World Breastfeeding Week | Rebecca | Mum to Rocky & Ruby
Tits out for the babes.
Do you know what they don’t tell you in antenatal classes? – They don’t tell you that feeding your baby with your breast could quite possibly be the hardest thing you endure throughout your whole parenting journey. They do however tell you that breastfeeding your baby is the most natural thing in the world and that it is beautiful and a time where you bond with your baby, don’t get me wrong it’s all of those things but it’s also really fucking hard and maybe if we acknowledged that right from the outset it would be a whole lot easier to support and encourage mums on their breastfeeding journey.
I keep calling it a journey because it is it’s a bloody rollercoaster of a ride and it’s a journey that is different for every single mum that travels that road, what if instead of showing us how to feed a baby by shoving a teddy bear on your breast they talk about the struggles some might have and give mums and partners tools to be able to prolong and encourage breastfeeding. I didn’t need to know that you could latch a teddy bear to a nipple I need to know that when my baby first latched he wouldn’t know what to do and I wouldn’t know what to do and that it was ok for me to feel so incredibly overwhelmed and ask for help, that being in pain wasn’t normal but it was likely and that you shouldn’t be suffering but if you are it will get better for most.
I was incredibly fortunate to be able to breast feed both my babies and it is something I don’t take for granted for one second.
I was so unprepared for breastfeeding Rocky, right from that first latch it was uncomfortable but I didn’t know what the shit was normal so I just went with it I never told my actual midwife and I only spent one night in hospital but that was one to many nights as far as trying to breastfeed goes. I was having trouble with one boob yep juts one pesky boob and I called for a nurse in the middle of the night alone, tired and over whelmed so this one nurse come in and she literally grabs my boob then Rocky’s head smooches them together and turned on her heel and walked away, she literally said not one word to me and that was that. I learnt nothing, I wasn’t given any help and there was no support to this day I kick myself that I didn’t actually complain about that women. I soldiered on, we had to watch a video of how to breastfeed, it taught me shit at that time that they made us watch it before we could leave the hospital it taught me shit. Maybe had I had some sleep or was in a better headspace but once again it was incredibly overwhelming, I didn’t say a word I didn’t tell the midwife I was struggling, I didn’t tell anyone it was very hard and very lonely.
My mum arrived a few days later Rocky was three days old and I had been exclusively breastfeeding him off one boob and one boob only, yep I put the other one on strike because it hurt so bloody much. I don’t know how it came up in convo but it did and she was all shit girl get in that shower and milk that bosom! I was like no! It hurts to much wah wah wah and I genuinely didn’t realize you couldn’t just retire one boob because you didn’t feel like using I thought all was good in the boob hood. Shit was I wrong, haha my mum put a stop to that very quickly and I am so lucky I didn’t end up with mastitis or problems using that boob in the future, turns out I had a pretty damaged nipple and I pumped for a while to let the sucker heal. My mum stayed for weeks maybe like three and she was a godsend I have raved about her before but seriously she is mum goals haha, did you know when she had her children they were told to use a wire brush to toughen up their nipples before they gave birth so they were prepared for a baby nawwing on them? I say bring that back hahaha no but seriously the breastfeeding rates were probably a lot higher then because women were prepared they were told its going to hurt so do this and it won’t, ok so a wire brush is extreme buttttt it worked.
I cried for three weeks, three very long and hard weeks and now that I know more I know that on the scale that’s not a very long time that’s a small amount of suffering in the scheme of things and mums struggle through the hard times for a lot longer than I did. But I had support and support is what we need, support is what matters literally all that matters. I had Jared who would have supported me either way, I had my family, my mum who told me this is ok this is actually pretty normal and it will get better and it did get better. For three weeks though Jared held my hand every feed, he wiped my tears, he told me to relax my toes and unclench my teeth, he sat through the breastfeeding DVD numerous times (what even is a DVD), he positioned Rocky, he held my boob, he got down to boob level to check the latch and he was a total legend I cannot thank him enough for supporting me and allowing me to lean on him to get to the other side (shit I just got all teary). We made it through and we did a good job I planned to feed him for a year but I didn’t I weaned my kid so I could get drunk at cup week in CHCH 2014 boom I said it I picked a boozer over 12 months of breastfeeding, I had a great time and he had a great time drinking that formula.
You know what they say practice makes perfect, yeah so I thought that would apply when I had Ruby I was so good at this breastfeeding gig even if I hadn’t been doing it for a while but I was wrong I was really really wrong, I still went through the same shit it was just a different day but the difference was I was prepared, I was mentally prepared and tried to be as physically prepared as possible (no I didn’t use a wire brush) but I was ready. I sat with a hot water bottle behind my back every feed, Jared was still there and Rocky was a great distraction. But you know that one step forward one step back thing? – No one tells you about the after pains and how breast feeding makes them intensify 100x basically as soon as that kid latches your uterus decides to start contracting back to its normal size, what the hell! Why? Why do they need to add that in there when it’s already hard enough? I had all the things, the hotty, the Manuka honey breast pads, the relaxed jaw (most of the time) and the cute baby but it was still hard and I still cried for three weeks every feed, I still became anxious when my baby started to cry and I knew I had to feed her, I dreaded feeding her but I also knew it was temporary I knew in a very short time we would be breezing through our feeds and life would go on.
Feeding a baby is a journey it is a beautiful journey but this journey has many different paths and whatever path you deiced to take is the right path, there is no one size fits all with feeding a baby you just need to do your best and that’s not just for your baby it’s for you as well a healthy baby and happy mum is all that matters that is what’s best.
I was so excited to write this because I believe this is how we should be celebrating World Breastfeeding week we should be sharing our journeys and encouraging in a respectful way, it is not a time to cast opinions or judgements it is saying I love breastfeeding I breastfed and I loved it so I am going to share my story and hopefully help a mum or two but at the same time I am not saying what is best because only you as a mum knows what is best.
Mum always knows best.