The last time I tried to breast feed I’m pretty sure I went about it all the wrong way. In that, I didn’t go about it in a Sarah-way, as in how I would approach most new things in my life. I didn’t try to look at it in a scientific way or a methodical way or even really in a logical way. I didn’t really prepare or study up beforehand. I didn’t ask anyone’s advice, although to be fair at the time I don’t think I knew anyone who was or had been a successful milk giver. I just jumped on a band wagon of why breast was best, nodded along and assumed my magical knockers would simply giveth.
And whilst I did persevere for several weeks and had a good stab at it, in the end it just didn’t work out and that was that. I didn’t at the time and I don’t now have any hang ups about the fact that my first child was formula and not breast milk fed. I don’t have a feeling of guilt, I don’t see that he was or is lacking in any regard. And this isn’t a post about tits vs. bottles, like we all need another bitch bait about that. This is a post about being stubborn and giving it another go. And I’m going to start by educating myself, because no one has ever educated me about breast feeding.
I’d bet money that most of you reading this now are in the same boat? Unless you’ve done something voluntarily off your own back I mean. Did you go to a class or write a paper at school about breast feeding, even in a scientific way – perhaps in Biology? Were you taught at school how breast milk is actually produced by our bodies? I wasn’t.
I also didn’t (and still haven’t at 30 weeks pregnant) received a single piece of information – verbal or written from my Midwife or Consultant about breast feeding or breast milk. Seriously – nothing at all – that’s weird right? I mean, I know I can ask, I know there are posters pinned on the walls at the Clinic but no one is volunteering this information to me – no one is saying “Hey you, do you wanna know how to breast feed? Cos we know all about it and we’ll show you!”
So my first stop on actively educating myself is to simply ask advice from people who know. People who have been there, done that and got the milk stained T-shirt. In the first instance I’ve turned to social media, the place where people don’t tend to hold back. Here’s some of the advice I’ve received…
“Find a position that suits you, everyone’s different you just need to find the most comfortable fit for you! The one that saved me was learning to feed whilst laid down – it got me through so many sleepless nights at the beginning. Even now, a year later, it’s my go to feeding position.” Hayley from Devon Mama
“Some times it’s easy to get established, sometimes it isn’t. How the breastfeeding relationship starts isn’t a reflection on the rest of the journey. If you need help speak to people until you get the help you need.” Kate from Counting To Ten
“Feed on demand – and expect that this may sometimes mean episodes of cluster feeding non-stop … it will help establish your milk production and is also perfectly normal (although can be hard work). Keep asking for help if you need it with latch and positioning. Eat and drink regularly.” Sarah from Arthur Wears
“Surround yourself with those who are supportive. If you’re really determined to give it a go, it can be really hard if people start trying to persuade you to give them a bottle ‘just in case’ or ‘to help them sleep’. Trust yourself, trust your body and follow the cues from your baby.” Holly from Little Pickles Mom
“To find out places to go to access support before you have your baby. Ask your midwife for details about drop in’s, baby cafes etc. Facebook/Google any local baby groups which are breastfeeding friendly etc. There is nothing worse than thinking your on your own when your not!” Jaymee from The Mum Diaries
“Expect to have sore nipples to start with. Use a lanolin-based cream (the No Harm Nipple Balm from My Expert Midwife is great and you don’t have to wash it off) and work through the pain. Eventually they will get used to it and the soreness will subside. To help, always make sure your baby has latched properly.” Victoria from Verily Victoria Vocalises
“Don’t ever leave the house without breast pads. I thought, who needs breast pads when you’ve got a baby that feeds nonstop and then I was stuck on a bus during rush hour and thought I’d flood the whole thing. So embarrassing!” Carolin from Mummy Alarm
I’ve also had some cracking advice on Instagram about breast pumps which I’m going to share on another post soon.