So this week is breastfeeding week and I am going to jump on this band wagon as I am four days away from having breastfed my little chunky monster for six months. Woo woo!!
This last six months has by no means been an easy ride but we have overcome our hurdles together and we are still going strong.
Fortunately I haven’t been cursed with the horrors that can arise with breastfeeding/expressing *yet. I have suffered the usual feelings of exploding boobie syndrome aka engorgement, and at first my youngest did struggle with his latch which made each feed even more toe curlingly painful than the last but I persevered. I persevered through the pain and the tears, the exhaustion and the engorgement and I think it was three months in when it all started to feel a little more normal and comfortable.
Breastfeeding isn’t easy, it may be natural but it isn’t easy. Some people may be blessed with a miracle baby that latches perfectly and feeds beautifully from the second they entered this crazy world but for a lot of us mums who choose to breastfeed, it can be damn hard.
In my case there was no giving up not even for a moment. There were moments when my OH said “you don’t have to do this you know, it doesn’t have to be this hard!” But I did have to do it. For those of you who are new to my blog you may not know that my eldest son was 11 weeks premature when he was born and I had to express – I tried my hardest to breastfeed but I was blessed (and cursed) with an abundant supply of milk, no amount of breastfeeding was going to make a dent in the fountain of milky goodness. So I expressed and I continued to express for a year.
This is what forced me to keep going when breastfeeding was hard, I had expressed for a year for my eldest, I could not treat my youngest with any less dedication. I had to be fair to them both and give them both the best start I possibly could. So my stubbornness and determination to ensure both my boys were treated with the same amount of love and dedication has led me to today, almost six months of breastfeeding and still counting.
What have I learnt from breastfeeding? I don’t give a shit what anyone else thinks. I am not plagued with the worries of feeding in public or wondering what people must be thinking, I honestly do not care. There are many things in this world to be worrying about, feeding my child is not one of them. Yes ok I may be a little more aware that sometimes my boobs are more on display than I want them to be, and my FIL and BIL have seen more of my breast’s than I would ever want them to see but c’est la vie, I can’t be faffed trying to cover myself up and hide myself away when really my priority is getting my little boy latched on correctly and me in a comfortable position. To be honest it’s hard enough making sure you have the correct type of clothes on for feeding never mind covering up whilst feeding. My staple “uniform” is the doubled up vest top, one to pull up,one to pull down all the while maintaining as much dignity as possible without the world having to see post pregnancy belly hanging out as well as boob.
What else? You really can feed anywhere! I almost want to have a bucket list of places to feed in just to tick them off and say I did it. I’ve obviously fed snuggled on the sofa, lying in bed, walking around the house, in the garden, in a cafe and restaurant but also in the car *parked, in a muddy wood, on a boat, on the beach *uh sandy boobs yuk, in an airport, on a plane. I really need to start ticking off some weird and wonderful places.
There are quite a few things I like about breastfeeding, for instance you have to sit back and relax. You can take a moment to unwind, catch up on a boxset, have a chat on the phone or even write a blog!! It really isn’t something that you can rush. It gives you time to admire you growing little bundle and discover mannerisms that they have when they feed. My youngest for example likes to put his hands up to my cheek and stroke my face – ok at first it was punch my face but the more coordinated he has become the less worried I am that he is not some form of devil child out to punish me. It gives you time to reflect and let worries dissapate, it gives you time to bond. However in the same breath it takes time – it can’t be rushed, well that’s no good when you have a two year old who wants mummy to play “mummy down…play” my heart breaks when I have to explain that I will play as soon as I’ve finished feeding. At first it wasn’t too bad because when my youngest was tiny I could just bundle him about in one arm, but now he’s a little roly poly of a beast, I require both arms and at least one knee to prop him up.
I love the closeness that I share with our youngest but it makes me envious of my OH watching him with our eldest and seeing them having so much fun and playing and what am I doing….feeding. ..again!!
It’s nice to be wanted, needed and cuddled but after a while I get a little touched out and I need some time away to reset myself as I start to resent breastfeeding, all I need is some time alone and I am ready once again for snuggles and cuddles.
Feeding is now easy, but I mustn’t become complacent, every now and again when I sit feeling smug that I can multitask whilst feeding I get a jolt back to reality with a gummy clamp down on the end of my nipple…I would literally throw him across the room in shock if I wasn’t fitted with a default to not do so, these occasional clamp downs make me worried about the emergence of teeth…oh god teeth!
So how long will I carry on for?? Well I have to make the year, that’s when it all ended with my eldest so that’s my target, and to think I’m literally on the cusp of being halfway there -jeez that’s scary.
I guess I have to make most of every cuddle and try not to get too pissed off when I’m being kicked and beaten in the night by a ferocious boob monster because it won’t be long before he is in his own bed going off to sleep without so much as a kiss from mummy because he doesnt want or need me anymore. On the other hand I am looking forward to being abe to wear a pretty bra once again….that has support…and wiring. Mind you by the time I get to the end, I’m going to need more tha support, I will be calling for little sprinkles of magic in the world of wonder bras to bring to life the empty saggy socks that were once pert bouncy boobies. I will be the one sporting the spaniel eared look *can’t wait.
For all you breastfeeding mamas out there, keep going , you’re doing great 🙂