Breastfeeding is an experience I am so lucky to share with my son. I always knew I wanted to try and breastfeed and hoped we would get the opportunity to. It, however, is a lot different than what I thought it would be, also a lot more challenging.
I read all sorts of blogs and got all sorts of advice before my son arrived and I thought I was pretty prepared for what was coming at me, but there's a whole lot I never realized and some of it was quite weird.
You and your baby will be covered in breastmilk constantly especially those first few weeks. Just accept it, you get better at coordinating your nipples but there is milk everywhere those first few weeks and you may smell like feta for a little while.
Once your baby starts sleeping through the night, don’t think you will be because your confused boobs still need to pump. 1am and 5am you’ll find me pumping and snacking in the dark.
When your baby cries, or any other baby cries you will leak, anywhere - anytime.
The day your milk comes in, let’s just say you will never forget that day. This is where my New Edition Pumpd Pump became my best friend. I would sit in the shower with my Pumpd attached and just release the pressure without increasing my supply. Godsend.
The correct latch - the holy grail of breastfeeding. This you will not master straight away and you will never be able to karate chop latch your baby onto your nipple like the hospital midwives (how do they do that?!) but you will both soon figure it out.
You will not recognize your boobs the first day you look at yourself in the mirror. Just remember it happens to us all who breastfeed.
Breastfeeding should not hurt. Despite what you are told, if there is pain somethings not quite right so talk with a lactation consultant and get that sorted ASAP.
One boob is better than the other. It’s like how you have one stove element you like the best (we all do it’s fine). Maybe it’s to do with being left or right-handed but boob right is def the winner around here.
An engorged breast is the most horrible feeling of all time. Something I don’t think you can understand till you experience what a 1am boob feels like. Massage, feed or pump that out as soon as you can.
Your boobs go lumpy and weigh a ton. I don’t know what I thought milk ducts were like or would feel like (just a bag of milk in your boob? I dunno) but when they are full you can feel them individually and some get more full than others.
Your hungry baby will latch onto anything including your arm, neck and cheek like a hungry suckerfish.
You will now sleep in a bra and breast pads (make sure you sleep in something without wire or to much support to avoid pressure which can lead to other things eg mastitis)
A hungry baby literally sounds like a guinea pig (this is also the cutest thing ever).
You will literally eat anything and everything. You thought you were hungry when pregnant, well you just wait sister because the hunger is real when breastfeeding.
You will drink litres of water a day, but hardly ever piss? As someone who went for a wee every 5 minutes even when not pregnant this one really blows my mind.
When they smile at your mid feed - you will lose it, it’s adorable.
Breastfeeding lying down. The golden ticket!
You suddenly have zero care factor about who sees your boobs and nipples. As someone who didn’t show a lot of skin before being pregnant, I think everyone I know now has seen my boobs and who cares? Not me.
You semi become addicted to stashing breastmilk in the freezer? Like a hoarder of breastmilk. Individually bagged and labelled, like a crazy person.
Buy a breastfeeding pillow!
Breastfeeding in public - get used to it ya prudes because I’m doing it and I’m not covering his head in 28 degrees.
You will start breastfeeding in the same position, propped up by pillows and your arm or leg may almost fall off from the weird angle you are sitting to not interfere with your latch (6 weeks in you are both professionals who can latch in the dark, cross-legged in an armchair)
Hydrogel breast disks - thank me later.
Although it’s hard the first few weeks and you feel like it’s never going to get easier, it does. You will have days where you cry and go stuff this I’m tapping out but if you can keep pushing through those first few, testing weeks it suddenly clicks and if it doesn’t, then you gave it a bloody good shot and you should be proud.
A firm favourite from Dr Cat Stone & Jessica Giljam-Brown, this is a dish that can be prepared in the morning then put in the oven when you're ready, and it's all baked on one tray for easy prep, cooking and clean-up! Packed full of antioxidants, this recipe is full of nutrients that support liver detox and digestion, it's a win win in our book and a great one for the week!
It always amazed me, and even more now that there are so many people out there who are either weirded out by breast milk donation or don’t know that it is an option. The fact we drink cows and goats’ milk without question, but the idea of sharing breast milk from humans to other human babies is taboo blows my mind.
Let-down is your body’s natural response to healthy breastfeeding, every mother experiences let-down a little differently and if your milk isn’t flowing as much as you’d like, a few simple steps might just make the difference. Don’t let up on your let-down!