5 August 2014

Breastfeeding is Hard Work

Breastfeeding is hard work. No one however seems to tell you this!? I remember being pregnant with my son and being determined to breastfeed him from the get go. One - I liked the idea of it being healthy and only me feeding him, and Two - I was far too lazy to make a bottle. Sad but true. If of course I needed to give my son a bottle for any reason of course I would have done it without thinking twice, luckily though I could breastfeed.

Anyway back to breastfeeding and hard work, so yeah I was determined to feed my son by myself so when the midwife asked how I was going to feed my baby before she could jump down my throat I replied - breastfeeding. Oh lovely she said and not another word was uttered. No word about how babies don't actually know how to breastfeed and how they have to learn, yes it's instinctive but it requires work and patience. No word about how emotional it can be or how it feels when you can't get your baby to latch on and they just become so hungry and frustrated all they do is scream no matter how hard you try. No word about how your poor nipples will become cracked and bloody even when you have the latch right. Your nipples just need to get used to it and harden to the feeding, like an old leather shoe! No word on how difficult it is to master a feeding position, it took me a good few weeks to feel comfortable enough to feed my son sitting up. No word on how if you miss just one feed your boobs will feel like they're about to explode. They get so hot too I'm sure you could fry an egg on them!

Logan and I, yes I look knackered it's hard work!
It all sounds a bit depressing but if someone, i.e. one of the many midwives or health professionals I'd seen, had just informed me that yeah it's fabulous that you want to breastfeed but it can be hard work to start with but so rewarding in the end, I would have been more prepared. Maybe they're scared that if they tell expectant mothers breastfeeding it's hard work we'll all just give up and say feck it, give me a bottle. And like I said there's nothing wrong with bottle feeding but people need credit where credit's due and breastfeeding mothers I salute you. It's no walk in the park.

So ladies breastfeeding is hard work and so many people have said this to me recently or they can remember back to when they did breastfeed their child and how much of a struggle it was to start with but with patience comes reward and after a month or so of practice breastfeeding should become a breeze. Your baby will learn how to latch on easily (with a little help from you of course) and no need to carry any feeding equipment around, you're all your baby needs. It's so rewarding as well knowing you're feeding your baby from your own body, it's amazing really. There's so many benefits of breastfeeding too, even if you only do it for a little while.

My happy breastfed boy.

Benefits of Breastfeeding
  • Breastfeeding helps to protect your baby from infections and diseases.
  • Breastfeeding provides health benefits for both mum and baby.
  • It's free.
  • It's right where you need it to be at the right time. Always ready.
  • It makes you feel good, you're giving your baby the best start.
  • It's always going to be at the right temperature.
  • It can build an amazing bond between you and your baby.
  • It can be comforting for your baby, sometimes they don't feed they just need some comfort.
Health Benefits for Baby
  • Less chance of constipation or diarrhoea.
  • Less chance of vomiting - which I can totally vouch for.
  • The NHS says: "less likelihood of becoming obese and therefore developing type 2 diabetes". I didn't know that one so great stuff.
  • Less chance of developing eczema.
  • And less chance of getting ear infections which seem to be quite common in children.
  • It can protect your baby from developing allergies.
  • It can help to protect your baby against SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
Health Benefits for Mum
  • Burns up to 500 calories per day so help you get back into shape quicker.
  • Reduces your risk of getting breast and ovarian cancer.
  • It is said that it can reduce your stress levels and thus your chances of postpartum depression.

There's a lot of great benefits there for you and your baby and yes it'll be such hard work to start with but know that in yourself you're doing the best thing a mother can do for her baby and there's probably another mother out there somewhere going through the hard work of breastfeeding just like you. If for whatever reason you have to bottlefeed, don't get upset with yourself. You tried your best and that's all that matters, bottlefeeding doesn't mean failure. It's just another way to make sure your baby is getting what they need.

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