“Of course you should breastfeed!” “Maybe you shouldn’t breastfeed.” “Are you still breastfeeding?!” “Have you stopped breastfeeding already?!” “I felt no pain whatsoever.” “It was excruciating.” “Are you sure you want to do this?”
Frankly, we wouldn’t blame any mother for feeling confused or downright scared when it comes to breastfeeding. Too many people have too much to say, when all you need is to shut out all the voices and listen to your own – and if you need it, listen to the advice of people who really know their stuff.
It’s hard to pinpoint the right way to describe breastfeeding because it is vastly different for every mother. However, we can all agree on the fact that yes, it is a bonding and intimate experience, which can be only experienced by a mother. This fact alone is enough to set it apart from many other things. Unfortunately, we cannot anticipate how it will be and how you’ll feel. We can only arm you with little “pearls of wisdom” if you will, in the hope that they will guide you through this path should you wish to take it.
1. Every beginning is hard
No less for breastfeeding. The act in itself should not be painful and with the right guidance on latching by your breastfeeding consultant should be enough to avoid a painful experience. However, if despite all this, the wrong position is adopted and exhaustion sets in, things could get a bit difficult. Remember, this is something you and your baby will master together. The first 6 weeks will be tough but hang in there – it will get better with time.
2. Seek help when you feel you need it
This is CRUCIAL. Head over to the breastfeeding clinic before you give birth and while you’re still in hospital. The midwives’ guidance is a life-saver. Did you know, for example, that you need to keep your back straight while breastfeeding? A difficult feat I assure you, when you’re sitting on a hospital bed. While not everyone does this, getting a lactation consultant to visit you at home and give you guidance on how to best optimize your home space could help greatly. And never, by any means, feel embarrassed at needing to ask for help. If anyone offers help, free of charge? Ask them to cook your meals – seriously. You will have close to no time to do this yourself and good nutrition is extremely important while you’re breastfeeding. Might as well make the most of their offers since your urge to hibernate is definitely not on the cards!
3. You might have side effects
And this is entirely natural and normal. Side effects are different for every woman but symptoms range from nausea, headaches, weight loss and drowsiness. A release in hormones also means you might experience a heightened sense of emotions. Unfortunately, feeling down or emotionally drained can be part and parcel of this phase – be assured it has nothing to do with whether or not you’re a good mother. Breastfeeding vitamins may help with the physical and emotional challenges. Ask for them at your pharmacist’s.
4. Whether or not you breastfeed in public is entirely up to you
Don’t let anyone guilt you into feeling bad about your decision. It is a natural process and is largely accepted by local communities. Even so, if you prefer a more private environment, you can buy breastfeeding shawls (you’re really spoilt for choice here). Remember, practicality is more important than aesthetics. Buy a suitable bra and top to make breastfeeding easier. The last thing you need is fumbling around under your clothes, mid-scream!
5. Breastfeeding should not hurt, however…
Like all good things, breastfeeding can come with a few hitches. Nipple pain is common amongst breastfeeding mummies due to your baby’s eagerness to feed. However, there are precautions you can take – an essential step that is unfortunately foregone by many. Multi-Mam Balm provides the nipple protection before and during breastfeeding and is made of entirely natural ingredients. It helps replenish and supplement the natural skin fat which is removed by breastfeeding and should be applied in the last month of pregnancy to avoid cracks in the nipple area. Multi-Mam Compresses on the other hand act as soothing relief after you breastfeed, helping to prevent infections as well as healing the cracks. They are also made of only natural components. So you see, there are things you can actively adopt to make the experience as beautiful as it is intended to be.
6. Stock up on breastfeeding supplies
A breastfeeding pump will be a life-saver, not only for your baby when you’re not around but also for yourself. You need to get rid of that milk somehow when you’re going out! A nursing pillow is a must if you don’t wish to get neck cramps while you’re breastfeeding. It will also help you adopt an optimal position. Breast pads, another essential, can absorb nipple leaks and compresses and balm help soothe nipples and prevent infection.
7. How long you should breastfeed is really entirely up to you
The general advice is to resist giving your baby a bottle before six weeks. Six months is generally the point where you can start giving your baby solid food. This should be done in moderation and only when they’ve still had some milk. This whole process is mostly guided by your and your baby’s needs. You will find that you may be able to drop one feed a day and adopt that which your baby enjoys the most. You may need to express the milk to make up for the reduced feeds, which is also where that breast pump comes in handy.
Dear new mothers, keep this in mind: there is no manual or exact guidebook for breastfeeding. It’s far from being an exact science. Rather, it’s a bit more like sucking on your finger and putting it up to test the winds. You need to take it step by step. When you’re stuck, help is always one phone call away. When you’re feeling down because something is not right, know that this should never question your abilities as a mother. It will feel like a sacrifice at times but know this; you will be rewarded ten-fold. One look at your contented child is enough.
Thanks to BuzyMummy’s partners, Multi-Mam for supporting original and valuable content.
Multi-Mam offers a selection of natural, non-toxic products that treat and prevent breastfeeding discomforts and give relief during baby’s teething discomforts.To make life even easier for parents, Multi-Mam even offers the opportunity to purchase products online as well as a free delivery service. Click here to view more information or click on links below to view details on the specific products.
Multi-Mam Compresses are non-toxic, preservative-free compresses that are used between feeds to provide immediate pain relief, help create moist healing conditions and prevent infection.
Multi-Mam Balm is a plant-based balm that protects the nipple before and after breastfeeding.
Multi-Mam BabyDent is a natural gel that was developed especially for teething babies. It gives a soft bio-active layer over the baby’s gums, which soothes and relieves discomfort, reduces swelling, and protects against friction. Multi-Mam BabyDent can be stored in the refrigerator to give an extra soothing effect, and can be applied directly onto a pacifier or teething ring.
All products are natural and absolutely safe when swallowed by the baby.
Article written by Roberta Genovese.