As my Son’s first birthday quickly approaches I’ve been thinking about the journey we’ve been on together over the last year.
Compared to some, our breastfeeding journey has been relatively straightforward, though that’s not to say it hasn’t had its challenges. I wanted to share what I’d learned, and hopefully some words of wisdom for all the expectant and new breastfeeding mamas out there.
1. Practice doesn’t always make perfect
You’d think the longer you feed, the easier it gets, but this isn’t necessarily true. In some ways, it does get easier, but there are always new challenges, babies tend to throw curveballs!
Teething has been the biggest challenge for us. Rex got his first tooth at about 5 months old, and since then he has become a little land shark. Each time his sharp little teeth take a bite out of my boob I feel like giving up, but we are still going strong. It hurts (A LOT) but seems to come in phases which does make it a bit more manageable.
2. Breastfeeding to sleep is normal
If you asked me a year ago how I’d spend my evenings as a mum I’d have said that bedtime would be done by 8 and I’d be sitting in front of the TV with a cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit.
In reality, I spend most of my evenings in bed, feeding and cuddling Rex. Some nights I manage to sneak away for an hour before he wakes up, others I give into the exhaustion and go to bed myself.
I do get the odd eye roll when I tell people I feed Rex to sleep every night, but who cares, it works for us and that’s what matters.
3. Every journey is different
Some babies (mine included) are boob obsessed and even as they approach a year old will still feed like a newborn! Others are down to just morning and night feeds by 12 months.
No two breastfeeding journeys are the same, and that’s ok! Some babies (mine included) are boob obsessed and even as they approach a year old will still feed like a newborn! Others are down to just morning and night feeds by 12 months.
Don’t compare yourself to your friends, and remember not everything you see on Instagram is real!
4. Contact napping is actually great!
Before Rex was born I naively thought he’d spend hours at a time napping in his Moses basket, so that I could get on with jobs around the house. How wrong I was! I could count the number of times he napped in his Moses basket on one hand.
During the first few months of his life I felt so much pressure to get him to nap independently, every day I’d feed him to sleep before trying to transfer him and nearly every time he’d wake up and I’d be back at square one again. So, I learned to embrace the contact nap, who needs a clean house anyway?!
Contact naps are great because:
- Your baby feels safe and you can resettle them quickly by popping your boob back in their mouth if they stir
- You get to soak up hours of cuddles
- It gives you the opportunity to have a much-needed and well-deserved rest
- You can be productive! I try to use some of my time to meal plan and order my weekly shop.
- You can finally get round to watching all those Netflix shows you’ve been meaning to binge
5. Breastfeeding in public gets easier
The first time I fed Rex in public was pretty nerve-wracking. As my tiny 1-week old baby screamed for his milk, I fumbled with the buttons on my dress and tried to latch him on without showing my engorged boob to the whole cafe.
As time went on though it got easier. I was very lucky and had made some great friends through our NCT class, we’d meet up for a coffee most weeks and soon enough none of us thought anything of whipping our boobs out to satisfy our hungry babies in public.
6. It’s not forever
Whenever I’ve had a bad day I try to remember that he won’t need me like this forever. Breastfeeding is hard work, it’s physically demanding, emotionally exhausting and keeps you up half the night. But it’s also the most amazing way to connect with your baby and gives you a great excuse (not that you need one) to eat those extra biscuits!
Thank you to my beautiful, boob-obsessed boy for a wonderful year!
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