Feeling: Accomplished and wistful
So today, I really just want to take my time to remember my breastfeeding journey.
I should have actually done this quite a while back when I hit the 6 month mark, but I’m just too taken with enjoying my baby that it never occurred to me that I needed to remember the journey that has taken us to this point.
I mean, to me, it was never a question that I would feed my child with mother’s milk for as long as I could. The initial 1 year milestone seemed far to go and the whole journey was always about that present moment – getting past the trials and problems of that time and then worrying about continuing only when we got to that particular bump in the road.
I was and am not very proud of my breasts either.
I’ve always been a rather large-chested girl, and heck, even saying that makes me feel self-conscious.
Friends teased and taunted me, who knows whether out of jealousy or pure girlish bitchiness, about the size of my breasts and I never felt very comfortable about searching for bras in the right size. And I can’t imagine the problems I must have set up for myself wearing sizes too small for myself in my youth
Past puberty and when everybody has finished growing into their bodies, I’m still one of the bigger girls so it saddens me to think about the time when for the sake of not being seen as a freak amongst friends, I refused to admit that I needed a bigger cup size.
Now that I’m post partum, I don’t even want to think about how big my breasts are anymore. It’s not a secret that the breasts change a LOT after pregnancy, not just expanding but sagging too. And where there’s more chest, there’s more droop
Let me tell you that when you have friends that constantly complain about how their boobs used to be so small and perky and they wished that they never had to deal with a bigger boob size, there’s not must reassurance there about my confidence in my body shape there either.
And let’s just say that there’s a LOT of eye-rolling too..
But now with breastfeeding, I’m glad for the “distraction” which is that I don’t really have to worry about the boobs per se anymore.
What’s more important is feeding the child.
And then of course feeding the baby with boobs is a whole different problem altogether.
Tons of people call the act obscene even if barely an inch of skin is exposed. Of course exposing yourself in public is a no-no, but breastfeeding your child should never be looked at with disdain.
It’s supposed to be something so natural and normal that mummies everywhere can’t feel anything but love and bonding and all the good feels for doing it!
Having some old man oogle and stare or some other ladies snarling and criticizing a mum’s need to feed their baby in public is such a huge dampener in like what needs to be normalised! Breastfeeding mummies are NOT spectacles to be watched and neither should they be put down for only trying to make sure that their babies are well fed.
Gawd, this reminds me of all the times that I’ve heard of or have been told myself to pump in a toilet or to feed a baby in the toilet.
How horribly unhygienic.
This ad says it all.
But yeah, to begin with, breastfeeding is not an easy journey. And nobody has a clue about what to do until they’ve had a child themselves.
For me, everything was trial and error despite having read up about it and having had lactation consultants coming by and us having had to go visit them countless times to ensure that I got my technique right.
Hell, the baby has to learn how to latch onto mum’s boob too, so there are real heart breaking moments where it seems like nothing is happening. No matter how you contort your arms and your body and squeeze and press and shape your flesh, you can’t get the baby to take your nipple in his mouth.
There are no words for how depressed and like a failure you feel.
If there is anything in the world that destroys your soul, it’s knowing that you don’t know what to do and you can’t do anything to stop the crying and screaming of your baby. Or worse still, that the baby is rejecting your every effort.
And I’m pretty sure that I’m not going too far as to say that failure to breastfeed can probably be one of the biggest causes of postnatal depression!
Even for what seems like a relatively smooth journey for me after that initial warm-up, I myself have had moments where I just wanted to give up. And I can really understand where mummies come from where they just stop breastfeeding and relent to feeding their babies formula if it would just stop their heart aching every time they tried and failed.
There are so many reasons why a mummy would give up breastfeeding it’s not funny.
- low supply – baby goes hungry often
- high supply – mum gets blockages which lead to swelling, fever and a helluva lot of pain
- Hell, you can get blocked ducts even if you don’t have a high supply
- Further development of blockages (if they aren’t cleared in time) leads to mastitis and infections.
- A sleepy baby who doesn’t want to wake up to drink can also add to the problems of too much milk in the boob
- lack of support from the family – your milk where got good enough, formula is better, why waste time
- lack of support in public – above-mentioned staring and ogling and criticizing and dirty looks.
- weird shaped nipples – baby can’t latch onto the boob
- baby’s palate and mouth shape – causing problems for latching
- Yeast infections from having too much sugar in your milk
- And of course, the end result of almost all these issues is PAIN. Lots and lots of PAIN.
Add all of this to learning how to hold the baby and manuever the baby to your breast so that you AND baby are comfortable, and adjusting to the new weight of precious, precious cargo in your arms….
ALSO, having to do all of that in PUBLIC, under a nursing cover, and dealing with layers of clothing….
It’s a wonder that breastfeeding mummies venture out at all!
So if a mummy has gone through all those issues and has persevered long enough just to make sure that her baby gets the best nutrients and nourishment from her milk, then I say that she’s done enough to warrant that she doesn’t get harassed while feeding in public!
For myself, I’ve decided that I’m going to be commemorating everything with a breastfeeding photo shoot and some breastmilk jewellery – some little trinkets and beautifully documented memories of my special time with my bub.
I just got some of my beautiful pictures today and I’m so ecstatic about how they’ve turned out! And I really recommend that other mamas that are persevering in their breastfeeding journey take the time to congratulate yourself for how far along you’ve come.
Whether you tried breastfeeding for a month, or 2, or 6 or a year, or more. And if you aren’t or you still are breastfeeding. You deserve a MEDAL!
Just a sneak peak of one or two of my pictures here to perhaps tease you into giving yourself a sort of commemorative medal too 🙂
I’ll update again when my breastmilk jewellery are in!
**UPDATED PICTURES :D**
Isn’t that the most lovely bracelet you’ve ever seen!! 😀
It’s the pictures like this that capture the exact feeling of what it is like to breastfeed. That serene moment that you and your baby are so close together… Almost as close as you were when he was inside you and now again entwined in moment of peace and one-ness….
There just aren’t words to describe what it’s like…
So I’d just like to say that I have really cherished and still do cherish this journey of breastfeeding with my baby and I’m even more encouraged to keep persevering with feeding him for as long as he likes.
I know that there will come a day when he will decide on his own that he will stop feeding off mummy’s milk but until then, every day with him by my breast is a special moment in time that I will never forget.
And I’ll have pictures to prove it 🙂
Breast is Best,