As it is ‘ World Breastfeeding Week’ I decided to write about what has been a mostly positive experience for me and ‘Little P’.
She is now almost two years old and isn’t showing any signs of giving up yet! So, if you are considering breastfeeding or if you are just starting out on the adventure (!) then I hope this will make you smile and give you some, much needed, encouragement.
Since pregnancy I seem to have lost large parts of my memory – mostly the part to remember “stuff when leaving the house”, located in the *hippocampus part of the brain. Anyway every time we go out now Iinevitably forget something important – my wallet, my coat, changing bag (I once had to fashion an emergency nappy from a roll of kitchen paper I found in the boot of the car), Little P’s coat, my mobile phone, sunglasses etc. Thankfully, I haven’t left the poor child behind. (yet!). At least (what was) her main source of food is attached to my body so that’s never affected by memory problems.
*may not actually be located in the hippocampus part of the brain.
I am a bit of a cheapskate. I love a good bargain, I love special offers – two for the price of one, BOGOF, buy three get one half price even if you don’t need them etc. So, free baby food for the first six months was a no brainer for me. FREE! yes, I said FREE! The child cost practically nothing in baby food for six months, but now she’s weaned she’ll have to start earning her keep pretty soon.
A Quiet Life
There is nothing in life that breastfeeding cannot put right. War, natural disasters, pestilence, economic downturn. Or in baby terms – tantrums, teething, bumps, fall downs and dropping all your raisins down the side of the sofa. Whatever upsets her, even if she’s having a full blown meltdown, as soon as she sits in my lap for a feed, she calms down instantly. No need for soothers or blankies or favourite toys, just a quick breastfeed and she’s back to herself in no time.
I really don’t want this to sound like a bad HSE Breastfeeding pamphlet, but when you’re breastfeeding it’s impossible to ignore the ‘special relationship’. (no not the one between America and the UK, although I’m sure that’s also very special). There’s something pretty great about being able to provide your baby with all they need from your own body. It’s a primal experience, and in our modern world there aren’t many of those left to cherish. I have great memories of just holding ‘Little P’, staring at her, and sniffing her little head (odd? – I know!) while while she sucked away happily when she was a tiny thing. That’s when the special relationship forms.😉. When I feed her nowadays it can be a lot of fun, which leads nicely to my last point.
Since she’s started talking and developing her own personality, every day comes with its own surprises! Breastfeeding your toddler can be a real comedy experience. She has her own name for the experience – she calls it her ‘Mamas’, and she even talks to them, saying ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ to each boob as she starts and ends. She points them out on animals (that’s ok) and on other people, which unfortunately can be slightly embarrassing at times. She now brings her toys over for some ‘ Mamas’ and she tells me my nipples are ‘too cold’ when I have been swimming! For her latest trick she can now read a book whilst feeding – a multi tasking pro just like her Mum who can now simultaneously blog and breastfeed!
On a more serious note the best breastfeeding article I’ve read this week was by Lizzy Davis in The Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/aug/01/pregnant-women-breastfeeding-tough-british-attitudes
Her article is about being honest with women about the difficulties of breastfeeding. Although I have been breastfeeding for two years it certainly hasn’t been without difficulty. It took hours to even get ‘Little P’ to take a nipple at all, then it took a couple of weeks for us both to feel comfortable. I experienced plenty of pain initially, engorged and uncomfortable breasts, feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. Breastfeeding takes up a lot of time particularly with a newborn and that can also come as a huge shock to many first time Mums. But, I was expecting all of it. I had watched and listened over the years as my female relatives and friends all struggled with the same issues in the early days and they spoke about them. So I knew that I wasn’t failing, I just had to get through the difficulties and come out the other side. Breastfeeding may be natural but that doesn’t mean its going to be easy, after all childbirth itself isn’t exactly a walk in the park! But women sharing their honest experiences prove far more valuable to new mums than official looking pamphlets quoting statistics.