Monday 7 July 2014

Breastfeeding, what I've learnt so far

* Disclaimer this post is sponsored by Medela.

I've written before about my breastfeeding experience with Ellie.

I won't lie. The first time around we stopped breastfeeding way earlier than I wanted to. I wanted to be that mama who fed easily. I thought it was something that came naturally, that you just instinctively knew what to do. For me, that wasn't the case. We had a toe curling, painful and rocky start. There were latch issues and apparent supply issues. There was sore nipples and mastitis bouts. There was conflicting advice from midwives, lactation consultants and my GP. Lots of tears (both hers and mine). What with pumping, feeding, and a delicious recipe for vegan lactation cookies, we managed to keep at it for nine months, during which time I also returned to work and she also started day care.

Also, I won't sugar coat it. Some of my nicest early memories are of breastfeeding. Of gazing into her eyes, of smelling that sweet baby smell, of tiny hands patting me as she feeds. The utter contentment of those late nights when she and I seemed to be all alone in the world. I missed that when we stopped. So much more than I thought I would. There were more tears (from me this time). After I stopped feeding, I still had a decent supply of milk frozen that we'd finished off by the time she turned one. In spite of how she was fed, and the angst I gave to the whole process, Ellie has thrived. I'm grateful for all the help and (good) advice I received and I want to state that I support feeding your baby however works best for you.

My hand looks really old here
Having said that, I intend to give breastfeeding a red hot go with Attila. This time around, I'm better informed, more practiced and know where to go if I need help.

Recently, I attended a morning tea with Medela. I used their products the first time around with Ellie (hello, marvellous shields and swing breast pump!) and we've got a few bottles as well. This morning tea was fabulous. We talked about what is normal is breastfeeding. Please, if you take anything from this post know that there is no normal! There is no 'correct' set of rules and know that the breastfeeding relationship will change as your baby grows and has different nutritional needs. What works one week might need to be changed the next. Babies can have variable breastfeeding sessions, durations and speed as they grow.

The best advice I can give based on my experiences?
  • Go in with a positive attitude. Your baby can sense if you are stressed and that will stress them too.
  • Drink plenty of water. You aren't just hydrating you, you're using that water to make milk. Trust me, you will get very thirsty. Go with it. Also, eat. Even if you are too tired, eat.
  • A support network makes all the difference. Someone to encourage you when it hurts, cheer you on when it works and help out with answers to your many questions. You might have multiple support people, and that will help immensely. Don't be afraid to ask questions and find your own cheer squad.
Medela provides real solutions for breastfeeding mothers to get over any hurdles in the early days and to support their long term breastfeeding goals. Through its extensive range of breast pump products and other breastfeeding products, Medela is committed to promoting the benefits of breast milk and encouraging long term breastfeeding. For more information  or say hello on


1 comment:

  1. Amen to the point about water. I feel like a dehydrated camel breastfeeding a ravenous 6 week old in the middle of a dry winter.

    In addition to the things I learnt about breastfeeding. I just wanted to add that it is possible to be away from baby for a week of work, express breastmilk twice a day to store in the hotel room freezer and pack it up in a thermal bag for a 12 hour transit (by car and plane) back home and it'll still be rock hard and completely frozen when you arrive to pop it into the freezer at home.



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