Wednesday 13 June 2012

Keep Britain Breastfeeding 2 - Mother to Mother Sharing

This post is part of the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt in the run up to National Breastfeeding Week 2012. This week's theme is mum-to-mum sharing. I asked several of my friends and family who have breastfed their children, or still are, for their experiences and tips. Here are their responses:

1) What was one thing you wish you had known about breastfeeding before you started?
  • Even though you can't see how much your baby is having, it will be enough if you keep going. 
  • I wish that I'd known it was normal for babies to feed frequently - every 30 minutes sometimes! 
  • I wish I'd been prepared to be made to feel bad about breastfeeding by friends and family who hadn't breastfed their babies. They either tried to convince me that F wasn't getting enough, or that I was making them feel guilty because they hadn't been able to breastfeed, or that I was depriving them of time with F. Really!
  • That it could be so easy, cheap, nutritious, bonding, and a very special feeling that lasts all your life! (I know it's not easy for everyone)
  • That doctors and health visitors don't really know much about breastfeeding - it's not part of their training - and so they can give some very bad advice.
  • I wish more than anything that I knew that new babies feed for what seems like hours at a time and I also wish that I had some reassurance that this wouldn't last forever and it's just a fleeting moment in life given the grand scheme of things.
  • That it doesn't always happen easily... but if you push through the initial stage it is much easier in the end!
  • I wish that I had read this letter from a newborn, so that I would have realised that K was normal and he was getting enough milk:
  • There wasn't really anything I wish I'd known - I don't think I realised how much it would pull my tummy in and get my figure back and when I had D I was so young I didn't have a clue about that anyway. 
  • That some people find it horrible- I wasn't ready for nasty stares, or people measuring it against formula.
  • That breastfeeding in public is so much easier than I thought.

2) What was one thing you enjoyed about breastfeeding?
  • Not having to carry utensils around. 
  • I enjoy not having to get out of bed to make up a bottle in the middle of the night.
  • The lovely noises the baby makes.
  • Going back to bed with the baby in the morning, and having a lie-in! 
  • I love the fact that anything can be solved by a quick booby feed - bump on the head? Feed. You can't suck my phone - suck this instead. Tired? Nurse to sleep. Crying in church - pop him on and let him drink. And so on!
  • I was forgetful and disorganised enough without having to remember bottles and formula and times and sterilising...
  • Was warm, cosy, safe and...Oh, and 'let down'-lovely!
  • How convenient and cheap it was! No hassle of bottles and sterilising, etc....
  • I loved feeding all my children - it was a lovely close bond and I loved that no one else could do it but me, but also it made life so much easier in a lot of ways - no sterilizing bottles, no having to make them, no getting up in the night - yes, I am one of those "terrible" mothers who cuddle baby into bed with me and just feed and sleep! 
  • Knowing my baby is at less risk of asthma and eczema and has better immunity.
  • The chance to sit down and stop, maybe watch some telly or read, while the baby is feeding.
  • I loved the let down feeling - warmth and happiness as we bonded. Nothing like it in the world.
  • The health benefits for mum and baby are endless and the simplicity of it once established.

3) What is your one tip for mums who want to breastfeed?
  • Trust your instinct not what other people are telling you.
  • Believe in yourself and surround yourself with people who will support your breastfeeding journey.
  • If it doesn't hurt and then it starts hurting, go and see an NCT advisor to check you haven't got thrush! (and don't be fobbed off by a doctor giving you the wrong medication)
  • Gut feeling; trust it. 
  • Don't leave hospital until your latch has been properly checked and you and the midwife are sure that baby is feeding properly. Ask for baby to be checked for tongue-tie.
  • Tip would be: push through at the beginning and don't be afraid to ask for as much help as you need ( midwives initially, then breast feeding support groups, etc... ) because it's definitely worth it in the end.
  • Lansinoh cream. If I may do a bit of product placement! I promise I don't have shares in the stuff. I found it so helpful in the early days when it was sore. Brilliant stuff and apparently you don't even need to wash if off before you feed. Quite brilliant.
  • Don't have formula in the house, not even for "just in case". Have no plan B. Tell yourself you are a breastfeeding mum.
  • Also it may seem/ feel at the beginning particularly that you're very tied down because you are on call, but just remember that there's always expressing, but more importantly that, even if you breastfeed for a year or beyond, in the grand scheme of your life ( even if you have four or five kids!) it is a relatively short amount of time! So even five years.... one year with each child ( if you have five children!) is nothing in a life that may span 70 + years! 
  • Trust your body and your baby.
  • IF you find it tough, get help from people like La Leche League.
  • A bit of breastmilk rubbed over your nipples and left to air-dry will help any soreness. But if you're really sore, or get cracked nipples, see an LLL or NCT breastfeeding advisor, or the infant feeding coordinator at the hospital to check your latch. 
  • Keep going it gets easier and more enjoyable- breastfed babies don't get as ill as formula fed babies...or risk being overweight as adults.
  • It does have down sides - like the difficulty of leaving baby with someone for a bit; filling up and leaking all over in the early months - but the pros outweigh the cons and the fact that you know that you are preparing your baby in the best possible way for life - less chance of allergies and building up a better immune system. One tip would be - don't give up, it can take a bit of time to get used to it but it is so worth it - and go with the flow - 'scuse the pun!! 

If you have enjoyed reading, you will find more articles about breastfeeding, and some giveaways, at these locations:
Life, Love and Lollipops - Breastfeeding in Public
Mixed Bag of All Sorts - Supplementing at the breast
Mummy is a Gadget Geek - Top tips
Tales from a Cornish Blonde -See for yourself
Smiling Like Sunshine - Keep little hands occupied

Breast Vest are offering 20% off during the Scavenger Hunt. Check out their ingenious vests that cover your tummy whilst breastfeeding:

breastvest, discreet breastfeeding

You have found the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt Logo!!
Keep Britain Breastfeeding
You can now enter to win the Grand Prize.  Remember, the more posts you read on the hunt the greater your chance of winning.  Please enter using the rafflecopter below:


      1. My top tip would be to find your local support/peer supporters/breastfeeding group before baby is born so you can get to know them, this makes it much easier to contact them after baby is born; faces to names and voices. Its good to know you have support from people who you know and are familiar with and that you trust.

      2. Join a breastfeeding support group. The help and advice that you receive is invaluable and will help you through when the going gets tough.

      3. My favourite breastfeeding tipis to set yourself up somewere comfy with all of the things you are likely to need while feeding as you never know how long you will be there especialy in the early days. I always had a muslin, drink and snack to hand and will be doing again once bump arrives. This way you can just relax and enjoy your time together ;)

      4. Lovely post. It's great to read a wide range of mum's views in one post.
        My tip is: if you get plenty of wet nappies and baby is happy after most feeds they are getting enough and you are doing great