I am so excited to say that I have now been breastfeeding Megan for almost a whole year. It feels like such an achievement, especially as we’re showing no signs of stopping any time soon. I’ve been really lucky this time around, Megan was born rooting and fed like a dream. It hasn’t always been easy though, at times it’s been tough, but I’ve learned a few tips and tricks along the way that I want to share with you.
Ask for help if you need it
Ask even if you don’t! Breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world but that doesn’t mean it always feels like it at the start. It’s a skill that you AND your baby need to learn. When Harry was first born we struggled. Really struggled. I was offered no help and left the hospital feeling like a failure with a plan to pump and top up with formula. I wasn’t offered the help I needed in the hospital and I wasn’t brave enough to keep asking for it. Once we left the hospital I looked into local peer support groups and met some wonderful women who took the time to help me. Without them I would’ve given up I’m sure. So make sure, if you need it, you ask for help. Scream, shout and make a fuss if you have to. But never feel like you can’t or shouldn’t ask.
Anyone who’s breastfed will tell you that the thirst that goes with it is ridiculous. You go from being fine one minute, to starting to feed and feeling like you’ve been walking through the desert with no water for a week the next. Keep bottles of water everywhere you may end up feeding. I had them all over the house, in our bedroom, in Megan’s bedroom, in the living room, in the baby bag. There’s nothing worse than being stuck under a feeding baby, gasping for a drink and not knowing when you’ll be able to get one. Make sure you always have one to hand.
Have a good nipple cream available before baby is even born
The first weeks are the hardest and breastfeeding can really take it’s toll on your nipples! They can become sore and cracked which can make feeding uncomfortable. Using a soothing nipple cream can really help. This one from Ardo is great as you don’t have to remove it before feeding your baby.
Breastfeeding is hard at the start. So hard. Engorgement, mastitis, CONSTANT feeding, all combined with those post birth hormones are enough to make any new mum want to give up. I wont lie. The first few weeks are tough but once you get through it breastfeeding is so much easier than the alternative. You don’t have to worry about getting bottles ready if you’re going out, you have enough milk for whatever baby needs. It also saves you a fortune! In the night when baby needs a feed, it’s so much easier to whip a boob out than make up a bottle. The list of perks is endless and once you’ve got feeding established it really is so easy.
Invest in nursing bras
They don’t have to be expensive but these make feeding so much easier and are so much more comfortable than ordinary bras while you’re breastfeeding. I have 4 that have handy clips so the front of the bra drops and there’s a panel with a hole in it underneath. They make feeding when out and about so much more discrete which, if you’re nervous about feeding in public, can really help you to relax.
Buy decent breast pads
I made the mistake while feeding Harry of using cheap supermarket own brand breast pads, resulting in some embarrassing leaking accidents. Find a brand you can trust and stick to them! These breast pads from Ardo are great and really give you peace of mind that you wont have to worry about being let down by your let down!
Feed in public early on
The sooner you get that first feed out of the way the sooner you’ll realise that it really isn’t a big deal to feed your baby in public. 99% of people either wont notice or wont care that you’re feeding your baby and if anyone does have a problem with it remember, it’s their problem not yours. The law is on your side with this one and you are allowed to feed your baby wherever you need to. Having milk on tap and not having to carry bottles around with you can give you a sense of freedom as you don’t have to plan around feeds. Make the most of that, get out there and enjoy adventuring with your baby.
Invest in a good breast pump
If you choose to express some feeds it’s really important that you have the right tools for the job. I can’t recommend the Ardo Double Calypso breast pump highly enough. You can change the cycles and suction separately to really mimic your baby’s feeding patterns and pump much more efficiently. Using a good pump was a game changer for me and made pumping so much more comfortable and efficient. Ardo have lots of videos and online support to help you with expressing if that’s the route you decide to go down. I loved the freedom expressing gave me and it definitely helped us to breast feed for longer.
One of my favourite things about breastfeeding is those special nursing cuddles. I love that it’s our special thing and there’s no pressure to ‘share’ my baby in those moments. It’s our time to bond and be together and I absolutely love it. I still get some of Meggy’s best smiles from her mid feed, while she’s playing with my hair or my necklace and having some milk. I can’t explain how much those smiles mean to me. These special moments wont last forever, make the most of every single one!
***This post has been written in paid partnership with Ardo. The opinions expressed are my own and I never work with a brand that I don’t really love!***