I can not believe we have actually got this far, 6 months?! I mean, I’m so amazingly proud of us, Tristan and myself, we did it. We got to 6 whole months of exclusively breastfeeding. The biggest reason I think I got this far? Not having expectations, or setting a “goal” in my mind. I mean, goals are great we should all have goals and things we want to achieve. I am certainly someone who likes to aim towards things with a certain time frame in mind, however breastfeeding is just not one of those things. Its not something that needs the extra pressure, or the niggle in the back of your mind that if you don’t make it you’ve failed, because all that leads too is an unhappy momma, who feels she didn’t try hard enough or didn’t do enough.
Breastfeeding for these 6 months has been one of the hardest things Ive probably done, but it has by far been the most rewarding and incredible experience of my life. (not of course including child birth, but that’s a whole other level of rewarding) Tristan began having a small amount of baby rice at 5 months. (something to talk about in another post.) Knowing that for all these months I have been Tristans source of nutrients, the reason he has grown, the reason he is thriving, smiling now crawling is just such a indescribable feeling of pride. Your body is doing something amazing, your keeping another human alive outside of the womb!
But lets get down too the nitty gritty details and the reason your here, how my breasts are dealing with a feeding teething tot, and if they are right when they say it does get easier…
I can tell you now, it is true. With the right guidance and support it does become easier over time, that is the most important thing here. Time, Time to adjust to someone needing you, of course when you have a baby you expect that someone is going to need you, however you don’t expect that they will only need you. You’ll also need time to let yourself heal. Not only your cracked sore nipples but your womb will be contracting… Because no one tells you about those after pains. Whether you have had a C section, assisted delivery or a natural birth, we all have to heal and recover from childbirth.
Getting past those first few weeks are the hardest part.
When you get past those first few weeks, any tenderness slowly passes from your nipples, they heal and they become “stronger” so they don’t get sore etc. Your milk production will settle. You may from time to time get slightly tender breasts, if your baby is fussing a lot at the boob, or you find your baby is feeding more often than “normal” this is probably just your babies way of upping your milk supply for a growth spurt. So don’t worry. Unless of course they become very sore or you feel unwell then seek medical attention from your health care provider.
The leaking boobs do settle, your breasts will become a little less sensitive to the cry of every other child around you and the tingling sensation you get as your milk is letting down will become less noticeable, I still get a slight sensation. However I only get it during a feed and on the rare occasion the Tristan doesn’t ask to feed at his usual time.
Routine?! Have we got one? kind of.
It’s not like bottle feeding where you can be prepared every 3/4 hours that your baby needs a feed, it’s demand feeding so when baby cries you stop what your doing and feed that baby. We do have some kind of routine, I know in the afternoons between 12-2 I will probably get very little done! Because he cluster feeds, naps for a short period then wakes for another feed. The mornings are pretty easy now that we have introduced a “breakfast” meal, and in the evenings we are introducing another meal while also trying very hard to create a bedtime routine/structure for Tristan. So anytime between 6pm till 8pm Tristan can be feeding.. — quite often on and off the breast.
One of the hardest parts for me is my partner not getting to do as much for Tristan. If he tries to settle Tristan while I’m getting sorted to feed him, then Tristan will scream blue murder until I’m ready. If Richard tries to change his nappy before he feeds again he’ll scream the house down! These are all things that I have mentioned in another post, The Isolation of breastfeeding. The title is brutally honest, but you can take a read if you want.
I will leave you with a quick note that Tristan is now 9 months and we are still breastfeeding this post was written a while ago now, but the hours in the day are never enough with three children, a house too sort and birthdays too organise! So I apologies for this post being late. I hope the post brings you the words you may have needed to hear (read) for your journey into motherhood, and your breastfeeding. If your choose too breastfeed your baby. Good luck.
Love Sara xo