Breastfeeding – the real truth
One of the best things l was able to do was breastfeed my children. I loved the intimacy of feeding my babies. Breastfeeding looks so easy, but l have to say no matter how many times l did breastfeed my children over the years, the first few weeks of breastfeeding were really difficult. No-one can really prepare you for this journey, but thankfully there is lots of support available for women. The Australian Breastfeeding Association help line was vital to me in the early days, especially when I ran into trouble with attachment issues.
The first thing to get right is the attachment. It is best to have the baby as close as possible to you, at a height that will make it easy for the baby to attach to your breast. It feels strange when they first attach, but it shouldn’t feel like it is extremely excruciating when they are feeding. The first time l fed my son, it felt unusual but certainly not uncomfortable.
When your milk comes in, then the fun begins! I had a wet towel handy to keep my breasts cool as they were so full and hot. And while the Pamela Anderson look is great for your partner, it is certainly not comfortable! Cold compresses really helped those early days until the regular breastfeeding patterns established. When you are in the hospital, ask for help if your not sure, even if it is your second time breastfeeding, don’t be shy.
The first time l fed my son, I had a normal pillow. This really wasn’t enough to help support him and keep him at a good height for me. Thankfully my sister bought me a breastfeeding pillow from the Australian Breastfeeding Association which they endorse, and this made things 10 times easier. It was in the shape of a boomerang and it was nice size which made it handy for transporting.
The other thing l wasn’t prepared for was how much babies poo and vomit in the early days. Having lots of towels and wipes handy are so needed, as you go through quite a bit when the meconium is eliminated from your baby. Make sure before you feed, you have everything nearby, tissues, water, your phone.
Make sure to drink lots of water, as many women like me don’t realise how much you need to keep hydrated. I found that if I didn’t drink enough water, I was craving sweet food. And eat lots of little nutritious snacks, as breastfeeding takes up quite a few calories. Enjoy those precious moments with your baby, as l found that they go far too quickly. And whilst the challenges of breastfeeding may seem impossible at times, it is certainly worth the effort.
Australian breastfeeding Association and their helpline 1800 mum 2 mum or 1800 686 268.