Breastfeeding is such a natural and wonderful thing, with physical and psychological benefits for both mother and child. I find it incredible how the female body has been created to grow and nourish a baby from just a seed in the mother’s womb, to a beautiful baby outside of the womb. Breastmilk provides all the nutrients that a baby needs in the first 6 months of life.
Yet some people view breastfeeding as something offensive, something that should be done behind closed doors. I’d like to say that this is the view taken by men, who by the way are usually more than happy to see tits hanging out when they don’t have a baby attached to them, but there are some women who feel this way too! I’ll never understand it. I’ve never ever eaten a meal in a toilet or under a table covered by a table cloth, so I don’t see why any baby should have to be fed that way. Of course, this is my personal, and you are welcome to share yours in the comments below this post.
So, what are we not told about this wonderful, natural thing called breastfeeding?
Breasts are not used to being suctioned and sucked this way, so it is painful. I was not expecting this! Some feeding positions can cause more pain than others, and you can also experience pain when a baby is not latching on properly.
There are some breast issues that may affect a mother’s ability to breastfeed e.g. breast surgery (including biopsies), breast augmentation, and breast reduction. Also, a very small percentage of women are not able to produce enough milk to feed their babies.
As some drugs and diseases can be passed on to a baby via breastmilk, women taking some these drugs and women with HIV should not breastfeed.
Please always check with your doctor if you are unsure.
Breastfeeding is not just a matter of sticking your breast into a baby’s mouth. (Which is exactly what I thought it was!) The baby should latch onto the area immediately around the nipple, not to the nipple itself, and by so doing massage the milk ducts to get the milk flowing. When a baby latches onto your nipple; you will want to punch someone! Anyone! Also, as this won’t produce any milk, so you’ll have a very frustrated baby on your hands.
The more your baby feeds, the more milk is produced and vice versa. It works like a mini factory, the more your customers want, the more you manufacture.
I started expressing when my son was two days old and I needed to go write an exam. (Very stupid in hindsight because not only did I feel sick pushing myself when my body wasn’t ready for it, but I failed the exam too!) I expressed often and my boobs were like swollen melons. Each boob was the size of my head! The milk was coming in faster than I could get rid of it and I ended up having to nurse many a blocked duct where the fat from the milk blocked the ducts.
Colostrum (the first milk) is a form of milk produced in late pregnancy and the few days after giving birth. It’s high in carbohydrates, protein and antibodies, and low in fat as newborns may find fat difficult to digest. Newborns have very small digestive systems and colostrum gives all the nutrients a baby needs in a very concentrated low-volume form.
Cracked bleeding nipples. Did you ever imagine such a thing?! This usually happens if your baby is not latching on properly, and as you can imagine, this is not comfortable.
The fat in the breast milk can cause ducts to become blocked. With ducts blocked your breasts can become overly full or engorged. They may feel hard, bumpy, tight and painful.
Mastitis is most often caused when milk builds up in your breast because it’s being made faster than it’s being removed. It often results in sore breasts and flu-like symptoms and can leave you in bed for a few days. Read more here.
These are an absolute God send! When God created cabbage, he must have had women in mind. I don’t know what is in cabbage (round green cabbage) leaves that helps so much but these were incredible in relieving my engorged breasts. And…the curvy leaves cup the breasts and fit in a bra just perfectly. Just keep the cabbage leaves in the fridge and put in your bra when needed. It’s like having an ice-cold drink on a sweltering hot day.
This study may be of interest.
It’s common for women to have different sized breasts and milk ducts and this can affect the way breast milk flows through them. Babies tend to prefer the breast with the easier flow. Be careful you don’t end up overfeeding on one breast otherwise you’ll end up with one and a half boobs!
Breastmilk leaks out when your boobs are full, or even when you’re in a shop minding your own business and you hear a baby cry. Don’t forget to wear breast pads. Tommee Tippee breast pads were awesome for me. They were very absorbent and didn’t stick to my already tender nipples. I did try cheaper options but getting them off felt like taking a plaster/band aid off.
If your boobs have jumped up a few cup sizes, enjoy it while it lasts! Once you stop breastfeeding they could go from a D to an A minus!
Your breasts may or may not return to their pre-pregnancy state, and apparently this has nothing to do with karma. It’s not because you laughed at your aunty’s saggy boobs but more to do with genetics and age. Still. I wouldn’t laugh if I were you.
If you’re on Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) you’ll probably have considered selling some breastmilk to help pay your bills. Believe me, you won’t get much for it, and you may get a pervert addicted to your milk. You can however, donate your breastmilk to some hospitals who will distribute it to premature babies and those whose mothers are unable to feed but what their babies breastfed. There is a time limit to this and your baby may need to be 6 months or younger as the composition of nutrients in breastmilk changes with the age of your baby.
If you are finding the pain unbearable and feel like giving up, don’t despair, there is help out there. If you live in the UK speak to your midwife. Some NHS trusts run breastfeeding clinics where you can get help. I thought I’d suffer on for 6 weeks and then stop, but I was referred to a breast clinic at my local NHS hospital and I found it very helpful! They taught me different technics and positions (we’re still on breastfeeding here ladies) and it made a huge difference. I breastfed my son until I was advised by all my family and friends that he was too big to be fed. He was two years old.
For further help and support with breastfeeding in the UK, please click here.
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