Remember the early newborn baby days? Can you remember trying to start breastfeeding if that was your feeding plan?
I do but they are quite a blur at the same time, especially with my first. After 36 hours of labour, from the initial twinges, giving birth, barely any sleep in hospital and being discharged from hospital the next day, a lot of it is hazy!
I struggled a little with bonding with the gremlin at first and that combined with the fear of having a newborn PLUS trying to get this tiny thing to latch on, did make the first few days hard work. I still remember her crying and me crying, as I didn’t know what do to. I also remember sobbing down the phone to my Mum, as I was struggling on the dreaded day 5 when my hormone levels plummeted.
It’s certainly not all love and rainbows and breastfeeding a newborn certainly isn’t! It was a lot easier with my second, I have to admit but with my first there were a few occasions that I just wanted to quit. I asked my hubby to go out and get some formula in the dead of night once, as I’d just had enough!! Engorged, painful boobs that took ages to settle down, constant feeding, a cracked nipple and cramps as I fed. Doesn’t really keep you motivated eh?
I knew I didn’t want to really stop though and these were the thoughts I had to try and keep me going during those hard early days. I hope you find them helpful, if you are reading this on the road to stopping.
– This was actually one from a friend at the time; pretend you are enjoying it, as you know it will get better. The mind is very easily convinced if you try and make yourself enjoy something. It worked for her and she carried on. It’s cliche but it DOES get easier. Your engorged boobs settle and your nipples get tougher.
– I could get help. I know some may disagree but I had the midwives, local breastfeeding cafes and my friends who had previously fed. Everyone was supportive and this helped.
– Look at how my baby is gaining weight. The gremlin lost a little weight at her first weigh in but then regained it. I remember being amazed MY milk; MINE was making this happen and this was totally amazing.
– I hate tummy bugs and I know breastfeeding can contribute to a healthy gut. This was enough to keep me going for the possibility of less vomit!
– I could always settle the girls with my boob. Always! Frustrating that it was always me but much less crying!
– Every time I sat down for a feed, it was an excuse for a drink and snack. I needed to keep my hydration and strength up! I drank loads of Vimto squash and peanut butter off the spoon.
– Less stuff to take out. No bottles, no formula, no sterilising. I still had a tonne of other stuff to take but it was easy. I never even bothered with a boob curtain; just whipped my top up and off they both went.
– I was waited on hand and foot. If my hubby and Mum were around, especially in the early days, I was brought cups of teas, scones and even my dinner! Plus I often got out of cleaning up. Bonus.
– The closeness was lovely. Feeding and then she would fall asleep and we could snuggle was lovely. I definitely did more of this second time around, as wanted to make the most of it.
– My boobs were massive. I had cleavage. Who doesn’t want to keep that for as long as possible?
I’m so glad I managed to breastfeed both my girls. I feel it was a privilege, as I know for some it is not that easy, as perhaps it was for me.
The early days go and you both practice and get to know each other. I look back now, when staring at my 4 year old and 18 month old and I do feel proud that I managed it.
Wishing you the best of luck!
You can read about the start of my breastfeeding journey here.