BABY STEPS WITH ÁINE: Hi Everyone, As a new mum, the decision of how to feed your baby can be a tough one. For many, the choice to breastfeed or formula feed is based on your comfort level, lifestyle, and specific medical situations.
You have probably all heard of the popular saying ‘Breast is Best’. This is something I believe in.
However, if you are reading this, and have decided to formula feed your new born, I fully support this decision too. Both methods are very nourishing and can still provide bonding experiences between parents and their new-borns.
Personally, I am an advocate of breastfeeding. I exclusively breastfed Ava for 7 months and it is something I am extremely proud of.
Breastfeeding was much tougher than I had expected and it wasn’t always my favourite part of being a new mum. There were times I wanted to give up but the health benefits alone (along with some stubbornness) were enough to convince me to make it work.
Here are some of my thoughts on the good, the bad and the ugly of breastfeeding.
- There was something empowering knowing I could provide Ava with the nutrients she needed. Breastfeeding not only provides nutrition for you baby. In addition to all the vitamins and nutrients, it contains disease-fighting substances that can protect your baby from illnesses.
- Breastfeeding burns up to 500 calories a day and helps shift your baby weight. That said, if you’re anything like me, you might just use this as an excuse to eat more.
- Financially, it was cheaper. Besides the initial essentials, breastpump, nursing bra’s etc, there were no ongoing costs.
- Breastfeeding in the long run, was convenient and made my life as a new mum a little bit easier. Breastmilk is there, as and when your baby needs it.
- There is no need for sterilising or bottle making.
- My favourite part was the bond it created between myself and Ava. This is very hard to explain to someone who hasn’t experienced it yet. But trust me, it’s a wonderful feeling.
- Confidence to breastfeed publicly was definitely the biggest obstacle for me. You get stared at, talked about and some people might even voice their disapproval. Don’t let this shatter your confidence. You are not doing anything wrong.
- With breastfeeding there is no way of measuring how much milk is being given during every feed. I often worried Ava wasn’t getting enough milk.
- If you are getting enough wet and dirty nappies your little one is probably doing well.
- For the first few weeks you too might feel like you’re constantly feeding.
- You probably will be. Breastfeeding can be tiring. Feeding on demand can mean hourly night feeds.
- It will take a while for your body to adjust to the sleep deprivation but it happens, eventually!
On reflection I was a little bit naïve about breastfeeding. I thought it was something that Ava would pick up immediately with complete success. This wasn’t the case. People always told me it would take a week or two to get my head around it. Those two weeks were unbearable at times and they continued for the first two months
- Sore, cracked nipples which made me want to cry and scream every time Ava latched on.
- Engorgement and leaking breasts were both painful and annoying. Breast pads became my new best friend.
- Night sweats in those first few weeks were not enjoyable.
- For me, expressing milk was an inconvenience. The thought of hooking myself up to a machine did not appeal to me.
- In the end I only expressed during the first two weeks.
For all of you ladies who are considering breastfeeding, do not let the ugly put you off. Know that it is a wonderful experience, and one of the best gifts you can give your baby.
The good far outweighs the bad and ugly. Yes, the first few weeks can be tough and long. You too, may want to change to formula at times. If you make this decision do not feel guilty. Be proud that you gave it a go.
But, if it is your heart’s desire, stick at it. You will succeed.
Thanks for reading,