The Passing Place
Well this little beauty turned 3 months old yesterday! Wow, where has that time gone.
It still amazes me that I grew this little man in my own body and that through breastfeeding I’m also growing him each day with my milk. Apart from the sleep deprivation and being a clueless new parent one of the things which has been the hardest for me is breastfeeding. Choosing how to feed your child is exactly that, your choice. I have friends who have chosen to formula feed, friends who have chosen to breastfeed and friends who wanted to breastfeed and have been unable to and that can be a difficult situation to make peace with too. I’m thankful every day that I’m able to feed the way I have chosen to. But my gosh it’s been hard! Whether breast or formula fed things like reflux, colic and constipation can make being a new parent even harder. If someone had told me all this when I was still pregnant, I don’t think I’d have listened.
But something which has shocked me the most (apart from breastfeeding being monumentally difficult for me to establish) is the stigma. The looks of disapproval, the lack of support, the unhelpful comments from people I know and health professionals – just what you need when trying to do the best for your baby, right? Don’t get me wrong, there’s some great support out there (once you find it), I’ve got a great network of friends and family who have been amazing and those midwives who didn’t give up on me and Noah and encouraged me are absolute heroes. Not only is it free (bonus!) well except from adapting my wardrobe to be feeding friendly and my 3am dark chocolate addiction, but it comes with a plethora of health benefits for me and the little guy. Why did no one tell me this when I was pregnant?! You’re right, I wouldn’t have listened! The obsession over whether my unborn baby was the size of a butternut squash or a honey dew melon is basically what I lived for. However a wee bit on the health benefits here if you’re interested: https://www.nhs.uk/start4life/baby/breastfeeding/ But basically any amount of breastmilk you can give your baby is beneficial. But the longer you feed, the better the benefits! So just imagine you’ve had your baby and the midwife offers you a free pill which if you take it will help your uterus contract back faster, burn 300 calories a day, help reduce the risk of you getting breast or ovarian cancer – yes please! It also protects against SIDS which as a new Mum you spend half your time checking your baby is still breathing rather than getting the sleep you desperately need! It also offers a decreased risk of childhood obesity, asthma, eczema and childhood leukaemia amongst many other benefits! So if you were offered a pill after childbirth which gave you all these things you’d take it right, no hesitation! I’m not for one minute suggesting breastfeeding is as easy as taking a tablet but surely you’d be mad to turn down all those positives?! Well I think so. Can you tell I’ve been lying awake a t night, feeding and trying to find multiple reasons WHY I’m doing this. Ok yeh just a tad. Something I also found super cool was that they use breastmilk to treat burns victims because of its antibacterial and healing properties! And for those who think it’s weird, do you drink cows milk? Because that’s essentially breast milk for calves…and on paper that definitely sounds more bizarre. So this wasn’t supposed to be a rambling post about breastfeeding but what the heck, our bodies are insanely clever and I’m still wowed by it every day! Oh and get this, you step off a plane in a hot country and boom your breastmilk becomes more watery to ensure baby doesn’t get dehydrated – I mean tailor made or what! It’s like the ultimate superfood. The World Health Organisation suggests you breastfeed until the child is as least 2 years old as the benefits increase the more you feed and it’s estimated that breastfeeding alone to 6 months could save the NHS a whole loada cash too.
So however you chose to feed or end up feeding – that’s totally fine! Through the struggles of a crappy labor and a fourth degree tear (might write something on that later!) we are some how managing to muddle through this mad world of breastfeeding and I will continue to be wowed by what my body can achieve. I will also keep reading about more benefits so I can give myself a little pep talk when the nights are long and the boobs are exhausted.