Challenges of early breastfeeding

I found the first few days of breastfeeding surreal, I was happy, scared and exhausted.   How do I know that there is milk? Is there enough? Is this supposed to hurt? Why is my baby not latching on? the questions can be endless.

Right after the birth my body felt like it had been hit by a spaceship, I was so scared to be alone with my little man. My brain and my body did not coordinate, my body reactions were constantly behind, I’m not exaggerating, there were times that my brain was telling my body to pick Oscar up because he was crying but the reaction was so slow! Now throw breastfeeding into the mix, ouch.

The initial few weeks of breastfeeding almost broke me, they were really challenging; Oscar was feeding often therefore slept less, whether you are a first-time mum or have done this before, sleepless nights are always a shock to the system which can take its toll on your physical and mental wellbeing, I know first-hand.

Leaving aside the fact that Oscar was tongue tie which affected the way he fed and slept, here are the things that I found really difficult during the first three months of breastfeeding:

Tiredness

After breastfeeding I always feel so tired and if you are exclusively breastfeeding, tiredness makes breastfeeding a little difficult, especially in the first few weeks when you are just adjusting to motherhood.   Even now I try to take at least one power nap during the day, it makes a big difference.

Hunger

When Oscar was really little he would feed for around 20 mins on each breast during this period I put on a lot of weight (with a little of my mums help hehe), I would just eat right after… I felt so hungry, I couldn’t resist… if I was tired and hungry, I devoured whatever I could find in the fridge (no regrets) but I had to make sure that even if I had a lot to eat it was healthy… I stayed away from coffee, alcohol… foods that could upset Oscars tummy.

Loneliness

I’ll be honest I found the initial stages so lonely, the night feeds in particular.  Everything is so quiet and dark, it was just my boob, darkness, tiredness and Oscar.  I was grateful for online mammas that showed me support!

Breastfeeding in public

Occasionally I get some funny looks when I get my boobs out in public to feed Oscar, I’ll admit it, I have not been able to be discrete about breastfeeding in public, I guess I’m not bothered. However, once I was feeling a little emotional and I got upset despite knowing that breastfeeding is so natural.

You are always on call

I noticed is that the boob is also a comfort blanket for Oscar. Whenever he has been upset the boob calms him down, for example after his vaccines or a loud noise has scared him, the boob makes him feel better which the majority of times is great and I feel like I continue to be the vessel for his wellbeing but there are times I feel like I have no ownership of my body.  Expressing is a great help.

Breastfeeding is tough and there is so much pressure on mums to breastfeed but whatever we chose it’s up to us and as mums we must do whatever its best for our babies and us. Happy mum, happy baby. 

At the beginning I struggled with breastfeeding so much, there were so many tears and moments of desperation but deep down something told me to carry on and I’m so glad I pushed through because when I breastfeed Oscar the world standstill. 

8 months of breastfeeding and we are both loving it

Until next time, stay kind, stay safe.

Julie x

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