My Breastfeeding Journey

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My breastfeeding journey started in 2011, I knew I wanted to breastfeed, that was one thing I was certain of, but it wasn’t that easy at all, I almost feel like I have fought a huge battle to get where I am, still learning, still trying and still on my journey. It’s not easy, but it’s so worth it. I want to share with you some of the difficulties I have experienced with Breastfeeding as well as the absolute highs!

Difficulties…

1) Small and SORE nipples – My BIGGEST hurdle to date is my small nipples (Sorry for the over-share) Yes, it is and was a problem, especially with my first child to latch, In hospital a midwife recommended I try use nipple shields to help with this problem and it worked absolute wonders, without this I VERY much doubt that I would of breastfed my first child. My son doesn’t need them luckily. In the beginning days and weeks of Breastfeeding I had sore/raw nipples, the hospital recommended lazer therapy on the nipples which I did as well as a special nipple cream mixed up by the pharmacist.
2) HUGE boobs – Yes, I was cursed with huge breasts, I know maybe some of you are thinking CURSED? Why Cursed but ask any big breasted woman the same question and they will say the same, the biggest problem is that it is hard to breastfeed with big boobs, but not impossible! I found that I could not breastfeed in public, the thought of whipping out an EXTRA HUGE boob in public terrifies me, not to say I haven’t done it before but I really do not like doing this at all. Why? because my entire boob is exposed also I have to use a breastfeeding pillow when I breastfeed or else I smother my child with the HUGE boob! My breastfeeding pillow is my best friend and an absolute lifesaver!
3) Bad Latch – My daughter had a bad latch when born we had to see a few lactation specialists, however the only thing that helped was the nipple shields. With my son he also had an initial bad latch because of a tongue tie.
4) Tongue ties – Kieran had a tongue tie when he was born, however our Clinical midwife specialist at the hospital snipped this and it was as easy as that. Problem solved almost immediately.
5) Over-active let down – Yes that gushing milk, too much supply in the beginning stages of breastfeeding is the worst, it causes a lot gas/ burb problems for baby.
6) Too much fore-milk – I had so much foremilk it took forever for baby to eventually get to the hind-milk, but luckily this did not last too long. The hind-milk is so important for a baby as it contains more fat, when a baby gets too much of the foremilk it causes tummy problems.
7) Low milk supply – I had to stop breastfeeding due to low milk supply when my daughter was 7 months old, I was adamant that this wouldn’t happen the second time around. Luckily I work from home and can breastfeed whenever I want and keep up my supply.
8) Engorged breasts – Especially in the beginning of breastfeeding, it is painful. What worked for me was hot showers, expressing and the old fashioned cabbage leaves.
9) Mastitis – When Kieran was a month old I developed Mastitis, truly it was the most horrible feeling! Fever, shivering, body aches, I couldn’t even move or speak. It was painful and thank goodness the hospital did an at – home consultation with a midwife to help me through it. I had to go on anti-biotics. This helped almost immediately as well as draining the sore breast.
10) Lumps / Blocked ducts – its painful and sore. Luckily mine didn’t last too long. Anti-biotics for my mastitis sorted it out as well as massaging my boobs.
11) Biting – Oh goodness, yes sometimes this happens, especially when they get their first teeth, its super sore, but I won’t let it deter me!
12) You must watch what you eat and drink – I found that a few things I ate/drank affected baby, especially citrus and green vegetables for me, everyone is different, but for me this was difficult as I absolutely love orange juice and Vegetables. Because of Kieran’s eczema I also had to cut out dairy and eggs.
13) Demanding – Breastfeeding is VERY demanding, especially in the first 12 weeks, its constant every 1-4-hour slots, and sometimes it feels like your child is living on your boobs. My best advice, enjoy it, it doesn’t last long and express some so that your partner can also do a feeding when you need a break. It’s Exhausting I won’t lie, its time consuming, its so draining and demanding, BUT its so BEAUTIFUL and in the beginning its hard, hard, but it GETS so much easier, I promise!
14) Medication – Yes you cannot just take any medication while you are breastfeeding, it’s not all safe. So, getting sick like the flu sometimes means you can only take a few things. The recovery period is thus lengthened. Also, being sick and having to do something as demanding as breastfeeding in those first few weeks is difficult, make sure you have support, you can’t do it on your own. Rest is essential when sick.

