When I had my first child, 6 and a half years ago, I knew I wanted to breastfeed her. I expected it to be very hippy like and enjoyable and yet I had a very marmite relationship with it. In hindsight my anxiety about feeding her, especially if I felt rushed with it and worrying about her getting enough milk, contributed to me not enjoying the experience as much as I thought.
Fast forward and I now have two boys under two, as well as a daughter. Our middle boy was breastfed until 8 months just like his sister, but our youngest will be breastfed for much longer due to a cows milk allergy. I’ve made the decision to try for a year of breastfeeding him and although we are trying a few bottles of special formula now and again, I am trying to take joy in feeding this baby for as long as I can, without feeling that stress that I have done before.
I’ve a few simple tips to get you through the tough breastfeeds as well as the totally enjoyable ones.
Try and find a comfy feeding posistion for you and baby. My youngest hates to be cradled and so we often lay next to each other having a stare. He’s getting more fidgety now he is older but the laying down also tells him it is time to relax too. Put your phone away and resist the temptation to be distracted while you feed.
In the early days you often feel like you’re trapped under a feeding baby, so I advise all new mamas to make sure a few things are grabbable. Water is a must to keep yourself hydrated and keep your milk production up. You need to look after yourself by eating and drinking well to ensure you are able to keep up your supply and not feel drained. A fruit bowl nearby or a packed lunch made by your partner before they leave for work, will feel like a godsend! Remote control and a box set will almost certainly help your sanity at stages too. It’s nice to have some time with just your and baby. But I know when you’re racking up hours of cluster feeds it can feel like a lifetime and your brain is turning to mush!
As baby gets older why not try to express a little, so your partner can feed while you grab a much needed “Me time” and a long soak in a bath? Grab some cool flannels for your boobs to relieve them, if you needs be and switch off! I totally recommend popping some music on so you’re not asking how the baby is every 5 minutes too.
Chelle is a mum to three children, wife to one living in Brighton where she also freelances as a professional chatterbox.