I have thought of whether to do this post for a while now and decided to go for it. This is a journey close to my heart and maybe by sharing it it would help guide a few new mamas out there 🙂
On the 27th of November we celebrated 8 months of exclusive breastfeeding and this journey still goes on. In the first couple of weeks maybe even months I didn’t know if I was ever going to make it past 2 months but I feel so proud of myself to be this far along in the journey. There is so much to share so to make this easier I will divide this post into 3 parts : The good, the bad and what helped through the last 8 months.
- The pain. Why does no one talk about how painful bf is at the beginning? I was genuinely shocked at how painful let down was (Let down is when the milk comes in). You can expect this to subside around the 4 week or mark, at least it did for me!
- The commitment – In short you are their food source so where you go the baby goes especially at the beginning when your supply depends on it. Breastfeeding is a supply and demand relationship, the more you feed the more milk that will come in.
- Pumping – I went back to work 2.5 months after Isabella was born and to continue EBF I had to pump at work, to make things worse I had to do it in a bathroom twice a day. This was a small price to pay to make sure my baby was still getting my milk when I was away.
- The long hours at the beginning – Did you know that you could breastfeed for about 5-6 hours a day at the beginning? This truly shocked me as well, I got through it with Netflix and lots of snacks by my side!
- Mastitis & Engorgement – I was unlucky to experience mastitis, mastitis is a blocked duct is an area of the breast where milk flow is obstructed . Engorgement on the other hand happens often at the beginning when you are away from your child and have not pumped they both can be quite painful however mastitis requires medication and engorgement does not.
- Health benefits – Breast milk contains antibodies that help your baby fight off viruses and bacteria.Breastfeeding lowers your baby’s risk of having asthma or allergies. Plus, babies who are breastfed exclusively for the first 6 months, without any formula, have fewer ear infections, respiratory illnesses, and bouts of diarrhea. The benefits also extend to the mother such as lowering your chances of certain cancers and osteoporosis. Oh and did I mention BF helps you lose the baby weight quicker? YES!
- The bond – Oxytocin (the chemical released when in love or exercising) is released when breastfeeding. I know I feel it every single time I bf Isabella. Also at 8 months old shes a pretty wriggly baby so this the only cuddle time we get.
- The ease – After the first few months bf becomes really EASY! Isabella now feeds 6-7 times a day and the feed lasts no more than 10 minutes. Also when going out you don’t need to remember to bring anything with you except an extra diaper, no need for formula, bottles etc. Middle of the night feedings are also easy as there are no bottles to make or anything to sterilize and clean after.
Things that helped along the way:
- My Medela breast pump – Allowing me to pump when I was away from Isabella and still give her BM.
- A breastfeeding cover – Used this more at the beginning when the feeds would last 30 mins and I wanted to be out and about.
- Community support – Surrounding yourself with people who not only accept but encourage you in your journey is key to lasting this long. My community support includes everyone from my supportive husband and family to my supportive friends at work who understand the importance of pumping.
- Online information: There is so much info online that I remember googling questions at 3 am in the first few weeks. Check out kellymom.com for lots of amazing information about BF.
I would like to end this post by saying that I am by no means a bf expert and that a fed baby ,whether formula or BM, is a happy baby. Hope you enjoyed this and please let me know if you have any questions!
Shameless insert of Isabella’s photo 🙂