Horror Stories I heard about breastfeeding:
From the moment I found out I was expecting I knew I wanted to breastfeed, I did some research and read a lot of breastfeeding horror stories. I remember reading that breastfeeding was hard, so a friend advised me to take formula with me to the hospital however when I told my midwife this she informed me it would be best not to as it would tempt me to give up on breastfeeding if I got too tired or if little one was having a hard time. Although my mind was set on breastfeeding I was told by people not to worry if I couldn’t and not to feel like a failure if for whatever reason I couldn’t.
The other worry I had from stories I’d heard and read was about feeding in public. You hear horrible things about new mothers being turned away from establishments such as coffee shops or stores for feeding in public, getting negative comments such as telling them to go feed in private, to cover up or people just being rude in general.
Due to complications (baby was breach) we planned a c-section, within an hour of him being born he was latched on and feeding with no struggles which led me to feel relieved due to hearing that the first time can be difficult. However the next day at only 1-day old I was having some troubles as the baby was too sleepy to latch on, which is common for c-sec babies and I asked for some help from a nurse. Without using the word ‘formula’ she kept prompting and trying to coerce me into formula feeding him, but when I made it quite clear I wanted to breastfeed another nurse was called in to help teach me how to express to wake him up.
When he was born he was a rather large baby weighing 10lb 3oz but roughly 5 days after birth he lost 7% of his birth weight. By 6 weeks he gained that back plus then weighing 13lb 10oz. To help with my recovery we chose to co-sleep, we found this made breastfeeding and night feed easier on both of us because he could dream feed and it meant that I didn’t have to get up during the night.
The first time I breastfed in public I was in Primark, and of course, I was nervous. However, he was crying hysterically and wouldn’t settle with comforting because his dad was in the changing rooms I made the decision to feed where I was. A member of staff asked me if I’d like to feed somewhere more private but I told them that felt confident enough to do so where I was and I haven’t looked back since, now feeding whenever and wherever he needs it meaning on buses, in a park or whilst eating out.
Common Misconception and My Experiences
“It takes away from the fathers bonding experience”: I’ve found that this is not the case at all, breastfeeding isn’t the only way to bond with baby, there’s plenty for daddy to do, such as: playing, cuddling, sensory activities (teaching), bathing, changing and talking to.
“Breastfeeding is painful”: Although tenderness can be common especially with cluster feeding, physical pain itself isn’t. If you find that it’s painful to feed there’s usually a reason either that baby isn’t latching properly or they have lip or tongue tie, if you find it’s hurting then it’s best to talk to a lactation consultant rather than a midwife or doctor as they have more training in such matters.
“you can’t drink and breastfeed/you can’t breastfeed after drinking/ “pump and dump”: You can, in fact, drink alcohol whilst breastfeeding as very minimal amounts of it goes into the breast milk so it isn’t toxic, this makes it a waste to do the “pump and dump” method. However, if you find yourself too drunk to walk, or even look after yourself you obviously can’t feed a baby as it’s a risk. You also can’t co-sleep because it’s a SIDS risk (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
In general, I’ve found breastfeeding to be a rewarding experience and recommend other new mothers to at least try it, if you struggle there are people to talk to. I’ve never had any negative comments, never been asked to leave an establishment, in fact, I’ve found that most staff are very accommodating when they see I’m feeding. So yes I co-sleep, yes I comfort feed and use my breast as a dummy but it’s what works for us. It may not for everyone so just remember to do what you think best for baby. Don’t give up because you have a bad day, it will get better.