I am a huge advocate of breastfeeding. Huge. Not only that but I LOVE breastfeeding myself. I’m lucky I had a relatively easy journey to breastfeed which in part I think stems down to advice (unknowingly) given from a friend who had her baby 7 months before I had the toddler.
This friend is one of the most determined people I know. Really quite fierce. If she sets her mind to something she is going to do it. Which was how we ended up having the whole breastfeeding conversation just before her baby girl arrived in the world, I remember it well as I’d just sent her my 8 week scan picture and the conversation took place on the train into London….this was possibly my first ever breastfeeding conversation with the thought in the back of my mind that this is going to impact me. She said
People are saying that I’ll just give up but what they don’t realise is how determined I am and if I put my mind to it I will do it. I’m determined. I will.
Which is what you need to be to breastfeed.
Then I went up to meet new Baby Girl, in proud possession of my 12 week scan and sharing our happy news with everyone. We met Little Miss Sleepyhead, who after a traumatic birth, a loss of more than 10% birth weight and none responsiveness to a breast pump was being bottle fed with the result of a much happier mummy and baby. At this point she issued me the piece of advice that I never forgot.
Just because I wanted to didn’t mean I could and all the pressure I put on myself meant I wasn’t enjoying those first days.
Determination is one thing, pressure is something completely different. I started my first breastfeeding journey determined to give it my best shot but giving myself no pressure if I couldn’t. I didn’t buy formula but I also didn’t buy a breast pump. I didn’t buy anything really. I was so laid back about the whole thing I was horizontal.
Then the birth arrived, trauma filled, yet I don’t remember that first feed. I remember floating on my haze of drugs and no sleep being asked if I planned to breastfeed and mumbling yes. The Baby being latched on for me and the start of our journey.
Yes there were hiccups, there was crying – from us both – there were sore nipples and anxious moments. But throughout I kept the advice of no pressure just determination in the back of my head. And we had ourselves a lovely journey stopping at 11 months.
That was the breast advice I received.
Now I help to man #PositiveAboutBF spreading a positive breastfeeding message on social media and I asked for the breast advice people had received and here’s what you told me.
The Breast Advice
If in doubt, whip it out. Anne
If you’re relaxed the Baby will be too. Lauren
Feed, Feed, and Feed again … When in doubt, just feed. When you’re sure, even if baby isn’t showing interesting, offer it. Seriously, expect to feed lots in those early days, and feed your newborn as much as you can and no less than 8-12 times a day … especially whilst establishing your supply.
I wish I knew and understood this when I started out. Adventures of a Novice Mum
Feed, feed, feed. Lauren
When you feel like giving up, give it one more day, you probably won’t feel the same tomorrow! Clare
Breastfeeding hurts! Nobody told me that and I was shocked when my milk came in how ill it made me feel and how sore it was to feed my baby. Lansinoh is your best friend in the early weeks. But then it gets easier and more rewarding. There’s no feeling to rival seeing your baby thrive on the milk you have made for them! Jenny
Best advice was ‘keep at it. you might have rocky start or you might struggle to get going but keep at it and it will get easier’ and surely enough it did get easier and it is second nature now. Laura
Best advice I was given is to be lazy!! Laid back breastfeeding, reclining on the sofa or bed with LO resting on my body saved my arms and back, was so much more comfortable and much easier for baby to control the flow as well. Emma
Feeding to sleep is not a bad habit. Jo