Twelve Things I Love About Breastfeeding
In honour of National Breastfeeding Celebration week 2016 I have decided to write a post about, you guessed it… Breastfeeding!
I’ve got to admit I thought carefully about whether or not to write about Breastfeeding, as I know it can be such an emotive subject. Perhaps part of me was worried that I’d get the Jamie Oliver treatment when he spoke about it. I’m certainly not here to tell anyone how they should feed their babies, I’m totally supportive of however you chose to do so. Being a mum is a tough job as it is, none of us need judgment and lets face it it’s none of anyone else’s business any way.
I’ve always been honest with my friends and my Hypnobirthing couples about my previous experiences of feeding my babies and how I used formula early on with both Harris and Imogen. I also shared my determination to Breastfeed my third child. And here I am writing this with baby number three, Lochlan asleep at the boob at 15 weeks. It has definitely been a journey but here we are and I LOVE it!
And that’s why I’m writing this. Before I had my first baby all I’d heard was pretty rubbish things about Breastfeeding- cracked nips, no sleep, constant feeding, mastitis, unsatisfied babies, being man-handled by health professionals, so its no wonder we stocked up on formula before Harris was born. I’d obviously heard that Breast is best for the health of the baby (this was repeated to me at every antenatal appointment!) but I never knew how or why.
One of the key parts of Hypnobirthing is how what we hear about birth shapes our expectations of it. When we hear awful things about birth we expect the worst. Our poor expectations and self-doubt affect how we approach it and it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy! Surely this can also apply to breastfeeding too. So this is why I wanted to write about the things I love about breastfeeding. These are things I wished I’d have known years ago.
I’m writing this for the pregnant woman who isn’t surrounded by a family and friendship group where breastfeeding is the norm and it’s for the woman with the newborn who’s struggling in those first weeks and trying to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Before I start I will be honest I did NOT love breastfeeding in the first few weeks following the birth of Lochlan. In fact I hated it, I cried LOTS. I felt like I was crap at it, there was pain, it was relentless, I felt I was neglecting my other kids and I was probably the most tired I’d ever been in my life. I was told it would get better and I struggled to believe it would but they were right and now I’m so glad that I stuck with it. Without the continuous support and wisdom of my amazing independent midwife Sarah Flower, the kind shoulder to cry on of my postnatal doula Angela Mackenzie and the constant support from my lovely husband Adam I don’t think I’d have stuck with it. So a massive thank you to them!
I never imagined I would ever say I love breastfeeding, but I really do and here are twelve of my reasons why…
- It’s my magic wand!
Baby is hungry- give him boob, baby is tired- give him boob, baby is bored- give him boob, baby is unwell- give him boob, what on earth is wrong with baby!- give him boob.
This is a pretty useful tool in a house of three children under three and a half!
- Better sleep
Yes you read that right! Don’t get me wrong, I am still lacking sleep but I do feel that the quality of my sleep is better compared to when my other two were tiny. Lochlan probably does feed more frequently than the other two did in the night, but the lovely hormones that feeding releases means that we both drop back off to sleep quickly and easily after a night feed.
- I get to sit down more
I really do love this one! Young babies feed A LOT meaning some days I spend a good few hours on the sofa. This is great for postnatal recovery. I can’t get off the sofa so please bring me my drink, chocolate, remote and peel me a grape!
Breastfeeding is also a great excuse to get out jobs you don’t fancy. The shopping needs putting away- sorry but Lochlan needs feeding. Don’t tell hubby!
- My kids know what boobs are for
Imogen regularly pulls up her top to feed her dolls. Harris is always singing about how Lochlan loves his booby milk.
- No periods
- I can eat more chocolate
Although if I’m honest I’d love to say I’m losing loads of weight Breastfeeding, I’m not. However, most days I usually get through a large bag of Twirl bites and a Flake Icecream plus lots of other food because I’m starving and I’m not putting weight on. Breastfeeding is said to burn around an extra 500 calories a day. Got to love that!
- It’s always there, ready and available
No running downstairs in the night to prepare a bottle, no cutting day trips short in case baby needs another feed and no messing about sterilising. It’s as easy as pulling up my top and its there at the perfect temperature. This also makes my massively full nappy bag a whole lot lighter!
- Getting him weighed is exciting
Yes I am that sad! I do get joy from seeing how many pounds he’s gained from mummy’s milk and I love his chubby rolls!
- Normalising breastfeeding
I always thought I’d hate breastfeeding in public. However I almost feel like I’m doing a public service, helping to normalise breastfeeding. I’ve only ever received positive comments so far when feeding in public. If someone fancies saying something negative- Bring-it-on!! I’m ready for ya!
- Babies are clever/milk is clever
When he’s on a feeding frenzy or acting bizarre on the boob it usually means he’s upping my supply ready for a big growth spurt!
When the days are hot (granted very rarely in the UK) I don’t have to worry about him getting enough fluids, milk adapts and changes keeping babies hydrated. Clever!
- Milk comes out of me!
This is really daft but even after three months I still can’t help but feel amazed knowing I’m producing milk that is growing and nourishing my baby. When I express milk and actually see it, well that just blows my mind!
- His little adorable milky happy face
This is ultimately why I love it. During a feed he comes off and just gives me an amazing smile, latches back on and enjoys the rest of his feed. I will remember those oxytocin filled blissful moments forever!
So there you go that’s why I love breastfeeding and I’m sure my reasons maybe different to another mother’s reasons but I thought during National Breastfeeding Celebration week I’d like to spread a bit of positivity. Breastfeeding can be hard but equally it can be amazing- just like labour really. I’m three months into my journey and I hope to be loving breastfeeding for a whole lot longer!
Happy feeding however you are doing it!