Regular readers will know I LOVED pregnancy, had a super positive labour and, so far, have loved motherhood too. But there was bound to be something i didn’t like right? Yep. There is something I don’t like. Actually, this is something I HATE.
Holy crap do I hate breastfeeding! Who knew it could be such a grim experience? Well, as it goes, lots of people seem to know this too. In fact, as soon as I started feeding (a few hours after giving birth) I was enlightened by my mum that yep, breastfeeding is hard.
I don’t know about you, and forgive me for being super naive but I just presumed it would be easy. I thought that because it was so ‘natural’ it would just happen naturally. I thought the baby would know what to do. As it goes, the baby needs some serious guidance and so do you.
First off, I want to lay my cards on the table and say I never actively chose to breastfeed. I just presumed that’s what I’d do if I could because the thought of faffing with formula and sterilising endless bottles in our tiny kitchen was the less appealing option.
I’m also ashamed to admit the other reason I wanted to try breastfeeding was because of the alleged calorie burn aspect……I know, I hate me a little bit too.
So last on the list of reasons why I chose this route of feeding was because it’s the ‘best’ apparently. I mean, there’s stacks of evidence to support this and I don’t think anyone dispute it, but I personally believe FED is best. I think breastfeeding is statistically best, but the latter option of formula is a pretty close second. I was breastfed for a few months before being switched to formula, and I have friends who solely used formula and their babies, now children, are as awesome and healthy as any other.
The pressure poured onto you before you give birth, and the sheer volume of ‘advice’ you get while in hospital is overwhelming. I felt like the world’s worst mother when, after about 48 hours of no sleep and not much food, I didn’t slap my baby onto my breast like a seasoned pro and watch it happily suckle away. BY THE WAY, how gross is the word suckle?!
I persevered, and managed to feed Anaïs a little before I was discharged but her first night home with us was 100% fuelled by formula. I needed sleep, so Oli took over and we started anew the next day. I give zero sh@ts about this.
When the midwife came to visit me on day one, she gave me some very good advice – she told me not to stress about it. She also told me it was completely normal for the baby not to feed very much at all at first (they have the tiniest tummies!) and showed me a few positions to feed in.
She was so kind, so non-judgemental and so supportive I felt immediately better and, hey presto, managed to feed Anaïs myself.
But. And this is a BIG BUT.
Holy crap the pain. The pain of a baby latching on to your, very sensitive nipple, is HELL. I could not understand how people managed this for months, let alone years. The pain was so bad, I would shout and yelp and it didn’t seem to disappear the longer she fed. It was toe curling.
My midwife even latched Anaïs for me to check whether it was pain caused by incorrect latch (which seems to be a common thing) but she declared the latch to be perfect! Cue a quiet sob from me. So this was simply something I had to endure?
Happily, I can report that almost six weeks later the pain has gone away. But I still hate breastfeeding. Why?
I hate the fact I am tied down. If I want to leave for an hour or two, I have to express…..and getting more than a few ml out is length, and hellish.
I hate not knowing how much she’s eating! The only way I know is when she’s weighed (she’s putting on weight, don’t worry!)
I hate the sensation. It’s weird, and uncomfortable and I don’t like it one little bit.
I hate the fact I leak all over my clothes, and have to wear uncomfortable pads in my bra.
I hate that I am always worried my milk might run out. And because of that, I endlessly Google ‘lactaction boosting recipes’……
So, there you have it. Breastfeeding is my Everest y’all! Send help, and a flaxseed and brewers yeast cookie apparently…..
Also published on Medium.