It’s really incredible how I can lie down to feed him and just feel so at ease. His tiny little hand traces my side as he, fast asleep, drinks the milk I make just for him. The moments like these make every uncomfortable, distracted, exhausting feed so well worth it.
Breastfeeding has been really incredible for us. I read every article I could, listened to what practiced mother’s had to say, and spent countless hours visualizing techniques as I *tried desperately to* fall asleep. I don’t know if it would have gone poorly if I’d been slightly less committed, but it certainly made me more comfortable.
I read all the horror stories, too. The ‘I couldn’t breastfeed because…’ stories. I read about all of the things that could go wrong and all of the ways that you could counteract them. I wouldn’t recommend this approach to everyone – it would be easy to walk away from breastfeeding altogether if you knew all the issues that there could be. But in the end I encountered none of them.
After I gave birth to my beautiful baby boy, I held him while in complete awe of how perfect he was. My partner lovingly rubbed my shoulders and the love the three of us shared in that moment is indescribable. After the placenta was birthed and I’d made my way out of the pool, and probably post-shower (though to be honest that was a total blur), I took my son into my arms, gently rubbed my nipple onto his top lip so that his mouth opened and popped my nipple into his mouth. That was it. He started feeding and it was magical.
They kept telling me that I’d be able to hear him swallowing, though I’m still not sure I ever really did. They told me I’d definitely be able to feel a let down, but in amongst all of the endorphins all I could really feel was overwhelming love. Over the next few days I had moments of doubt about the quality of my latch – more because I was expecting it to be harder than it ever was.
I never once had a concern about how much milk I was making – I first noticed that I was full of colostrum at 20 weeks and I’ve had full breasts since baby took his first sip. I’ve even donated a small amount to another young baby!
I’ve never been embarrassed about feeding my baby. In the time that I’ve been breastfeeding I might go so far as to say that fewer people have seen my nipples than in any other time in my life. (Loose tops and no bra led to many a nipple slip) (Also a few drinks and a conversation about piercings always led to ‘yeah, look! Mine are pierced!’) I once sheepishly asked if it was okay if I fed my baby in a nandos, but he was three weeks old and it was my first big outing on my own. We went to the movies and I bathed in the kind words of been-there mums.
Even though our breastfeeding journey has been comparatively easy that does not mean there haven’t been times where I’ve wanted to give up. Those nights spent battling sleep deprivation and just wishing Daddy-O could take this feed. Those days where baby simply doesn’t want to sit still for very long, and sprays milk half way across the cafe (at first. Now I’m like a ninja and the moment he turns his head I’m there blocking the fountain of milk!). The times he’s bitten with such force that I’ve screamed out in pain – startling us both. But it’s well worth it.
For every moment I’ve doubted my determination I’ve been blessed with 203 other moments of pure bliss.
Plus I’ve sanitized about four bottles, ever. That’s a definite perk.