enough anymore. This may be true for some, although I strongly feel that the body is an amazing thing and if you hold out through the difficult days your milk will adapt and you can continue exclusively breastfeeding as per the WHO guidelines until 6 months.
I am so glad that I made it to the 8 weeks, it really did seem to click from then onwards. No bottle warming, sterilising etc, there it is on tap whenever baby needs. There are definitely advantages to bottle/formula feeding, most babies tend to sleep better after a full feed this way. However, it depends on your viewpoint of what is best for your baby. I personally feel it is great to let them have all the nutrients that only breastmilk can provide, whereas others may feel it is better for baby (and mother) to get a decent nights sleep. Both are important for development/growth etc.
I am not belittling Mums that choose to bottle feed, I just wish to encourage those that feel as though it will never get easier to keep going. If you are experiencing chapped nipples, I found the Lansinoh cream to be the best, and it’s great because you don’t need to wipe it off before baby feeds again. It is baby friendly. As Dory states in Finding Nemo about swimming, ‘just keep feeding’, it will get easier, I promise and there is such satisfaction in knowing you kept your baby alive all that time from the nourishment in your own body.
Lots of love
what Mama didn’t tell me