Throughout pregnancy I was really hoping I could breastfeed but always thought if it doesn’t happen then at least I’ve tried as I know how pressurising or upsetting it may be. I love that I can breastfeed but please don’t think I am judging those that don’t in this post.
When the Little Fella was born, I had a lot of help and support from the midwives. I couldn’t pick the Little Fella up so, the midwife would place him in position and teach him how to latch on. I stayed in hospital for 5 days and I was regularly asked by support workers if I needed any help or guidance. The Little Fella learnt very quickly and I was very fortunate to be able to breastfeed, however, I can understand how breastfeeding may be difficult if you left the hospital after a day and did it all by yourself. Due to the Little Fella becoming established at a young age, I was very fortunate that it didn’t hurt for long or experience any cracked or sore nipples.
Here are some of my experiences (please remember that these are my own experiences and you should seek advice from professionals).
Feed A LOT
At first I fed the Little Fella every hour on the hour, this lasted for about 5 days. The frequency of the feeds did decrease. Breast milk is more easily digested than formula food meaning that babies feed more, at first I fed the Little Fella about 20-22 times a day but after a few weeks he would feed every 2.5 hours. Now I feed the Little Fella around 10-12 feeds a day which is 320 feeds a month!!
Around week 2, the Little Fella had a growth spurt and did a lot of cluster feeding in the evening. As I was new to breastfeeding I started looking on the internet to see if this was normal and would become a regular thing. That’s when I came across information about the growth spurt and that babies have spells where they feed more constantly to help with milk supply and demand. The first time it happened I fed the Little Fella 9 times in 4 hours!
The Timings of Breastfeeding
I downloaded a breastfeeding app to keep track of the Little Fella’s feeds so, I was ready and knew which side to feed from. I can remember being told that a baby must feed for 20 minutes on one side and then to try them on the other but the Little Fella fed for 15 minutes. I started to become a little fixated with the times and wondering why we wasn’t doing what was advised. I started to get stressed out about it but one day I just thought maybe the Little Fella is an efficient and quick eater and what he was eating was sufficient. A month after breastfeeding I can remember thinking ‘if that’s how much he wants to eat then that’s that!’ and feeling like a big weight was lifted from my shoulders and being so much more relaxed when breastfeeding and it really made it a nicer experience. Now he feeds on average 7 minutes but he’s still putting on weight and having the correct number of nappies.
Breastfeeding in Public
When I’m out and about I try to use feeding rooms but I will feed in cafes, restaurants or any public spaces if they aren’t available. Boots have a parent room and shopping centres have their own feeding section too, they provide changing facilities and also chairs to allow you to be comfortable whilst feeding. I haven’t received any negative comments but remember it is law that you can breastfeed your baby in public and nobody can tell you to stop or to leave a public area.
If I do feed the Little Fella in public I use a shawl, I purchased a Cath Kidston Nursing cover and it is brilliant. It has a bone like feature at the top so you can look down at your feeding baby. It has a bib built in and also a pocket which is very handy. The pattern is lovely too. I can’t find a link to this but there are a lot of others on the market.
Become More Confident
I can remember at first, I had to have my breastfeeding shawl available at all times but you do become more confident and if it’s not to hand then I just think my baby needs feeding but I still like to be discreet. In the build-up of thinking about breastfeeding you feel like you have to cover up and feel a little bit embarrassed about being on show but once you give birth things like that go out the window. You have a lot of people help you and see you so, you get over it!
Nursing Sleep Bra
When I first started breastfeeding, I leaked A LOT! At night I would wear nursing bras to hold the breast pads in place and after a while they started becoming uncomfortable whilst I was sleeping. I started looking into sleep nursing bras and came across the ‘Medela Night Time Nursing Sleep Bra’ and these are so comfortable. There are a lot of these types of bras and I would definitely recommend them.
When I was preparing for the Little Fella’s arrival I purchased a breastfeeding pillow, when we attended antenatal classes, the midwife recommended that you didn’t use these. As I was in hospital for a while and managed to start feeding the Little Fella by myself I got used to doing it without a pillow. I tried using it about 8 weeks later and couldn’t get used to it, I’m glad that I didn’t if I’m honest as you may find it hard to adapt without it. To ensure I don’t waste my money, I am going to use the pillow for tummy time or as a support once the Little Fella starts to sit up.
I’ve only used the one position so far and that’s the cradle hold, whilst in hospital we did try the reclining position to see if it was more comfortable but I found it hard to adapt this position without help. I’ve tried it once since and we couldn’t get used to it so I’ve stuck to the cradle hold.
I’ve expressed about 6 times and this was due to me having excess milk or as my mum or boyfriend offered to do a night feed as I wasn’t very well. I can always remember my friend’s baby finding it hard to take a bottle when her mum was going back to work after 6 months of breast feeding. This was another reason why I expressed as I wanted the Little Fella to be able to take the bottle in case there was a time I couldn’t be there. I waited until the Little Fella was fully established at breastfeeding before he had a bottle.
I love that I can breastfeed as I find it so rewarding and I’m really enjoying the experience. How did you find breastfeeding? Have you got any other experiences or advice?