So breastfeeding, bit of a hot topic at the moment isn’t it?
One month in I’m pleased to say I think I’ve finally cracked it. I still have the odd day where it feels like Wren is chewing on my nipple with razors but on the whole I can now pop him on, feed him and peacefully catch up on some TV without even really knowing he’s there. Though it has not been an easy journey….
When I was pregnant I would always read about how hard breastfeeding is in the early days but never really knew the reasons why! Yes I knew it would be a learning curve for both me and baby but what did that actually mean? And why did that alone make it so difficult? Well one month in I’ve experienced just how hard it really is but also how rewarding it is once you’re over those first few difficult weeks. I’ve put together a brutally honest list of Pros & Cons….not to scaremonger or sugarcoat things but to share my account of the last month.
1. When your baby starts to put weight on you will feel like an absolute superhero that it’s all down to your boobs.
2. The nightfeeds are hard there’s no denying that but being able to pop Wren on and feed him 30 seconds after he wakes without having to leave my bed is a lifesaver. I can’t imagine having to get out of bed to make up a bottle….kudos to all you bottle feeding mamas!
3. With a new baby in tow you’ll be feeling the effects on your purse strings. Prams, baby monitors, cots….these things dont come cheap! Luckily breastmilk is free (no duh!) and if you’re planning on feeding baby on the breast (as opposed to expressing full time) you won’t need any of the parifinalia that comes with bottle feeding.
4. I was debating whether or not to list this as a pro or con but I’ve decided to be positive! It’s an excuse to invest in some new wardrobe pieces. The second you start breastfeeding the first thing you’ll think of when getting dressed is ‘how easily can I pop my boob out of this?’ If you’ve not got many clothes that allow for this then get shopping mama!
5. This one almost goes without saying as the benefits of breast milk are everywhere these days but your milk is designed specifically for your little babe to thrive on, it’s full of antibodies, wards off certain illnesses and can help prevent the likes of asthma.
6. Breastfed babies poo doesn’t smell! It’s not odourless (I actually think it smells faintly of yeast!) but it certainly doesn’t smell like ‘poo’ which when you’re changing upwards of 10 nappies a day is an absolute bonus!
1. It WILL hurt. The advice is ‘breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt, if it does you’re doing something wrong’. Way to make a mama feel bad! Now I’m no expert and there are genuine reasons breastfeeding may hurt, mainly that you’re not latching properly and this is something that will need resolving. However in my case I was told my latch was perfect yet I was still experiencing pain. Turns out I wasn’t doing anything wrong it’s just having someone chomping on your nipples every few hours is going to take it’s toll!
2. The first few days in particular are very hard. You’ll be exhausted, emotional and frustrated if your little babe is having trouble latching. You won’t be discharged from the hospital until they’re comfortable you and baby are happy breastfeeding. You can expect midwives to be massaging your breasts, extracting squeezed colostrum with a syringe and checking on you like clockwork every 4 hours to see if your baby has fed yet. All you’ll want to do is get home and start your new family life. You probably will feel like giving up on breastfeeding and opting to bottle feed in order to get home but stick with it. Yes it’s hard but if you’re set on giving breastfeeding a go then stick with it, it DOES get better.
3. If you’re not expressing, well no more than the odd bottle, you’ll be solely responsible for feeding which can take it’s toll. Wren feeds on average every 2/3 hours which means I spend a lot of my day feeding. Don’t get me wrong, I love having him cuddled up to me but some days, especially if he’s having a particularly hungry day, I struggle to even make a cup of tea!
4. You’ll have to get comfortable breastfeeding in public. I was reluctant to list this as a con because of course there is nothing wrong with feeding your baby in public and personally it’s not something I’ve ever worried about doing! However im sure there are some people who may feel self conscious about it but unfortunately if you don’t feed in public you’ll never be able to leave your house for more than an hour so it’s a big thing to take into consideration before deciding to breastfeed.
5. Leaky boobs are a daily occurrence. Breastpads are a life saver but you will be caught off guard at some point and end up with two big milky rings showing through your clothes!
6. Mastitis is a very painful, relatively common breast infection. Symptoms include swollen, painful breasts and flu like symptoms. I developed it when Wren was about 10 days old and spent three days in bed with a fever, feeling like I’d been hit by a bus, dreading peeling off the 5 layers I was wearing to feed Wren. It was a really really rough few days but it is treatable with antibiotics and clears up pretty quickly. You can read more about mastitis here.
I really hope you’ve enjoyed reading this; remember this is just my account, every women is different and will have a different story to tell. If you’re a mama to be and are planning on breastfeeding I hope this post has helped you in someway.