Monday, 14 December 2015

My Experience of Breastfeeding - The Pro's and Con's

Hello My Loves



Welcome to my first mummy post! My little (or not so little anymore!) baby is now 10 weeks old. We are slowly establishing a rough routine which can change daily but generally I feel like I am starting to get a hang of this mummy thing and he is starting to enjoy being life outside the womb and is lapping up all the kisses and cuddles he gets 'on the outside' of the 'big house'!

I wanted to write this post about breastfeeding/nursing because it is the one thing I was nervous of while pregnant and also because I wanted to give an honest account of what breastfeeding is actually like for me.  It is something that is different for everyone I think, some people love it, others hate it but I found out things that I certainly did not expect or was not prepared for and so I want to share what I have learned for all you mummies-to-be or mummies that still breastfeed.

I am by no means anti-formula.  I think there is a breastfeeding mafia out there that need to calm down. A lot of women cannot breastfeed or it ends up stressing them out so much they turn to formula and I think that's all okay.  I do not think formula is the spawn of the devil and I do think people i.e. women need to stop being so hard on one another. If you can breastfeed and it works for your family then great, but if not, then that's fine too.  I would rather a happy content baby on formula then a baby stressed because he/she feels their mother stressed trying to breastfeed.  Rant over!

As ever I will start with the positive, this is a bit of a long post, so get a cup of tea before you start:

1. Bonding
I was not prepared for the intense feeling of bonding to be so strong through breastfeeding.  I already feel a mammoth bond to my baby, since finding out I was pregnant really.  But once I started to get the hang of breastfeeding and realise that me, and only me can feed him, it really cemented that bond further.  Watching his weight rise weekly on the scales makes me so proud of myself as well as him. We did that! No one else can feed him unless I express a bottle.  Call me a control freak but I just love this feeling.  At the start, when I left an expressed bottle for his daddy to feed him, I found it so upsetting to see the plastic teet in his mouth and even though it was my milk but I felt this bottle was coming between baby and I.  Ridiculous I know, but that's how strong I feel the bond!

2. Convenience
I have no bottles to make, no sterilizing to do and when we leave the house, all I need is to make sure I bring my boobs with me to feed him!  At night, I co-sleep for the sheer convenience of breastfeeding.  I do not have to get out of my bed on these cold Winter nights and make bottles, I simply latch him on.  I find this is the only way I ensure I get enough sleep to function the next day. I know co-sleeping is not for everyone, but it works for us.

3. Health
There is a sense of satisfaction and pride I get knowing my baby is getting my milk which is packed full of nutrients for him.  Seeing his body grow and get bigger and stronger bursts my heart with love and pride.  It is a nice feeling knowing my hard work is having a positive effect on him.

Now, for the not so pleasant parts of breastfeeding dun dun dun...!!

1. Breastfeeding Sweats
My goodness I was not prepared for these! The sweats I got in the first few weeks were like as if I was taking a hot bath on a beach in the Bahamas! I got them at night and during the day.  At least I feel prepared for the menopause after all the hot flashes. I would be paying for something in a shop and all of a sudden feel a hot flash come on, my cheeks would go red and I would feel beads of sweat trickle down. The shopkeeper must have thought I was loosing it! Along with these sweats came a lovely (sarcasm) odor too. No amount of deodorant helped.  I realized it was just my body flushing out excess water it carried while pregnant and it does stop but boy did I not relish that side effect!

2. Weight 
All the books told me I would loose the weight I gained from breastfeeding.  Well let me tell you this has not worked for me.  I was 45kg before I got pregnant, I was 60kg when I gave birth and now I am at 50kg.  I was extremely fit before I got pregnant, I had a fit pregnancy and I started working out again at 3 weeks postpartum.  So why the bloody hell am I not seeing even one pound shift? It turns out that for some people, their body stores fat/water as a reserve for breastfeeding.  This makes sense, but I find it frustrating especially given all the hard work I put into keeping fit.  My sister in law who has breastfed 3 children told me once I wean, the pounds will melt off. Here's hoping!

3. Breastfeeding in Public
Ugh! I hate doing this one. I know, I know, its all in my head, but I really cant help hating doing it.  I live in Ireland, where breastfeeding in public is not really done.  In fact, only 50% of women breastfeed so breastfeeding in general is not really done, let alone in public.  Despite the fact I cover myself under mountains of blankets and covers, I find it really awkward and I do get 'the looks'.   My baby wont take a bottle (as apparently he takes the bonding of breastfeeding just as seriously as I do!) so if I want to go out and he needs a feed, I have to do it.  Its awkward, its uncomfortable and I remain in a state of fear the blanket will fall down, Ill expose my boob and Catholic Ireland will never recover!

I am 10 weeks breastfeeding today and I aim to get to 3-6 months. Breastfeeding is something I take day by day.  The most important thing is whatever method I choose to feed my baby works for my family, be it breast or bottle.  My baby needs to be calm and happy and a stressed mama does not equal that.

Of course, I have bad days like where I felt mastitis beginning and had to walk around with cabbage leaves in my bra and potato peelings (it helps, honestly!). I long for the days where I can wear a pretty underwired bra and feel sexy again for my husband.  Whoever makes maternity bras' - can you please make some that don't look like nuns undergarments?! The bra's alone are their own form of contraception.

