1. It's not as easy as it looks
Before having my son, I always assumed that I'd be able to breastfeed and I dare say I thought it would be easy. You just get your boob out, the baby latches on and you're good to go, right? Well, unfortunately that's not always the case! I found breastfeeding quite a struggle in the very beginning. Arthur's jaundice made him really sleepy, so much so that he found it difficult to latch on and then because he wasn't feeding enough, my 'proper' milk took days (I think it was five) to come through. It was a frightening and stressful time for me. I felt like I couldn't do it and that I was failing my baby in some way.
Thankfully, once my milk came in, I was able to express it and my mum cup fed Arthur until he was awake enough to latch on properly. Ever since then he's been a fantastic feeder but this still doesn't mean it's been plain sailing. There are still days when I get latching pain or feel sore from feeding a lot! Lanolin balms and even your own breast milk are great for soothing and healing 'bad boobs' as I like to call them.
2. Your boobs get a bit jealous of each other
When you're breastfeeding, it's a good idea to make sure you've got a breast pad over your other boob because it'll get jealous and have a milky cry. Yep, your other boob is bound to leak and before you know it, you'll have a huge wet patch on your top!
3. Finding a good nursing bra is a huge mission
There are loads of nursing bras out there but I've found it such a struggle to find a comfortable one. I've tried all sorts of brands and styles but it's only recently I've come across one I love - the Emma Jane Maternity Soft Cup Seam Free Nursing Bra with Removable Padding (£16.00). I've got a review post coming up, where I'll go into more detail about it but it really does everything I want it to. I'm so pleased!
4. It makes you hungry and thirsty
Breastfeeding takes up energy and burns calories so it's important to eat well. After I'd given birth I found it so difficult to eat properly, as I was just so exhausted and I think this was partly the reason my milk didn't come through so quick - a long with Arthur being too sleepy to latch properly. I also find that breastfeeding makes me feel really thirsty and if I don't drink enough I'll get a headache. I'm trying to remember to keep my Bobble Bottle with me so I drink plenty of water whilst I feed.
5. Doing it in public isn't that scary
The first couple of times I breastfed in public, I used my breastfeeding cover as I felt really nervous but as Arthur has got older, it's started to frustrate him. A frustrated baby is not what you want when you're feeding as with their arms and legs flying everywhere, you end up more exposed than you would if you just fed without the cover on! I now tend to just use the cover up to get my boob out and latch Arthur on and then take the cover off and do you know what...NO ONE CARES. No one even looks. I find myself looking around and thinking 'why is no one looking at me?' and that's because although there's this big thing in the media at the moment about breastfeeding, most people seem indifferent to it. They don't care if you do it in public, under a cover, in a private place or even if you don't to it at all!
6. It can actually feel nice and relaxing
Although I've touched on some of the difficulties and even pain I've had with breastfeeding, this doesn't mean I don't enjoy it. I actually find it super relaxing, as feeding is a time where you can just sit, cuddle and bond with your baby. What could be better than that? Arthur pauses sometimes to look up at me and smile or giggle. It melts my heart every time.
7. It's something I'll miss doing
I'm not planning on stopping breastfeeding until Arthur is a year old and can go straight onto cow's milk but I've already been thinking about how much I'll miss it when we don't do it anymore. Sure, there's things I won't miss, like leaky boobs, latch pain and having to wear nursing bras but I'll definitely miss the closeness of it. I'll be starting to wean him in a few weeks time and for me it's both an exciting and daunting time. I'm excited for him to try foods because I can tell he's ready to now but it's also daunting because he's growing up so quickly and I'll no longer be his only food source!
8. It was the right decision for me
Even though I had some struggles in the very beginning, I honestly feel like breastfeeding was the right decision for me and it's one of the best things I've ever done. I love doing it, Arthur loves it, it has health benefits, it's free and it's convenient for me. I'm stressing the 'for me' part as I firmly believe you should do what you think is right for you and your baby. Some mothers want to breastfeed but can't. Others don't want to do it and that's perfectly fine too. At the end if the day, it's your baby, your body and your choice.
What have you learned from breastfeeding?