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!)