But then I look at my healthy happy boy and I know I'm giving him a great start in life.  I love the bond it has created and I love being there and putting him to my breast to sooth him when he cries for food.

My tip is to join a breastfeeding clinic in your area, I found mine invaluable help for the tough days and its great to see other mama's further along than you to give advise.

I would love to hear your comments.

Love, Mini
xxx
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30 comments

  1. Ah Nini, I was really hard on myself about the breast feeding. I did it for 11 weeks and I have to say at no stage did it ever become easy for me. I think it was because I was sick. (I had an infection that went untreated and I got really sick) but at the same time I really enjoyed the bonding.!it made me very close to Tom. He didn't get so much as a cold for the first 15 months either (he got the chicken pox then but he's a very strong constitution xx

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    1. Thanks for sharing Siobhan. 11 weeks is a long time to breastfeed for, that is an achievement in itself. Its great to hear that Tom has a great immune system from it. A midwife told me that its basically immunizing the child for life. Stories like yours help me on the tough days! X

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  2. Congratulations to be a mommy:)
    kisses
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  3. I can't stand the breast feeding mafias, they are the biggest reason why people are getting the wrong impression about breast feeding mothers. I failed at breast feeding my eldest because my body just failed to produced milk and I was made to feel like a failure of a mum which depressed me to no ends. And I had really stressful last trimester with my youngest because I was so sick with worries if I could breast feed him and if I would be a failure again. I managed to breast feed my youngest for 6 months and then my body again quit producing milk, there was nothing I could do but that doesn't stop others from giving me advice about how bad feeding my baby with formula.

    I know what you mean about breast feeding in public, I used a blanket and go to a quiet corner and usually people are fine with that. I don't think I can do it without covers frankly, I can't see myself whipping out my tits in public and let everyone see it but that's just me.

    Reflection of Sanity | Palmer's Cocoa Butter Care Package Giveaway (Canada ONLY)

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    1. Wow Shireen, thats shocking that people tell you feeding your baby formula is so bad. Unfortunately it seems pretty normal for mothers to get this kind of grief from others. A friend of mine (who is a doctor) recently stopped breastfeeding after 4 weeks as she found it too stressful, since she stopped herself, her baby and husband are all happier and calmer. I think thats more important really. I know plenty of people that never got a drop of breastmilk and have great immune systems and are never sick. It is hard enough being a mother without all this added pressure. Grrrr, drives me mad! Well done to you for trying to breastfeed and for doing it for 6 months with your second child. You are obviously a great mom, caring so much for your baby's needs. X

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  4. I don't have a child yet and I'm not having anytime soon but it's nice to know about this. Great post! :)

    MONDAY PROJECTS

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  5. So adorable! x

    www.bibigoeschic.com

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  6. This post came in just in time! Im due in 3 weeks and debating what to do re breastfeeding. I will give it a go naturally, but quite overwhelmed by the idea.

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    1. Oh I am delighted you found it helpful! I was so daunted at the thoughts of breastfeeding too. But honestly, its the thing I have found the easiest! I have been through a few different issues with it at 3 months breastfeeding so feel free to ask any questions. Have you had your baby yet? X

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  7. thanx for sharing

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  8. Huge congratulations on the baby darling. I did breastfeed all my babies. Was hard with my 1st cos they were twins. But I kept at it hoping it would help with the weight but like you, I saw no drops in weight. I did with my other kids for at least 6 months and enjoyed it. Never tried in public but now there are privacy shields that nursing mothers use and not a soul has to know what they are up to. I see a few moms in my church discreetly using it. Good luck, I'm sure you'll drop all the extra weight pretty quick.
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    1. Wow, breastfeeding twins must be no mean feat! Huge congratulations to you on doing that! I salute you! I imagine its just non stop demanding? Thanks for the encouragement, its great to hear other mothers feedback! I would be lost without you. I will search those privacy shields, they sound great! X

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  9. Congrats on your newborn hun! That's so exciting. I don't have any kids or has any experience with babies, but I learned a lot from this post and this post made me happy! I cannot wait to hear more about your journey :)

    xoxo Emily
    http://www.ditchtheheels.com

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    1. Thanks Emily and Happy New Year! I look forward to your next post X

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  10. Very glad that you shared this with us, there are so many things to consider when you have a child. I have none, but I know that my sister struggled at first with breastfeeding. If I do have children I probably will breastfeed, but there's so much to learn in general about having a child. <3
    Christmastide

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    1. Thanks for your feedback! It can be so tricky trying to breastfeed and that's why I feel society should back off women who for whatever reason cannot or don't! X

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  11. Oh my god 50kg?! I don't think I have seen that since primary school, you look great don't worry about those extra pounds! Hope you had a lovely Christmas :)

    Ash | Liakada

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    1. Haha! At 5 foot tall, if I put on any weight I look like the Michelin man! Happy New Year to you too, I look forward to seeing your travel posts for 2016 X

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  12. I have to say my lady, it is very cool to learn about how lovely your experience being a mother is. I am so proud of you, and your baby is so lucky to have you as his mom!!! Keep it up. Happiest of holidays to you :)

    XOXO
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    1. What a lovely message to receive, thank you Kelly. Happy New Year to you X

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  13. Great post! Have a wonderful new year! :*

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  14. very lovely! thanks for sharing!
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  15. i am so proud about you.
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