I chose to breastfeed both my children when they were born. However, the experience was different for both and there were many lessons I learnt during breastfeeding. I’m talking about these today to open dialog about nursing and for mothers to be able to express their thoughts and own stories.
1. It does not come “naturally”
Advertisements and movies would have us believe that breastfeeding comes “naturally” to all mothers and the first instinct for all mothers is to put baby to breast and have the best idyllic bonding experience. The reality is different of course. The first few days of breastfeeding are challenging and it can take time to get a hang of it. Colostrum, the first breast milk a mother produces, is golden in colour, thick in consistency and does not really look like milk as we would expect it. It’s however perfect for the baby and exactly what they need. Don’t worry, there is enough for them. Get help from lactation consultants to help you with any challenges you are facing and recognize that it can be a rocky start.
2. Breastfeeding with C-Section Recovery
Both my children were born by C-section and I had heard many myths that breastfeeding can be difficult after a C-section. However, skin-to-skin with the baby and lots of bonding can get you right on track.
3. The More I Fed Baby The More I Produced
Breast feeding is definitely a strange equation because the more the baby feeds, the more milk you will produce. So don’t worry, you won’t “empty out”. Your body is designed to produce more milk, as baby nurses. Make sure you are eating well and drinking lots of water!
4. When Mom Needs a Break
I breastfed my son (my second born) for almost two years. However, with my daughter (my first born) after six months of exclusively breastfeeding, I needed a break. So I started supplementing her with formula. Our breastfeeding journey finished at 10 months (remember the supply equation I was talking about above?). As I started supplementing with formula and my daughter started solids also, my supply ran out at around the time my daughter was 10 months old. I felt sad. However, I was assured by my pediatrician that I had done my best and a happier mom makes a good mother. While breastfeeding is unarguably the best for baby, many times moms are not able to start or continue and it’s OK.
5. Weight Loss and Nursing
Yes, your body is burning all those calories when you’re nursing but you will not loose weight magically. Have a healthy approach to weight loss. Eat healthy and drink lots of water.
6. Nursing on the Go
I realized that nursing my second born was easier because I chose to nurse him on the go where ever we were. I had an almost four-year-old already and didn’t really have much choice since there was the school run, activities and play dates to manage. I invested in a great nursing cover and knew about every nursing station in every mall.
I traveled a lot while nursing my son and always kept a big shawl with me that allowed me to nurse in private. I developed a bit of a thick skin when we were visiting Pakistan and aunties suggested that why I didn’t use a bottle.
7. Sleeping Arrangements with Nursing
I feel another reason I was able to breastfeed my son longer was because I decided to co-sleep with him. We had set up a nursery for my daughter, my first born, and I used to run from my room to her nursery in the middle of the night usually ending up sleeping all night on the rocking chair while holding my daughter in my arms. I did not have the luxury of affording these restless nights when my son was born due to an active older sibling. Co-sleeping with my son allowed me to nurse him at night frequently and still get reasonable sleep at night.
8. Tuning out unwanted Advice
This I feel is important for all new mothers. One of the most important lessons I learnt during breastfeeding was to tune out unwanted advice. A mother’s inner voice is the most important! Even professionals such as doctors and lactation consultants recognize it and always give a mother options and ask her to choose according to her lifestyle. Tune out advice you don’t agree with, smile in return and maintain your inner peace.
BreastFeeding support: Products that Help
I want to mention here a few products that helped me in my breastfeeding journey and made it easier.
Philips Avent Breast milk Storage Cups
These Philips Avent breast milk storage cups are great since you can store breast milk to be used later. Mom can get a much deserved breast when someone else from the family takes up baby feeding duties!
Philips Avent Microwave Sterilizer Bags
These sterilizer bags were a God sent for me! So convenient especially on the go!
Philips Avent Nipple Protector
These nipple protectors can be really helpful for a new mother having challenges with latching. I would highly recommend these Philips Avent ones.
Philips Avent Washable Breast Pads
I loved washable breast pads since these were reusable!
Philips Avent Feeding Bottles
I loved the Philips Avent feeding bottles that are easy to clean and prevent fussing in the baby. Whether you choose a bottle to feed the baby stored breast milk or formula, it’s great to invest in good quality bottles.
Hope you enjoyed all these lessons I learnt during breastfeeding. How was your experience? Would love to hear from you!
[Read More: 5 Ways to care for a nursing mother]
Disclaimer: This blog post is sponsored by Philips Avent. All opinions are my own.