Many of you may not know this but I am a mum of 4. And like many mums out there I've been through the wonky mirror maze that is breastfeeding.
There is so much judgement out there for breast feeders and bottle feeders and before I go on with this blog let me just say "My body, my baby so my bloody choice!" add in a few expletives and you have my comeback to everyone who is projecting their opinions on mums.
1. Suck, sucky
So one of the first things I learnt as a brand new spanking mama is that the nurses and midwives usually place your baby on your chest when they are first delivered to kick start the lactating process. This gets your body producing those hormones to help you produce milk for your little one.
Some mums are handed their baby straight out of their canal whilst other mummies get their babies back after a cleaning. Being a mum of C-section babies, they gave me the baby to look at
and later after returning from the recovery room, I got my baby back.
2. Latching or lack thereof
There is so much judgement on mums who don't breast feed and let me just say "It's not because I don't want to, it's because I can't!". Everyone is made different, sometimes latching doesn't work. It could be because of the position or your nipple shape and size or just because your little one is very hungry, whatever it is don't stress out. You're not a failure because something doesn't take the first few times you try. Use a bottle if it just doesn't work.
Statistically up to 5% of women cannot breastfeed or produce enough milk to feed their baby so they have to bottle feed.
3. Wipe, wipe, shiny nipple
What many women don't know before having a baby and breastfeeding is that there is a process to prep your nipples for feeding. Yep, you heard that right, we have to clean our nipples and sterilize as much as possible before we start trying to get our babies to latch. I have to be honest and admit it was something I found mind-blowing because you never see anything like it in movies or advertisements. You can use fresh baby-safe wet wipes or prepared pre-boiled and sterilized cotton pads. You wipe a few times and get your milk flowing.
Another thing I found out for myself and never really thought of except for reading about it in a small paragraph in the back of a baby book is 'cracked nipples'. Let me just say 'Ouch with multiples Fs' they hurt. They don't only just crack but they bleed and scab too. I'm sorry this is graphic but it's the truth. There are some ointments on the market and I suggest you get a few to try, other things to use is a nipple protector or thick breastfeeding pads. They usually help with rubbing your nips against your maternity bra.
5. Use a breast pump to express milk
When I breastfed my children, I had trouble alternating breasts for feeding. This was because I was producing a huge amount of milk and one breast would be so full it was hard and couldn't wait till the next feeding time. To help with this I used a breast pump. I usually attach it to the side my baby wasn't feeding from and pump whilst I breast fed. I would then feed my little one until they were full and if I had any milk left in that breast I would express it too. It was a ton of weight on my chest, literally.
Thank you for reading and make sure you read part II for more information about breastfeeding!