It’s world breastfeeding week 1-7 August so I’ll be sharing breastfeeding tips and products over the course of the next week. Here is what I wish I had known about breastfeeding to prepare me before I had my baby. You can go to the classes and read all the books but this is what they don’t tell you.

You won’t have a clue what you are doing

I haven’t spoken to a single new mum who said she felt like she knew what she was doing when it came to breastfeeding their new baby. You might still be learning to hold your new tiny person let alone balancing them while you place them on your breast for a feed. The whole experience of baby learning to latch is also one that can feel like it is dragging on and on but once you get it you will be on your way. A few days, weeks or months down the track and those early days will be a distant memory.

Your breasts will take on a mind of their own

The good news is that it doesn’t last forever. In the first six or so weeks there will be times when you feel like if your breasts expand any more they will burst out of your shirt. Or when you step out of the shower to find that you are spraying milk like a machine gun. Wet patches on your shirt (invest in some breast pads!) are also par for the course. Once your supply has settled down so will the side effects. Just be ready for unpredicatble boobs!

Your body will ache in places you never knew existed

Breastfeeding uses muscles that you may not have used before and when you are feeding your baby between 8-10 times a day for up to 1 hour a feed, those muscles get a serious workout. You might also find you get a sore back from always holding your baby. Look after yourself and do some stretches to help with relieving any pain. Again, once you build up the “breastfeeding muscles” you won’t experience that discomfort anymore.

You will be disappointed if you go in with expectations

If you decide that you will exclusively breastfeed for 12 months and then your baby has difficulties latching, you will be disappointed and not enjoy the experience as much as if you decide to go with the flow and take each day (and feed) as it comes. Go into breastfeeding with an open mind and you will be more likely to enjoy the experience. All I knew before Olivia was born is that I wanted to try breastfeeding. I was open and relaxed and actually found breastfeeding to be the surprise joy of motherhood. I enjoy every minute. I continue to avoid setting expectations about how long I will breastfeed for so that I can be open to whatever comes our way.

Just remember when you start on your breastfeeding journey that like learning any new skill or job, the first few days are exhausting. You and your baby are learning together and it takes time, patience and support. Seek out friends and family who will support you and be open to accepting help. Most of all, enjoy the time with your baby and the closeness that breastfeeding brings.

 

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