Everyone’s breastfeeding journey is different but if you could offer new mums wanting to breastfeed one piece of advice, what would you say?
To honour all breastfeeding mums and mums-to-be, we wanted to share some of our own words of wisdom with you. These are the things we all need to remember when preparing to breastfeed.
1. Breastfeeding is natural, but it doesn’t always come naturally
Don’t feel frustrated if it takes a while to all come together. It can take days, weeks, months even to get used to the rhythm of life when feeding, issues of supply and demand, and any other obstacles that you and bub may encounter ranging from mastitis to tongue tie. Try to take it in stride.
Sometimes the breastfeeding journey will abruptly stop. That’s okay too. If breastfeeding isn’t the right path for you and your little one, then move on to another path.
2. Feeling like a milk machine is completely normal
You will most likely spend the first few weeks either breastfeeding, expressing or wondering if you have enough time for a quick shower before it’s time to do it all over again. Many breastfed babies will feed on demand and this can occasionally be as often as every hour!
Some days it may feel like you have accomplished nothing but feeding. Just remember, even if you haven’t moved off the lounge, your body is making its own food to feed your baby! You are a superwoman!
Read more about breastfeeding:
- Five things that could make breastfeeding easier for new mums
- Mum’s extraordinary point on breastfeeding that we’d never thought about
- Rachel McAdams pumping milk in Versace sparks celebration and debate
3. Prepare for some pain
Not all women experience pain when breastfeeding but many do. Your nipples can hurt and even bleed when you’re first establishing your feeding and if that happens to you it’s awful. (The good news is, nipples also heal quickly – that pain shouldn’t be the norm.) Your breasts can feel so sore and heavy during engorgement. It’s okay to cry and complain! And to wear cabbage leaves in your bra like it’s the latest fashion trend.
4. And thirst!
And hunger! But, the awesome news is breastfeeding burns a whole whack of calories (500 a day some experts say). So make sure you have plenty of water on hand.
And biscuits. You know, for the baby.
5. It can take more than two to breastfeed
To get the hang of it, you may need extra help from a midwife or lactation consultant or experienced friend who can help ensure baby is latching on properly and show you different holds that are most comfortable for your shape.
It’s also good to rely on your partner during this time, you know, to fetch the remote, your phone, a drink from the kitchen …
6. You need more than breasts to breastfeed comfortably
You need a lot more, actually. You ought to consider nipple cream, breast pads (prepare for several wet T-shirts if you forget to wear them), an electric breast pump and bottles or a storage system.
Because if you breastfeed, you are most likely going to have excess milk that you will want to keep. It is liquid gold, after all.
7. Most of the time, it doesn’t look as graceful as you expect
Sometimes breastfeeding is a peaceful and serene experience like all stock imagery suggests. Other times it can be annoying, painful and exhausting.
Sometimes bub will curl into your body beautifully; other times, when he is a bit older, he may learn the fine art of breastfeeding upside down. But that’s half the fun. And you should feel pride no matter how you feed.
As long as bub is being fed, then you’re doing everything right.
8. And, finally, prepare for an experience like no other
No one can prepare you for the intense emotions that come from not only meeting your baby, but feeding her too. Sure, it’s time-consuming but it’s also one of the most important jobs in the world and a beautiful bonding experience.