Everyday I read blogs. I read articles and posts and delve in to stories of people’s lives around the world. The first thing I notice is how unique mankind are and the experiences we endeavour. We aren’t in sync. We are not robots and I’m happy about that.
Experiences are what make us who we are to this day, opinions however don’t and it’s sad that I’m starting this post on an opinion. My opinion is people are too opinionated, especially when it comes to having a baby and bringing said baby up. There is always that one person if not many that will put a dampener on your words. Purposely inflicted or not.
Today’s post was originally formed around breastfeeding week. I’m a total advocate on breastfeeding and I honestly believe it’s a miracle that a human can naturally produce all ‘the good stuff’ for their babies.
Unfortunately I haven’t yet wrote on my experiences due to the overbearing fear that my words will simply get ripped apart for not being pro ‘fed is best’ by strangers that skim my post and instantly get on the defence about information basically irrelevant to their individual opinions. It doesn’t appease them and many find it all to easy to comment a nasty remark, or put someone down for their words, their special words that they have taken time to write and share with you all. And coming from a blogger, words take time and we have hearts, comments can sometimes hurt us, we are human!
Today I’m letting go of that attitude.
Does breastfeeding deserve its own ‘week’? In my eyes of course it bloody does. Breastfeeding is the most natural nutritious way to feed your baby and although doesn’t always seem it, healthy for the mum too. This magic milk literally changes its components on a daily basis depending on your baby’s needs. Your body physically creates antibodies to the exact nasties you and your baby may pick up on the way. It changes it’s fat levels in conjunction to your babies exact requirements. It acts as a soother, it calms your baby down during the night and the hormones wake you up so you don’t lose all your sanity! It also releases amazing hormones helping that lovely bond you see and feel. CRAZY RIGHT? Our bodies are truly amazing and if I say so myself, on this week and every week I’m extremely proud of my accomplishments and my opportunity to feed my own baby through my own body! FINALLY, that felt good to write. Now I will continue onto MY experiences.
So I am 20 weeks pregnant and I wake up, much to Jordan’s amusement with the tiniest damp patch on my top. From this point onwards I had a feeling my body was personally meant for the purpose of feeding a baby. As the weeks went on and several antenatal classes later, Jordan and I both felt in a good position for knowing what to do when the baby arrives. I practiced the art of hand expressing to then slowly notice more colostrum being produced. With a finger and a thumb I expressed colostrum when I could, and froze the colostrum in small syringes ready for when Noah was born. My breasts where getting used to different stimulants and by very late pregnancy I was producing something worth keeping.
One very early Halloween morning our little peanut arrived. With all our family being in the UK and not much support we still thought we had this in the bag. Noah was a hungry baby right from the start, none of this ‘they sleep for the first 24 hours’ crap you hear them preach. He wanted milk, he wanted it now. All of a sudden our lessons, our research, our nose to hose practice with a plastic baby doll, all out of the window. Things became that little bit more real when a baby is relying on your body to basically stay alive.
At this point freezing colostrum was an insanely good idea as I was too tired to feed this little human and my nipples where starting to burn, bleed, scab, you name it. The only problem being was the only thing able to bring my milk in was my screaming suckling baby, so we had to learn the hard way and we had to learn FAST. I cried to myself alone at 2am in the morning, my stomach was turning with pain, my toes where curling but things where getting better, very, slowly. Noah was learning just a much as I was and together we had an amazing bond. It took 4 days of serious ground work and my milk was in and Noah continued to feed 2 hourly. The pain wasn’t over but I was seeing good progress. From then on with the help of a few tricks (that I will indicate later in the blog) we just got better and better. In the following months I endured every day feed, every night feed, blocked ducts, dizziness, hot sweats, MASTITIS, wet tops, wet bed sheets, necessary diet changes and many very anxious times when I wondered if my little loved one was getting the amount in feeds that he needed to grow and develop.
Of course he did get enough, I learnt that I had to trust my body more. I learnt that for me and my experiences I was extremely lucky and all the things above became minor inconveniences when I looked at the bigger picture. I found the answers to most my problems and below I will share these in hope that it will guide at least one woman to another great breastfeeding experience.
Of course I understand that many people make different choices of how to feed their baby which is fine, every mother has choices to make and feeding is merely one of them, so as long as your baby is growing and smiling, your doing a fine job mummies, continue! I also can imagine some mums making a choice and feeling devastatingly let down if they cannot go ahead with that. My opinion to these woman is don’t be sad, be happy there is a healthy alternative and stick a big finger up to anyone who tries to take away your huge efforts.
So here we are, you have heard my story. I promised you my saving grace, my BF heroes;
- Chapped burning bleeding nipples? Sore hey? Try pure lanolin, and cold presses. Also let them beauties have a bit of bra/ top free time whilst you have a nap. I often woke up and the scabs had miraculously disappeared!
- Struggling with babies latch? Remember this journey is equally as hard for the both of you, just keep trying, and do not be afraid to ask for help. Trust your body.
- Stomach pains whilst breastfeeding the first week – I drank tonnes of pineapple juice. Cant tell you why but it helped…. and paracetamol!
- If you are really doubting the latch, check your little human out for tongue or lip ties.
- Want help with baby during the night? If you really want to share the bond with the other half or family, expressing is always and option but not straight away as baby needs to learn how to breast feed exclusively first, bottle feeding is much easier for them to do.
- Blocked ducts and Mastitis. The reason I put this in capital letters is its because for me it was worse than labour or anything I have EVER endured. Basically your baby is the best medicine, they have to feed out the infection at every opportunity, I got advised not to pump as it can actually exacerbate the symptoms. Last scenario go straight to the hospital.
- Dizzyness? Plenty of water and slow releasing energy snacks like porridge oats and Bananas.
- Wet tops? Breast pads. I may swell have invested in shares for them I purchased that many.
All in all I love breastfeeding now, I find for me it’s time efficient and it is always the right temperature when you are a busy mum on the go. I truly love that is has a whole week dedicated to it. I think it is important for this to be normalised in today’s society and the next time I see a fellow breastfeeder in public, she is getting the biggest high 5 EVER!
Us parents, us great super mums, we need to stand together, support each others accomplishments. Look at each others successes. We all have them, we all need to be reassured we are doing a great job. If you are a mum, be grateful for you are incredible. You are selfless and caring and think WAY too much about what other people may think. Thats because it is imbedded in your purely altruistic genetic makeup to care for the opinion of others.
Lastly, for anyone attempting to dampen my booby milk spirits, or in the same case anyone trying to push or enforce conflicting opinions on individuals, heres a lovely quote I would like to end this post on.
“Why prove to a man he is wrong? Is this going to make him like you? Why not let him save face? He didn’t ask for your opinion. He didn’t want it, why argue with him? You can’t win an argument; because if you lose, you lose it; and if you win it, you lose it. Why? You will feel fine. But what about him? You have made him feel inferior, you hurt his pride, insult his intelligence, his judgement and his self-respect, and he will resent your triumph. That will make him strike back, but it will never make him want to change his mind. A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still”
Stay classy ladies, stick together
Rach and Noah
Written by Rachel Gregory for her blog, Rach and Noah.
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