When I fell pregnant with my first son, breastfeeding was the last thing on my mind, but it soon became the topic of discussion with family, friends and random strangers in the street who would all question me on how I was planning on feeding my baby once he arrived.
“So have you thought about whether your going to breastfeed Mrs Moffett?” Asked my midwife at my first pre natal appointment. She then handed me a series of leaflets as I sat with a confused (and I desperately need to pee) look on my face.
Was I going to breastfeed? Maybe I’ll just try it for the first few days. Surely it would be easy enough. Or perhaps I’d just bottle feed like the rest of my friends and family because ‘you don’t want to have a clingy baby and never be able to go out and about‘ explained my mother in law when I asked her what she thought about the subject.
Despite all of the opinions presented to me both FOR and AGAINST breastfeeding (and I received PLENTY), I decided in the end to give it a go. Even If we only did it for a few days at least I would know we tried.
So, when my son was born on the 12th of April 2016 and the midwife placed him on my chest for his first feed little did I know of the struggles that were soon to come.
Nobody warned me of the pain that would come alongside the first few feeds! Every time he latched my toes would genuinely curl. Nobody warned me he would literally want fed every hour on the hour, not to mention being beyond tired you wake up not knowing when or where you first fell asleep.
There were plenty of times I wanted to give up. I recall waking many nights at 3 in the morning crying to my husband I was “too tired for this” and he was “getting a bottle of formula tomorrow”. I also remember feeling so resentful towards my husband because he was getting a full nights sleep and I was wide awake with a milk soaked top and a crying baby.
Just when I thought things were starting to look up, at 12 weeks we found out Jacob was intolerant to the dairy I was eating in my diet and I had to cut it out until he was 6 months old. This was probably the biggest struggle we faced during our breastfeeding journey.
Looking back I’m honestly amazed I didn’t give in. You forget how strong and determined you can be as a mother. I’m proud of myself everyday. As a new parent, you’re constantly thinking of this little human other than yourself, because to me, my sons needs were much more important than whether I was allowed to eat a bar of chocolate, was tired or hadn’t washed my hair in days.
And if your reading this as an expecting mother wondering whether you should breastfeed or not, I’m sorry if I haven’t sold it too well thus far, but find me a part of parenting that doesn’t involve struggles. I’m sure as Jacob grows up I’ll face plenty more with teething, toilet training and whatever else motherhood wants to throw at us. But, beyond those few hiccups I look back at my breastfeeding journey this far with a smile on my face. Even now I look forward to him snuggling in my arms while he feeds to sleep just watching him holding on to me knowing he feels safe is the best reward to for me.
8 months on and we’re still going strong with no signs of stopping just yet. Who knows where our journey will take us and how and where we will be in another 8 months, that’s a story for a different day! I’ll leave you with a few of my top tips I learnt along the way and thanks so much for reading.
Tip 1: Get a sling. Yes breastfeeding babies want to feed A LOT. not because there not getting enough as some people would have u believe but because breast milk is much easier digested. We found a sling a useful tool to keep Jacob close to me and allow him to feed whilst i was able to do what i had to do. We still use ours to this day.
Tip 2: Drink plenty of water. In the first few weeks I kept a bottle of water and snacks beside me at all times. Its important to keep well hydrated in order to have a good milk supply. A good book and Netflix also came in handy on those growth spurt days .
Tip 3: Don’t listen to negative people. Despite what some people will tell you, you have a right to feed your baby whichever way u see fit. I got plenty of tuts and dirty looks out and about whilst feeding but I always felt confident that what I was doing was completely natural and I was in my rights to do so. Whether breast or bottle feeding as long as you and baby are both happy and healthy nothing else should matter. Fed is best.
Tip4: This last tip is for those babies like mine who refuse a bottle and our beyond the age of 4 months. Try a cup. We found that our son preferred a cup to a bottle. This came in handy when he was away from me for an hour or so or if you are thinking of going back to work and want to continue breastfeeding. There are a few different brands on the market each baby is different and may like a certain one. No harm in giving it a try.
Take care and good luck on your feeding journeys mummies to be, whichever path you decide to choose.
Little Mrs Moffett xoxo