I’ve been breastfeeding exclusively for just over a year now. My daughter started solid foods at 6 months but still breastfeeds during the day and night.
I’d always said I would aim for 6 months exclusive breastfeeding and would just see what happens after that. Well, I’m at double that now and I thought I’d write a little list of the top things that you should know if you’re planning on breastfeeding.
1. It bloody hurts at first
I don’t care what anyone says. Even if the latch is right, you are using nipple cream and you have the best baby in the world… Breastfeeding bloody hurts for the first few weeks. Its hard. Your nips sting and are super sore. Mine cracked and bled. You just have to power through and think of all the good it’s doing for your baby. You’re both new at it and it will take time for your nipples to adjust to being chomped on by a baby!
Obviously, make sure you get some advice to ensure the latch is right etc. but when you’re told it’s all fine and it still bloody hurts, don’t be discouraged! It does get easier and pain free!
2. You will have a baby on your boob 24/7
You read up on how often babies feed and you will usually hear the every 3 hours fact of how often newborns feed. Well, that’s bullshit. Sorry but it is. My baby fed every 40mins to an hour for the first few months. She’d settle down to every few hours and then a growth spurt, teething, cold or clingy phase would appear and its back to every 40 mins. Oh and they stay there for 40+ minutes too! So just be prepared to spend a lot of time on your bum, usually bored unless you’re in front of a TV!
3. It is magical stuff
I use my boobs to settle my baby, feed her, give her a drink, offer comfort and sometimes to shut her up *guilty*.
Boobs are great. I honestly don’t know how formula feeding mums do it without their boobs – hats off to you!
The comfort my daughter gets from booby and the ease at which I can just whip one out and settle her is invaluable for the first year. Obviously now she’s older it’s easier and I rely less on them but there’s still times when all else fails, stick her on my boob and she’s happy.
4. Feeding in public isn’t as scary as you’d think
To be fair, I very rarely needed to feed my baby in full on crowded rooms etc. I did most of my out and about feeds either in a park or in the car. However, on the occasions where I was seen publicly feeding I was only ever smiled at and I never once felt self conscious or shamed. I could just be really lucky but I didn’t have any issues.
I was also keeping up with other mums stories on our birth board forum and the same was true for other mums. I think it’s becoming much less of a problem now.
I was always scared/worried about whipping a boob out in public but to be honest when your baby is hungry and you hear that cry, you don’t care what anyone else thinks, you just do it.
5. You will be sad thinking about it ending
I am still breastfeeding at one year and I am glad I am. I think she will be ready to stop before I will. I am going to miss it so much. The cuddles, the closeness, her needing me and only me for that special time.
It genuinely makes me sad to think that one day (probably fairly soon for me) that I’ll no longer be breastfeeding her. Not only will it mean she’s growing up, it will also be the end of a very special and dependent period of her life.
At the beginning you find it the hardest thing to keep going but by the end you genuinely don’t want to stop – or at least that’s how it is for me.
So those are my top 5 things to know about breastfeeding. What are yours? Any advice and tips for mummy’s just about to embark of the wonderful journey?