Breastfeeding is an experience you can do very little to prepare yourself for; the idea of using my previously purely sexual assets for their actual purpose was rather foreign before giving birth.
Every Tom, Dick and Harry has a different opinion on breastfeeding (and yes even men think their opinions on it are important). To pump or not to pump, to use formula or not to use formula, to feed in public or not to feed in public – the list is endless.
Now two weeks into my breastfeeding journey (having gained an understanding of why mamma’s refer to it as a ‘journey’ – it is very much an evolving journey!) I realise I am extremely lucky. Arlo knew exactly what to do right from the start, we have had no issues with latch or supply like I know many women do; so for that I count my blessings. I would tell my non-breastfeeding self that you can’t worry about breastfeeding until you start because you simply cant predict how it’ll go.
You hear all these stories about how beautiful breastfeeding is, making you picture yourself lovingly looking down on your perfect baby as you provide all the nourishment they need almost as if you’re both in a little mamma-baby bubble. Now let me reassure you, these moments definitely exist and they are as wonderful as they sound; BUT it’s almost certainly not always like that. Such as when your baby is screaming and your firing milk up their nose with the right boob while simultaneously soaking their clothes with the let down of the left boob. You very quickly learn to find a big wet patch on the bed or on your top and have the response of ‘eh its probably just boob milk’. This is where I would very firmly tell my non-breastfeeding self that breastfeeding is messy, and that’s okay.
Breastfeeding in public is a very controversial topic, some mothers pump and only bottle feed in public, others find the most private place possible and some will feed almost anywhere. All of which are completely valid and more than acceptable in my opinion. Personally, I’m usually happy to feed anywhere; we’re currently on day 15 and I’ve fed Arlo in Cafes, in the pharmacy and on a train. I’ve yet to receive any backlash from members of the public thankfully, although I’m sure that day will come so I’m mentally noting any witty come backs I can think of.
I’m aware that so far I’ve made breastfeeding sound relatively magical, but me and Arlo have (and are currently having) our own trials and tribulations. Night feeds. Need I say much more. Here’s where I fall down, and am currently trying to figure out how to master them – so I think that’s a post for a bit further down the line. (Here I would most definitely tell my non-breastfeeding self that sleep is precious, enjoy it while you can)
So that is where we’re at currently, but with me returning to training in a few weeks me and kieran are considering introducing some formula and taking a mixed feeding approach for more flexibility. Something which I am very excited about and can’t wait to share. (I am so excited to get back to powerlifting and regular training!)
Oh boy where do i even begin…trying to remember what happened on which day may be easier said than done. Never before have i existed in what feels like such a wonderful timeless bubble; full of sleepy snuggles, silent night feeds and an overwhelming feeling of love between the three of us. Birth is such an intense, fast experience that it stands in stark contrast to the gentle, slow first weeks of motherhood.
Arlo has taken to breastfeeding so well, and sleeps like a dream 75% of the time. He seems to be such a calm baby so far (fully prepared for that to change at any second, so we are enjoying the peaceful moments while they last) Although he is only now getting used to nappy changes…the first week did consist of him screaming the house down the second his tiny body touched the changing mat.
We first took Arlo out on day 5, but only on a short trip to Costa in an attempt to settle our cabin fever. Below are some pictures from his second outing (day 7) where we showed him the sea for the first time! We also accomplished our first public nappy change and feed, safe to say we went home feeling like very proud parents.
The transition from a couple to a family of three has felt like the most natural and easy thing, me and Kieran are stronger than we have ever been as a couple and are enjoying every single second of parenthood. Even when Arlo wees all over us mid nappy change (which is most amusing for the person watching). The key is to laugh when things go wrong, and stay calm enough to ride the storm.
On the 27th of January 2019 at just gone midnight
I went into labour; and at 23:58pm our son was born – narrowly making the 27th
as his birthday. Which is rather ironic considering 27.01.19 was our original
due date before we had our dating scan, and it was also the date I had guessed
our little one would be born. Mothers instinct must be real huh.
Birth is an experience that is incomparable to anything else
and finding the words to describe it is near on impossible. Processing birth
AFTER its happened is also another thing entirely; and so I’m not quite ready
to share all the details of what happened in that 24hours. For the foreseeable future
my labour story is remaining something shared only between me and Kieran.
But I can say, the moment our son was placed on my chest after 24 hours of labour, an overwhelming sense of peace encased us in a little bubble among the chaos around us. The three of us were finally together, and that was unlike anything else in the world. (You will have to excuse the bad photo quality, this was taken only an hour or two after he was born)
Arlo Tobias Woolf. We finally decided on his name after
around 7hours of having him earthside. We had two full names in mind but waited
until we had met him to chose one. We still don’t know where we found the name
Arlo, but its one of the first names we both instantly loved (in the early
weeks when we spent hours reading off endless lists of baby names there weren’t
many either of us liked – typical). Arlo is also an anagram of my sisters name
(Orla) which we rather liked the sentiment of.
As I write this I am deep in the first week of motherhood,
which is beautiful and messy all rolled into one. But more details on that to