THE HIGHs of BREASTFEEDING…

1) TOTAL ALL CONSUMING BOND and LOVE – this feeling is indescribable to me, the closest I can explain is an all over feeling of total love, adoration and closeness it brings between you and your child. I absolutely love it. Nothing comes close.
2) Time saver – Yes, no washing and sterilizing messy bottles or getting up at night to trek to the kitchen, the boob is right there at the right time at the right temperature. PERFECTION.
3) Soothing – Crabby, niggly, upset, tired, yes, the list goes on for what we as moms use our boob power for! Soothing is high on my list and it works all the time.
4) Sleep aid – I found that with my daughter the only thing that could put her to sleep was breastfeeding, it was a sleep aid as well as a soothing method. With my son this didn’t work as much, he hardly EVER falls asleep breastfeeding. Still it has helped me out so many times.
5) The feeling of being needed – I feel so proud and high on life knowing I am needed, breastfeeding has given me that feeling of being needed. I need to drink mommy, I need to soothe myself mommy, I need to sleep mommy give me what I need. I NEED YOU!
6) SUPER POWER – I produce milk! What is YOUR super-power? I’ve seen this saying so many times and I love it, Yes, I feel like super-woman sometimes, Breastfeeding has empowered me so much as a mother! I feel so much pride and happiness being a mommy who breastfeeds.
7) Knowing you are giving your child the best – We all want what’s best for our children, and I believe breast is best, in saying this, at 7 months I had to stop breastfeeding Kirsten due to lack of supply, but I patted myself on the back regardless, I did it for 7 months at least. I tried.
8) Immune booster and protector – not just for baby but for yourself too, there have been various studies conducted proving the health benefits of breastfeeding for mom and for baby. In my case I can honestly say that this is the case especially in the immunity area, there have been quite a few times that my family members have been sick, for example, flu’s, stomach bugs/ stomach Flu’s, chicken pox and Kieran did not get sick at all. I choose to believe it’s the immunity powers of the liquid Gold!

Bottle feeding:
I remember with my first pregnancy I was that ‘’CRAZY’’ FTM that we all are reading and researching constantly, and one of the problems I saw a lot on the breastfeeding forums was the troubles moms had introducing the bottle to their exclusively breast fed babies, I knew I had to go back to work at 4 months with my first child and I knew I could not afford to have this problem down the line, so I decided to introduce the bottle almost immediately with my daughter, she drank pumped breast milk as well as little bits of formula from the get go, luckily she had no nipple confusion issues as I also used the breast shield to breastfeed. Kirsten would drink at least 1 bottle a day from birth every day and 4 months she was drinking 2-3 bottles a day, when I went back to work we had no problems with the bottle whatsoever, the only problem we incurred was the brand of bottle, we had to change to Avent because the other brand’s teat had an outflow that was way to fast for her age. Other then that no problems at all, with my son I do EXACTLY the same. He too takes a bottle like a pro no questions. This is what worked for us, both times! I used the Tommee Tippee Advanced Comfort bottles in the beginning for my son because of his reflux and gas issues, to reduce the air intake while feeding it worked well, but we changed once he got to 6 months back to our favourite Avent bottles.

To all the moms who Breastfeed my hat goes off to you! And to those who don’t I pray you receive no judgement from anyone, you are doing what’s best for you and baby regardless! BIG-Ups to you also mama!!
My decision to breastfeed is a personal one, each of us choose what’s best for ourselves and for our babies. A few months ago, I needed to be on medication for my post-natal depression, I decided not to take it as it would risk my breastfeeding journey, I am still not sure if this was the right decision or not, however I cannot for the life of me imagine stopping breastfeeding at this point? Why? Well its one of the only things that I have been doing ‘RIGHT’ in my mind or has been going RIGHT through my depression, I refuse to stop doing it for nothing or no one. Secondly, this is my last BABY, I won’t be breastfeeding again, I almost feel like I need to hold onto it for a little longer. Regardless of this the above can change at any time, I’m just glad I was and am able to breastfeed my children, its so close to my heart!

Yours in Mommyhood,
Mama, N

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