Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Dear Me - A breastfeeding experience

A letter to myself for The Online Breastfeeding Café project which aims to target women who may feel ambivalent about breastfeeding and encourage them to share, discover and chat about breastfeeding via a supportive online forum and resource centre.

Dear Me,

The breastfeeding experience is about to start - this will a huge part of your life for the next few months.
You will carry around something more then just boobs - you will carry about your creation, your child, your babies food. You will be providing something that only women can make. 

Breastfeeding was something that my partner & I agreed we wanted to do from when we first found out I was pregnant. 
I was a little worried at first as I wasn't sure if I would be able to breastfeed as my nipple on the right hand side wasn't as developed as the left one which provided correct to my worries.
My baby girl had trouble latching onto my right hand nipple at the start but I have been persistent and it is kind of okay now - she doesn't stay on the right boob for very long as I don't think she likes that the flow is slower then the left hand side. 
When I was in hospital after her being born the midwives were helping me out with my concerns and giving me suggestions; using a nipple shield or expressing. 
I never ended up using the nipple shield and I will try to express the right but I just feel like it's useless because I never get much expressed from it so I understand why bubs will get annoyed and continuously pull herself off the nipple. 
I always still put her on the right boob but when she starts to pull herself off then I will change her over to the left where she is much more happier. 

Finding the right position to be able to breastfeed my baby took a little bit as in hospital I was doing mostly the football hold feeds as I wasn't really moving much having had a cesarean. The way that I found best suited for us was just having her lay across the front of me on a pillow and I am a little guilty of doing the lazy bed breastfeed where I lay her next to me in bed to feed.

It was very weird when I first experienced 'rock hard boobs' - my boobs would hurt, nipples would hurt even more and I would have this rock hard chest. My boobs just inflated out of no where, as the milk has come back into them and then you know its around about feed time. At times I would be hanging for bubs to want to have a feed as they hurt that much and the relief of when she feeds of them when they are rock hard is just heavenly! 

It does takes its toll on me having to be on hand to feed bubs and being on a demand feed for her. Sometimes I feel like all I do is feed bubs. Yes, I can express but I don't want to spend all my day feeding bubs then expressing, because before I know it bubs is awake and wanting to feed again. 
My little girl isn't much of  a sleeper during the day and because of that she needs more breastfeeding so she can keep up, which of course leads to me feeling like I'm constantly having to breastfeed. 

I have this little hoard over my expressed milk. I will freeze it but then never want to use it because I know that I don't like to express much and want to keep what I have expressed for emergencies. 
I wish that expressing was just a matter of having to have an empty button or a zipper on the bottom of your breast that gets all your milk out so there is no 10-20 minutes of sitting there with this sucking machines pumping and gnawing at your nipple. 
I get really upset as I only usually get between 50-100mls out each time I express and I don't really know if this is normal or not.. 

I must admit, I do struggle with breastfeeding out in public - if I'm behind the curtains in the parents room I am fine but if there isn't a room to be in then I struggle and I'll be looking like an idiot trying to hold my boob, support Niahbella and try to keep a blanket over myself so no one can see. I think the reason why I am like this is 1 - I am not confident in my body and I don't really wear breastfeeding friendly clothing so I am having to pull my whole top up to get a boob out and 2 - I just don't want to be disrespectful in front of certain people - which I mainly consider to be my elders in the family. 
When we are out most of the time I will feed Niahbella in the car if we are not in a shopping centre. I have no problem with pulling over if Niahbella gets upset and getting in the back seat to feed her, which has me keeping a pillow handy in the car just for breastfeeding. 
I feel really bad when bubs cries in the car that 9 times out of 10 I end up pulling over at the next convenient place to feed her or attend to whatever it is she needs.

Something I do miss though is going to bed without a bra on. I've read that you need to be giving your chest area a rest from being in a bra all day but obviously breastfeeding brings a different story as you are having them in a bra or some sort of support top constantly with breast pads in so you don't have a wet t-shirt contest with yourself. 
I remember that when my milk was first kicking in I wasn't wearing anything under my top and would have huge wet patches on my boob area - duh! Breast pads woman, I completely forgot about it!

I am unsure how long I will continue to breastfeed for - I have set in my mind that I will breastfeed up until bubs gets a good amount of teeth. Why? Well I am a bit scared of getting my nipples chomped on and bitten by my little darl. I guess time will tell as to how I will go. 

At the end of the day I feel rewarded to be able to provide for my baby like that. It's a bond that is great, that brings myself closer with my baby girl. Yes, it has its cons but the pros way up higher. 

The best thing to really take on is that no matter what others may tell you is the right or wrong way of doing things - there isn't right or wrong! You do what works best for you, but that really goes for everything when it comes to a baby. 

Giving my baby her first breastfeed


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