Letter to breastfeeding mums
Whenever first time, breastfeeding mums come to my massage classes, many have experienced the same things I did when I had my first baby. They worry that everything they are doing is wrong, they worry about how much milk their baby is getting, if their baby’s behaviour around feeding is normal. They worry if their baby is on the breast too often or not enough, if they want to feed all night or sleep too long. They worry about everything because that’s what we do as new mums. We care so much about this miracle WE created; we want to do everything we can to protect and look after them.
I wrote this because I don’t want new mums to feel like they are alone, you are NOT alone. This is to all the new mums who are starting out on their breastfeeding experience. It is HARD WORK at first, but it is sooo worth it! This is in no way a critique of mums who have chosen formula. In fact, if I knew enough about it I would write something for those mummies too. I hear time and again how bad they have been made to feel, or how they were just left alone to ‘get on with it’ without having any idea about formula and how to feed their little ones. However, this is for those breastfeeding mums because I have been there, and I have experienced many of the same worries and anxieties you may be going through. I am not a breastfeeding expert, but a mum who has breastfed 2 babies (and is still feeding my 1-year-old)
Here are my main things I want to share and things I wish someone had told me:
– Breastfeeding is painful at the beginning for many of us. It just is. It’s not because the latch is wrong, or anything you are doing. It just hurts to have someone suck on your nipple as if their life depended on it (which I guess it does). Of course you ought to check it out and make sure there are no issues like tongue tie or milk supply issues, but its normal to struggle. Please don’t feel upset or disappointed and, if you can, push through. It WILL get easier, just give it time. Don’t beat yourself up, don’t panic that this is how it will be for months, it won’t, but you need to have someone by your side telling you how well you are doing. Because you are doing well, so keep it up. Join La Leche league, call the breastfeeding NCT number, see your Health Visitor, find a lactation consultant, check out FB pages about breastfeeding. Get support and the correct information.
– You may not need to top up. Well-meaning friends and relatives will tell you to top up on formula if you are worried, or tired in those early days. This can be very unhelpful as topping up on formula will tell your body that you don’t need to produce as much milk. Breastfeeding is supply and demand. It takes a few days for your milk to come in but the more baby is on the breast the more it will stimulate this. if you are concerned do check with a health professional who will be able to help you do what is best for you and baby.
– When your baby is very little (or maybe not so little) they will want to feed all the time. This is normal. They are establishing feeding and they are getting comfort too. Breastfeeding is so much more then feeding. Try not to worry about ‘how much’ they are getting. Babies get what they need and if you are worried their weight is a good indication of how they are doing.
– Don’t let people tell you that your baby is using you like a dummy. So what? That is exactly what the breast is for, to feed and comfort. It is natures ‘dummy’ and therefore normal and natural for your baby to want this.
– Finding clothes isn’t as tricky as you might think. When I had my first child I wore the same 3 feeding tops on rotation. It turns out I could have worn any top I wanted. You just do the 2 top trick, pull the top one up and the bottom one down. No one told me about this until much later, but it’s worth remembering if you don’t want to buy all new clothes . Just using 2 of your existing tops in tandem works a treat.
Breastfeeding is a wonderful way to connect with your baby and to remember what a fabulous job you are doing. You are literally keeping your baby alive with your body! How amazing is that. Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed. I used to worry so much about feeing in public. But what should we? I wouldn’t feel ashamed if I was giving a child solid food in public. Your baby is eating. End of, don’t let others make you feel embarrassed about that.
*If you enjoyed reading this please do share it with your friends, and check out my Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/rootsandwingsparenting/ I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences so pop by and say hi 🙂