I want the Boobies!
"I want the Boobies!" Yip... that’s what I hear most of my day... surprisingly enough it’s not only coming from my soon to be 2-year-old.
So when do I get them back to myself? Well, it seems like it could be soon. Yay! Well, kinda... there’s still a grown man that wants them, Ugh! ("Yay!" under my breath). A countdown to the Easter weekend has begun as "Operation Free the Boobies" will commence. I would like to apologise to my neighbours in advance, but yes, your Easter weekend will be ruined too.
One of the few things I hoped to do as a new mom was to breastfeed. I had the dream of bonding with my baby and the joy of providing her with all the nutrition she would need, but even with all the research and preparation, nobody mentioned the constant fear and anxiety you may face. I prepared myself very early on in my pregnancy for this beautiful thing called breastfeeding, however, when the time came I stressed about not being able to produce milk. Then there was the pain within the first month or so as my nipples got stronger for this boobie-monster. Did I mention Mastitis? (clogging of the milk ducts). But even with all that, I love breastfeeding and I’m so glad I went through it all.
So how do you prepare for breastfeeding? I'm not an expert but this is what I did:
- I kept my nipples moisturised all the time, even before giving birth. Get yourself a very good nipple cream, Medela Purelan 100 nipple cream was what I used & it was great, even for chapped lips.
- Lactation bars are no myth. They were key to producing milk especially in the first few days, Mrs Milk bars worked like a charm for me. I had 2 bars every day from the day I gave birth until day 3. By the 4th day, I cut it down to just 1 bar for the next couple of days. I had to stop using them by day 5/6 as it seemed to work a little too well, but I always kept a few bars around for those growth spurts.
- A good Nursing Cover: It should offer privacy, but needs to be breathable. If you think you going to sit in a room secluded from everyone and breastfeed, think again. Unless you prefer some quiet time or don't suffer from FOMO as I do. Breastfeeding is so natural and I would breastfeed at restaurants, weddings (once upon a time) and also in front of family and friends, of course with a nursing cover. This allowed me to socialise and make sure my baby got her meals on time. If I wore my nursing cover backwards like a cape, then everyone could see I was a breastfeeding superhero! Ok, I only did that the one time in front of the mirror by myself. Also, let's normalise this habit, please! If you're offended by the thought of a mother feeding her baby in public, the issue lies with you.
- A Breastfeeding Pillow: There is only so much discomfort I could tolerate and I wasn’t willing to let the baby rest on my arm indefinitely, especially since they can drink for hours. There are many different types of breastfeeding pillows and it’s a must for your babies head support as well as your comfort and sanity. The great thing is once you master the use of your pillow you may have both arms free. Perfect for having a snack or reading while feeding.
- Lactation Nurse/Doula: These experts know what they are talking about, at least that was my experience. They are super knowledgable from knowing exactly how to position the baby for feeds, baths & burping to how to make sure that you not straining your back. Self-care was also an important take away from my time spent with both a lactation nurse & a doula.
- Patience: Sometimes you find yourself looking at these perfect bundles of joy and think they can only drink so much until you realise that they can drink for almost 45 minutes on each breast. Well, we all know where the milk is going, 8-10 diaper changes later.
There’s always pros and cons for every decision you make as a mother for a child, and yes breastfeeding has them too. And yes, some days I envy bottle-fed babies and the independence that their mothers have. So as most of you are aware by now I like making lists, so here’s my Pro's/Con's list:
- "Breast is best!" Well, that's what my hubby has enthusiastically said several times, but I'm inclined to think he has ulterior motives. The nutritional factor, especially during a pandemic. It was good to know that Q was getting the best nutrition I could give her. Both Q's Dad and I got sick (flu's, head cold's, gastro...) a few times while Q was an infant and we are grateful that Q didn’t pick up any of what we had.
- Cost factor: breastfeeding is cheap, other than the initial expenses of preparing yourself, there are no major expenses.
- Bonding time: I have the sweetest memories of bonding with Q while breastfeeding, where she would smile while drinking or give a giggle, and now she talks while drinking which is hilarious as well.
- The pain: I’ve never felt pain like breastfeeding pain, I also didn’t give birth naturally, so maybe I’m exaggerating, but wow... it feels like endless days of someone torturing your nipples. The trauma hasn’t left me as yet.
- Mastitis: This is one you never know you had until you have it and I blame it on not eating in time. Always eat on time and always take snacks with you wherever you're on the go. Nutrition is very important.
- Leaking breast: Let's just say my poor sheets and clothing took a bit of a knock, even with the breast pads.
- Weaning them off: I have no profound words, as I don’t even know if I’m going to be successful or secretly keep feeding her past an acceptable age... I'm kidding.
- Support: The primary role of the father is to teach the baby that love and comfort are not necessarily associated with food. If he doesn't already know this, then let it be known, because you will have days when you will need the support.
I think weaning needs it’s own blog because it took me hours to research, tons of advice from friends and family and also a bit of delusion that I'd breastfeed until Q was comfortable with stopping by herself. Hahaha... a moment of naivety on my part. So the trick, from what I read is to wean them off slowly so that it doesn’t cause emotional issues with your baby/toddler and your hormones don’t go through some erratic behaviour... well that may work in theory, but I'm not sure that'll work with Q. She knows what she wants & when she wants it. So I will be going "cold-turkey". This entails me informing Q that my boobies are sore and that she can't have any, covering my nipples with plasters so that she can’t get through them and allowing her to throw all the tantrums she needs to for approximately 5-7 days until she no longer wants it anymore... I hope I get this right.
I would love to hear from you on how you weaned your baby off breastfeeding as I need all the tips and advice there is.
Q's Mum (AKA meals in heels)