During pregnancy, it can be so exciting thinking about the wonderful breastfeeding experience you have ahead for you and your new baby.
So encouraged by the benefits and bonding experience that breastfeeding offers, we are often not informed of the strain and exhaustion that also comes with breastfeeding a baby.
While nothing can replace a mothers milk, it is important for moms to know what to expect before embarking on their own breastfeeding journey. Not being prepared can mean that the frustrations and exhaustion may win and the breastfeeding journey may end too soon.
The positives far outweigh the negatives, but it is important to know what you are going to be facing and how to adjust to these new changes.
One of the biggest adjustments moms need to make is during the first 2 months. Your new baby will be going through what some call the fourth trimester.
During this time, your baby will want to be near you and your breasts 24/7. This is where her world is, her food, her comfort and her warmth. She is close to your heart, which reminds her of being in the womb.
Moms really battle with not having any time to themselves, or any hands free during this period. Just remember that this phase does pass, and when it does, you may find yourself looking back and longing for the days when your baby needed you so much. Try and get dad, a family member or friend to help you around the house.
Waking up to go to the bathroom 5 times a night in your third trimester is nothing compared to waking up 5 times a night to feed, burp and change a newborn.
As men don’t have our glorious breasts, they obviously cannot breastfeed. This means that at every feed, and at any hour of the night, you’re up.
Some moms are lucky.
Their newborn sleeps for 5-6 hour stretches straight away. But if your baby is a bit of a night owl, the exhaustion can get to you pretty quickly. It is easy to say “sleep when your baby sleeps”, but because there is so much else to do around the house when baby does actually sleep, it is difficult.
Try your best.
Even 20 minute naps during the day will make a world of difference.
Also be positive your body will eventually adjust and your baby will start sleeping longer. Try and get your partner to help by doing the burping or changing after you feed at night. Having your baby co-sleep also helps a lot with being more comfortable, and catching up with more sleep at night.
Most moms will return to work shortly after having their baby. Many choose to continue giving their baby breast milk by pumping. Pumping can be tedious and painful. Items such as breast pump cushions from BeauGen can help ease the pain and make pumping much more bearable. If pumping is more of an enjoyable experience, you will be more likely to keep up with it.
Just remember that you are giving your baby exactly what their growing body needs.
Always remember why you chose to breastfeed, and that it is literally the best substance you can give your baby. One day you will look back and long for these days - so enjoy!