1. Nobody told me that… my periods could return whilst I was still breastfeeding.
I know that breastfeeding has lots of benefits for my baby but one of the perks for mama is that your period stops. AMAZING! I’d heard of ladies going years without a visit from ‘Aunt Flo’ due to breastfeeding their babies/toddlers. Naively, I just assumed I’d be free from periods for as long as I was feeding E. Nope, at 8.5 months post-partum my monthly cycles returned! Gutted.
2. Nobody told me that… breastfeeding can be a little isolating.
0.5% of mums are still breastfeeding their babies at 12 months (in the UK) and whilst I truly am proud to be one of them, it sometimes feels quite isolating to be the only breastfeeding mum in the room. Don’t get me wrong, nobody has ever said anything negative (see point 5) but it would be nice to be able to discuss the trials and tribulations of feeding a toddler with somebody else who is also going through it.
3. Nobody told me that… some babies will only drink their milk from the source!
I thought the odd night out with my friends would still be possible whilst breastfeeding. I’d just express some milk and my husband could feed her using a bottle. Simple, no?
Except E won’t drink milk from a bottle, or a beaker, or a cup with straw, or from a silver chalice encrusted with rare diamonds. Nope. She’ll only drink her milk from the source.
I’ll be honest, and no pun intended, that kinda sucks.
I’d love to go on a night out with my friends once in a while. Or spend more one-on-one time with my eldest girl. But having a baby who requires boob on demand has made those things difficult.
4. Nobody told me that… I’d sometimes feel envious of formula feeding mamas.
Due to the combination of points 2 and 3, I do sometimes look at formula feeding mums and feel a tad envious.
14 months of…
…being the only person who is able to do night feeds (and fyi they’re still happening 3-4 times a night).
…not having a date night with my husband.
…or a evening out with friends.
…or having more than a few freakin’ hours to myself.
So yeah, for purely selfish reasons, I sometimes wish I didn’t breastfeed.
5. Nobody told me that…I don’t *need* an array of expensive breastfeeding clothes.
Breastfeeding clothes are expensive and (generally) pretty darn ugly. However, I thought without a wardrobe full of nursing clothes I’d struggle to feed my bambino in public without flashing my breasticles to all and sundry.
Not the case. Admittedly, I am a ‘t-shirt and jeans’ kinda girl so my outfit choices are relatively simple. But I’ve never had any trouble feeding my daughter whilst wearing my normal clothes. My advice? Invest your money in some good (non-wired) nursing bras as these do make feeding easier and help you to avoid getting blocked milk ducts.
6. Nobody told me that…. generally, other people are very supportive.
In the real early days I was nervous about breastfeeding in public. I’d heard so many stories about women being asked to leave shops and restaurants because they were breastfeeding (even though that’s totally bloody illegal). I’d heard tale of people, tutting and making rude remarks towards women who were simply trying to feed their baby. And I’m not saying that stuff doesn’t happen, because clearly it does, but in the 14 months I’ve been breastfeeding I’ve never experienced any negativity.
Instead I’ve found that, on the whole, people are very supportive of breastfeeding mums. I’ve had people bring me over hot drinks and glasses of water. Or help entertain my toddler whilst I wrestled with my hungry baby. I’ve had other mums (breastfeeding and formula feeding alike) cheer me on and tell me how well I’ve done.
There will always be those who disapprove of breastfeeding in public, but they are few and far between. Just remember, everybody else has got your back. :)
7. Nobody told me… not to bother with a cot!
Co-sleeping is, of course, a personal choice. But in my experience, when you’re exclusively breastfeeding, having bub in the same bed as you makes night feeds SO. MUCH. EASIER.
I mean, you don’t have to get up and go make a bottle… so why get out of bed at all?!
After several months of E’s cot gathering dust in our room, I sold it and used the money to buy a bed guard instead.
8. Nobody told me… I’d regularly ‘touch up’ my own breasts in public.
Let me tell you an easy way of spotting a breastfeeding mum in a room. She’s usually feeling up her own boobs.
Keeping track of which breast you last fed your baby from is tricky – especially if you’re feeling hazy from night feeds or busy looking after your older children. So, the easiest method to know which breast to feed from next is to give them a good ol’ squeeze. One will be soft and squidgy, the other will have rock-like characteristics. Feed from the rock-like boob.
9. Nobody told me that… I’d become a human punchbag
Breastfeeding is often portrayed as this calm and relaxing bonding time between mum and baby. And sometimes it is.
The rest of the time I’m having my hair pulled, or being slapped, punched, kicked and pinched and on the odd occasion, bitten.
All I’m saying is, it’s a good job I love you, kiddo.
10. Nobody has ever told me… how to stop.
As I mentioned earlier, we’ve reached our 14 month breastfeeding milestone. I honestly never thought we’d get this far, or even planned to breastfeed for this long.
The main reason I’m still going? I don’t know how to stop.
This was never covered in my breastfeeding classes and at the time it wasn’t something I thought to ask about.
I’ve Googled it, of course, many times. But I’ve yet to find any useful information on the best way of stopping breastfeeding. Most websites make you feel guilty for wanting to stop (useful, thanks) and others give very vague ‘advice’. “Just drop a feed each week…” If only it were that simple.
Is there anything you wish you’d been told about breastfeeding?