On Breast Feeding

1) Every baby ( and every mother for that matter) is different. When your little one is born, he or she has to work with you to learn how to feed. For some this comes quicker than others. For Twisty it came after I stopped caring about how the midwives were attaching him to me and I let him latch on to me himself. I let him snuffle around, skin to skin until he worked it out. It was easier after that. I could never emulate what the midwives were doing when they shoved him onto me. By all means, ask for advice but if it feels weird or wrong, do what feels instinctive regardless. This is between you and your baby and no one else.

2) Before Tristan came along I had questions like: How long should he feed? how much should he be eating? How often? What I didn’t realise was that Tristan was the best person to decide that. it feels like there’s a very strong lean towards the formula feed measures. X amount every X hours. Tristan is fed on demand, for as long as he likes, when he likes. As my boobs do not come with a handy measurement reading, I don’t know how much he gets. I do know that I don’t tend to eat the same amount every meal and I expect it’s the same for Twisty. I do know that it’s enough.

Tristan would quite happily stay attached all day if he could. There are days where he needs to be close to me, nurtured by feeding. He’s not just eating. He’s getting comfort and feeling better about whatever’s bothering him. Teething, wonder weeks Etc. things change all the time. Some days he eats for 10 mins and is off distracted by the cat. Other days he can’t cope without being near me. That’s normal.

It took me too long to realise this. When he was born I was feeding for strictly 15 mins on each side on a 3 hour schedule. That’s not how we work. So it wasn’t working. The advice didn’t fit us. Instead of telling me to let him guide me (even until my milk came in), to sit/lie with him nibbling for as long as he liked. They gave me pills :/. I think we could have both benefitted from lying down, resting, bonding and eating together. I’m sure things would have been easier, faster if I’d have stopped worrying about those three questions and trusted my instincts.

How do you know if your baby’s had enough? Nappies! What goes in must come out. 8/10 soggy ones a day when he was small was about average. That and weight gain πŸ™‚ 150/170g a week. For me there has been no other way to tell. Tristan, only now at 6 months, has started to turn away from the breast when he’s full. Before now he would suckle for hours if he had the chance.

3) Breast feeding is about so much more than feeding. Next time you’re told that they are using you as a dummy, that you’re spoiling them or – my personal favourite – you’re making a rod for your own back , politely smile and ignore. For me, these comments often come from those who do not or have not breast-fed. Sometimes my son just wants a cuddle with me and my boob! He gets far more than food from there and that’s fine by me :). Handily, my body regulates how much milk I make each day so he can never have too much πŸ™‚

No rods are being made; his needs and wants change everyday. He’s not spoilt, I can choose to say ‘no’ if I need to. Plus, he’s far too little to understand how to manipulate me! As for the dummy thing. Sometimes, yes, I am being used to pacify and calm. Isn’t that my job though? He had a dummy…. He didn’t like it as much as me πŸ˜‰

Is it hard sometimes? God yes. Especially in those early months when he was very demanding. What made it harder was worrying about how to answer the three question in point 2 and being ok with sitting down for long periods of time with him without worrying about the three statements at the start of point 3.

Now I can feed whilst walking around with him. We couldn’t manage that to start with. At 6 months he’s far less demanding now anyway and we usually have a pretty good routine, led by twisty. He pretty consistently wants to sleep every two or so hours. He likes to eat to sleep πŸ™‚ then he has bunny to keep him company whilst he snoozes. That will change too, especially as I’ve now written it down πŸ˜‰

We’ve just started solids. Baby led… just like breast-feeding was (when i got confident enough to let it be). No baby rice, no puree just what ever I’m eating. He loves it πŸ™‚ [juicebox gallery_id=”1″]



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