Thursday, August 16, 2012

The lucky breastfeeder

Apparently it was World Breastfeeding Week recently. I didn't actually learn this til the other day, and have only been breastfeeding for about three months, but what the hell, I'm going to post about it anyway. 
I'm very lucky - luckier than I realise, I suspect - to be able to report that mine is a good news story. Fingers crossed it stays that way. My little girl, Rose, and I are yet to experience a breastfeeding battle. 
It didn't happen right away for us - for the first two days of her life she was far more interested in sucking on her bottom lip than anything as mundane as a boob, so the midwives helped me express colostrum. Of which I had heaps, so she didn't go hungry. And then the third morning after she was born a genius midwife came on shift, did some kind of deft maneuvering of baby and nipple, and on she (the baby, obviously) latched. And hasn't looked back since. 
I can't stress what a blessing this was - I've heard so many stories of new mums receiving 101 different lines of advice that ultimately resulted in total confusion, and a baby still screaming for sustenance. We were so lucky to have been spared all that. 
My nipples did crack a little after about a week, but they were easily treated with some ointment a workmate had recommended I use. 
They say breastfeeding is a learned skill, and while that is certainly true, I suspect the steepest learning curve has actually been trod by my husband. Realising that my boobs now serve a more functional - and not purely fun - purpose has taken some adjustment on his behalf. And I'm not sure he'll ever be completely blasé about me getting them out in public, or when we have friends round, during feed times. 
Keeping a close eye on proceedings.
(Please focus on the cuteness of the baby and
not on the ratty maternity bra, which has clearly
seen better days.)
I did have to learn what I could and couldn't eat. Mornings of constant crying every time I had chilli, onion, capsicum or cabbage in my dinner the night before meant I bid a sad farewell to tacos, my usual capsicum-based salads and all but bland casseroles. 
I've also learned the bottle is a no-go zone as far as young Rose is concerned. Doesn't matter if it contains expressed milk or formula - it's not the breast and she won't have a bar of it. 
So far we haven't encountered any supply issues. Which is just as well as she often chucks back up at least some of my milk. Every time I mop up another puddle I wonder why I don't just squirt a few mouthfuls straight onto the floor and save us both the time. 
After three and a half months of largely problem-free feeding, it is no longer something I give a lot of thought to. We just do it, and both enjoy it. 
But I do remember one night not long after we came home from hospital. I was sitting in the quiet of the night, listening to a gentle rain falling outside, with my new baby contentedly sucking away, and I couldn't think of anywhere else I'd rather be.  

What about you? What have you learned about breastfeeding?

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