I know how hard breastfeeding can be. So I feel very lucky to have had pain free feeds with a baby who latches well, eats quickly & gains weight. But it’s still bloody hard work.
There are some moments when I can't wait to hold my baby & get him fed. There are others when he’s over-tired or not settling that are totally draining.
And with big boobs (I’m currently 34GG) there’s a lot of paraphernalia that comes with feeding. I gather pillows around me to feel supported. I give him someone so I can unclip my bra (still can’t do it single-handedly), haul my heavy boob out, take him back (with the loose boob flapping - you can imagine what this looks like in a public place!) & get him latched using one hand to support his head, the other to make sure he doesn’t suffocate on the breast. It’s not easy or glamorous. My posture suffers from the weight & if I don’t have everything I need within an arm’s reach (phone, water, TV remote) I feel trapped.
I’ve understood that "responsive" feeding still involves some manipulation on my part. And I've quickly learnt how to wipe my own arse with a baby sucking my boob. That’s some serious skill.
Anyone who’s about to embark on their journey, my advice is to clue yourself up on feeding, decide the best choice for you & know where to find support. I’m not pushing “breast is best”. But I do want you to know enough about BF-ing to make your own informed choice & stand your ground when things get tough & people tell you otherwise.
At the hospital I gave birth at I stayed on the postnatal ward for two nights. Both nights my baby cried constantly unless his was being held. The midwives kept telling me that it’s because he’s hungry and that I wasn’t producing enough milk for him. They suggested that I pump and to top up with formula. Because I had done my homework, I knew that wasn’t right (and I do appreciate that in some circumstances it is necessary to do both those things, but it wasn’t in mine). And even though I knew not to listen to them, I know so many women who would have followed that advice & changed their feeding course. It’s no wonder BF-ing rates in this country are so low.
Like with everything, there’s so much conflicting advice which only adds to the stress of it. But I've found support from the following businesses and individuals, and hope you can too:
If you’re just starting on your journey like me, I’ve been told it does get easier. Good luck & persevere!
Follow Arianna and other maternal stories @pachamama.london