Just to clarify: I’m Pro-‘Feed your baby anyway your little heart desires as long as the kid is fed and nourished’. Phew. Without going into too much detail (because let’s face it – I really don’t need to explain or justify my choices to anyone!), I’ve had experiences with both bottle feeding and breastfeeding and they both worked for me, so no judgements over here on how you feed your child.
So, with that little disclaimer out of the way, let’s get into the nitty gritty of what this post is all about. And my friends, this post is about a very important aspect about breastfeeding that not many speak of. And it’s a shame. Because in the spirit of solidarity, as women we should share any information we feel would best prepare our fellow Mamas on the truth that is breastfeeding – and that is – breastfeeding is not glam. There I said it! Breastfeeding is not glam at all! So if while pregnant you poured over gorgeous celebrity pics on Insta – #brelfie #normalizebreastfeeding anyone – and you thought that you would be able to sit beautifully on your feeding chair of choice while your gorgeous baby stayed nice and still and peacefully suckled at your breast, I’m sorry to bust your bubble – but that’s not how it goes – AT ALL!
Now before the haters jump down my throat and start hitting me with their best internet troll attacks – let me stop you right there!
*Disclaimer Number Two*: Breastfeeding is a wonderful way to bond with your baby. Despite what I am about to write below, I do not regret breastfeeding and it’s been a beautiful experience. Toes up my nose and all.
Ok now that I’ve disclaimed myself once again (geez you would think breastfeeding was a touchy subject), let me begin with my “The Truth About Breastfeeding’ guide:
1. If you have decided that you are going to breastfeed, be prepared that as soon as your baby pops it’s head out, your breasts are now public commodities and will be groped, squeezed and smooshed. And not in a sexy way! Guaranteed someone will ask you permission to assist in helping you latch your baby onto your boob, and it will look as though they are cramming your whole boob down your babies throat. My tips, try not to freak out. The baby is fine with all that boob in its mouth, and if like me you end up with 15 people in your delivery suite due to a complicated birth, your modesty has well and truly left the building. You’ve got this. And in a strange way you will be so ever grateful to the midwife/lactation consultant manhandling your boobies because come day 2-3 when your brain has turned into mush – you will tearfully thank the nurse for patiently showing you for the millionth time how to latch your baby onto your boob correctly.
2. Unless you are a pro or are extremely lucky, for the first few weeks, breastfeeding can be a stressful and worrisome time, especially if you are having supply issues and your baby is not thriving and loosing weight. There will be a time when you’ve had enough, and you will break down crying and exclaim – I can’t do this! Why is this happening to me! Especially when every time you feel you’ve got the hang of it, another hurdle rears its ugly head. It’s COMPLETELY normal to feel like this, and I promise you that your baby will be fine. Whether you continue breastfeeding or decide to bottle feed, your baby will be fine, as will you. You’ve got this!
3. Once you do finally get the hang of things, and baby is feeding well, you will stare into that little face with wonder and awe – and strain your neck. Yep, that’s right. It is very common to end up with severe neck pain from looking down at your baby too often when you feed.
4. Be prepared to squirt your baby in the eye with breastmilk. If you have a very strong let down, there will be times where your baby comes off the boob and he will get squirted in the face. It’s weird. And funny. And weird. But still really funny!
5. Be prepared for lots of sweating. As your baby gets bigger, he will sweat, making you sweat, it gets really sweaty. Best to keep baby dressed in light clothing when snuggled up and feeding, so things don’t get too gross and soggy.
6. There will come a time when your little bundle of joy is ever so interested in the world around him, and with every noise or movement – will rip the bejesus out of your nipples as he strains to look around the room – all while still firmly locked onto your nipple. You will find your nipples have turned into these weird mutated stretchy things that can withstand a fair bit once you have gotten over the onslaught of the first few months of breastfeeding (think excruciatingly painful, cracked, bleeding, swollen, ETesque looking things!), but that doesn’t mean it won’t hurt like a MOFO and you WILL get Niplash! To minimise this occurring, whenever possible try to feed your little one in a room with as little distractions as possible – your nipples will thank you, trust me!
7. When your little one becomes a bigger one, be prepared to start getting your nose picked, your lips pulled, your eyes poked, and that’s just with their feet! There will be a time when your bubs decides he wants to entertain himself by shoving his feet in your face so you can sniff his foot, will explore your face by poking everything that interests him with those chubby little fingers, or as mine likes to do, pinch the fat between my breast and underarm. It hurts. Like hell. I’d much rather smell his feet thank you very much!
8. Teeth + Niplash = OUCH!!!!!! Enough said.
9. Be prepared to once again throw modesty out the window when your baby is old enough to try and grab a drink whenever they want. Because guaranteed he will pull your top down at the most inappropriate time and try and release your boobs – like when you are having a meeting with the principle of a school you are scouting for your eldest, and one minute you are discussing school ethics, and #nekminute your boob is hanging out.
10. When it comes to breastfeeding, there is a universal name for it that like me, you may think is a nickname that only you use in the privacy of your own home. But let me tell you – guaranteed other parents use the same nickname, and that is “Boobie Feed”.
I found this out when one unfortunate day my little man needed to be transported to the hospital via ambulance. One of the paramedics had a little one of his own and was helping me come up with a list of things I’d need. When it came to the question of food, he simply stated, are you “Boobie Feeding” him? I nearly died! Of laughter, embarrassment, and because of the fact that I was still in my pyjamas that were likely covered in “Boobie Milk” at the time. He quickly corrected himself, but at that point we both knew – as parents we must all use that term – and it’s not so secret!
Well I haven’t quite reached the one year mark yet, so that’s all the tips I can share at the moment, but I promise to keep track of any new “Boobie Feeding” tips I come across as our breastfeeding journey continues, and I’ll be sure to share them as well.
Do you have any breastfeeding experiences you would like to share?