After having given birth to this beautiful baby and spending time holding her, kissing her and enjoying the feeling of her little body against my skin I recall saying to the midwife, “I think I need to feed her but I don’t know how”. I had attended a breastfeeding class and done plenty of reading on how to breastfeed but the reality of actually doing it seemed a little more daunting. Thankfully, Olivia and I both got the hang of breastfeeding really quickly and the last 5½ months have been quite a smooth ride.
For the first month or so I used an app to record feeds and nappy changes. I didn’t think I would be able to remember what side I would need to feed on or trust that I would spot patterns if I didn’t have it recorded. I would be constantly checking my app and would need to make sure my phone was with me at all times so I could record the feed. While it was what I needed at the time, things improved a lot when I found the trust and confidence in myself to ditch the app and rely solely on my memory and instincts.
It didn’t take me too long to get used to breastfeeding in public. The hardest part was learning to balance baby and unclip my bra without flashing too much breast! Once I got the hang of that it was a breeze. I thought I would cop a lot more criticism for feeding in public but I found people to be so warm and friendly. That helped my confidence a lot and reassured me that breastfeeding was so normal and natural. I now spot mums breastfeeding their babies everywhere and love that we live in a society in which we can do that.
One thing I have loved about breastfeeding, as well as pregnancy and mothering in general, is that it has brought me closer to my own mum and grandma and other “mummy” friends. My grandma will recall stories from when she was breastfeeding my mum or my mum will tell me stories about when she was feeding me. While I couldn’t relate to those stories before I had my daughter, now they are so special to me. I hope that one day I will be able to pass my experience onto Olivia in the same way.
I have had days where I felt like I was a human milk bar and days where I have questioned my milk supply and days where I have felt frazzled with an unexpectedly hungry baby. But these days are in the minority. I take each day as it comes and know that for every bad day there will be 10 good ones. I listen to advice but at the end of the day, I know what is best for my baby and I so I take the advice that works for us. The most powerful tool any mum can have in her tool belt is the friendship of one or two other mums who will listen without judgement and provide reassurance that she is doing a great job.
It is also important to remember that every baby is different so don’t compare your experience of breastfeeding to others around you. Block out the horror story about your neighbours’ sisters’ best friend and focus on the little baby that you brought into the world and doing the best thing for them, whatever form that may take. And enjoy every minute. Enjoy the nights when she falls asleep in your arms mid feed. Enjoy the beautiful smiles when she stops drinking to check you are still there. Enjoy her little hand reaching up to touch your neck and stroke your face. Enjoy her milk drunk state and the calming effect your milk has. Put down the phone, turn off the TV and live in the moment, enjoying every second of the beautiful gift you are giving your baby.
This post is brought to you by Medela.
Medela provides real solutions for breastfeeding mothers to get over any hurdles in the early days and to support their long term breastfeeding goals. Through its extensive range of breast pump products and other breastfeeding products, Medela is committed to promoting the benefits of breast milk and encouraging long term breastfeeding. For more information visit: www.medela.com.au | www.facebook.com/medela.au
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