The things people don’t tell you about breastfeeding…

I’ve been lucky enough to establish breastfeeding well and haven’t had too many problems with it which I’m glad about as I really wanted to do it. However, I’m not the kind of mum that thinks breastfeeding is the only way and for the last month I’ve been giving Isabella a bottle of formula a day for when we’re out and about.

It’s not that I mind breastfeeding in public because it’s the most natural thing in the world and anyone who has a problem with it can piss off. However, sometimes when we’re in a quiet restaurant and people look over because she’s crying, I find it difficult to get her latched on whilst keeping covered. I hate the feeling of being all flustered and she’ll drink a bottle within minutes, where as otherwise I can be there for 20/30 minutes unable to do anything else. Then I feel bad for pulling her off, having no idea how much she’s actually had. It then means she’ll go a good 4 hours until her next feed, where as otherwise she’s hungry again after 2 and my nipples can’t quite take it sometimes.

I use HIPP organic combiotic first infant milk and she absolutely loves it. I gave her aptamil at first as that’s the one I’d seen on tv but I found it made her more sick and brought her out in spots on her face and nappy rash. I’ve also tasted them both and the HIPP tastes a lot nicer and less artificial than the aptamil but it just depends what different babies get on with.

As lovely as breastfeeding is for bonding and giving them the antibodies they need, it definitely takes it out of you and has made me a lot hungrier. I also now have one massive boob and one tiny one from where she clearly prefers one side. I have tried everything to try and get the milk production going again; from hours of pumping to only feeding her on the other side but nothing works. A fun game Isabella likes to play is ‘how far can I stretch my mum’s nipples until they fall off’. The answer is pretty fucking far. And it is agony. She finds it hilarious of course and since getting her bottom teeth, the games have become even funner for her and even less fun for me.

I have to be careful with the amount of spicy food and garlic I can eat as I find it can upset her stomach. The other week my brother made me a curry not realising you aren’t supposed to use a whole jar of patak’s paste. Her wind was so horrific for about 3 days after that, you needed a gas mask around her the poor little thing.

I will probably carry on for the foreseeable as now she’s starting to have more solids, she will gradually slow down her milk intake. I won’t lie though, i’m looking forward to wearing pretty underwear again instead of the frumpy, mumsy bras that require breast pads in at all times. My let down seems to be so fast that I get soaked every feed and even the whimper of some random kid when out and about gets them going. I’m also looking forward to not being so limited with the clothes I can wear. I don’t suit mumsy styles so it’s pretty much just shirts and baggy tees at the moment and even t-shirts can be tricky when lifting up not to flash my flabby belly to the world.

Let me know your breastfeeding experiences, good or bad!

Olivia xx

3 thoughts on “The things people don’t tell you about breastfeeding…

  1. Hi Olivia,
    I’ve just come across your blog & given all of your posts a read. After having a miscarriage in January, I’m now 21 weeks pregnant with my rainbow and over the moon that we’re having a little boy! I’m 20, me & my partner live together (he is the baby’s dad) and we have a little fur baby too, Teddy the jackadoodle. I just want to say that I find your posts so easy to read and I’m sure I’ll be coming back to them as a way of guidance when my little mans here. I’m already having a few issues..the main one being I just don’t know how to feed this baby 😥 I feel so guilty & I get so upset about the thought of almost not wanting to breastfeed I’m not sure why, it obviously is well known nowadays that ‘breast is best’ and it’s not that I don’t want my baby to have the best it’s just I’m nervous & well it’s not something I’m set on. If you can give any advice as a mummy I would really appreciate.

    Your little girl Isabella is beautiful & I hope to hear from you soon.

    Love Kate & Baby boy bump! Xx

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    1. Hi Kate,

      Congratulations on your pregnancy! It’s the most exciting feeling in the world isn’t it, albeit slightly terrifying! I’m so sorry to hear about your miscarriage, that must have been so hard. Choosing how to feed is a funny one. I know people who almost have a mental block about breastfeeding and know they don’t want to do it from the beginning. Then you have people who are dead set on it and go through pain to be able to breastfeed. I know people who’s milk didn’t come in and they spent hours and hours a day using a pump to get it to come in. Everyone has completely different feelings about it. My attitude was very much ‘I want to breastfeed and will try my hardest but if I don’t get on with it I won’t beat myself up over it’.

      In my experience, the first few days of breastfeeding is by far the hardest. You get nipple soreness and there isn’t any milk there to heal it (milk is antibacterial and really healing), mine went away as soon as my milk came in. You haven’t done it before so getting the positioning right with a delicate baby can be tough. It’s also tricky to get them latched on at first because they have to open their mouths up wide and get a good a good latch of the areola, not just the nipple. Isabella’s blood sugars needed to be monitored in hospital because she was so tiny, so they made sure I was feeding for at least 10 minutes every 3 hours. I can understand what you mean about feeling nervous, all my dignity went out the window as I had midwives grabbing at my boob constantly, squeezing it to get the colostrum out. It is a bit awkward but honestly it’s like riding a bike and once you get the hang of it, it’s a breeze. I went to a breastfeeding thing as part of my antenatal and I found it really useful. They show you what to do with a knitted boob (hilarious I know) and a doll. They told you how you know if they’re latched on properly, how you know they’re hungry, etc.

      It’s quite tricky when they’re newborn because they’re so sleepy, you’re having to wake them up to be fed (probably just the same with bottle feeding). I was told to get Isabella naked to wake her up (felt so cruel) and blow in her face which I hated doing. I’m not telling you all this to put you off but I don’t want you to think after the first few days ‘shit this is really hard, I don’t want to do this’ because from that point, it gets 100 times easier, I promise. I would recommend giving it a go, as the antibodies are so good for them. Even if it’s just the first few days to give them that rich, high calorie colostrum. It gives them such a good start. I didn’t know this until I was pregnant but babies don’t have immune systems for the first few months of their lives so breast milk helps to build that up. Any diseases and infections you come into contact with, your breast milk produces antibodies to stop your baby catching those specific viruses. Whenever Isabella has had a virus, it’s only ever been for a few days maximum. I don’t feel like some of the ‘breastfeeding mafia’ types explain things very well, they just jump down your throat with ‘breast is best’.

      I hope you find my advice useful. Try and give it a go but if you really can’t face it or don’t get on with it, don’t feel guilty! Bottle fed babies are just as happy and the most important thing is having a mum that’s happy, not stressed and upset. You can still have the same bond with them.

      Thank you for your lovely comments!

      Olivia xxx

      P.S. we have a furry baby too, he’s a red cockapoo called Lenny and he’s so lovely with Isabella!

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      1. Hi Olivia,

        Thank you so much for your reply. Aww Lenny sounds beautiful! That’s really helped me thank you. I will, I’ll try at least if I try and fail or it doesn’t work for either of us I know I’ve tried. I’ll be sure to let you know how I get on once he’s here 🙂 thank you so much xxx

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