We are now into our seventh week of breastfeeding, which also coincides with World Breastfeeding Week, so I thought I’d share some of my experience and thoughts on it so far.
Breastfeeding is often a challenge. I’ve found it to be hard work that has quickly paid off. It’s convenient, free, has health benefits for mum and baby and it is also enjoyable! Those first few weeks are tough though. These are the things that got me through:
Lansinoh HPA Lanolin – £9.99
This stuff has, as one of my NCT pals put it, skin regenerating properties. Slather this on after every feed and in between if you like. It is an absolute lifesaver and does wonders to prevent and heal dry/cracked nipples (which you really want to avoid). Also a great cure for chapped lips!
Multi-Mam Nursing Balm £8.95
While HPA Lanolin is amazing, it is also derived from animal products so this plant based balm from Multi Mam is vegan friendly. It is a little runnier than Lansinoh’s balm which I found more soothing.
Medela Hydrogel Pads
I was lucky enough to have been given these as a sample, but I can honestly say that these saved me in the first two weeks. They are a slightly sticky/gooey gel pad that you stick onto your nipples to soothe them and prevent dryness/cracking. I popped them in the fridge and it made it even more amazing! They remain sterile for 24h, and you can run them under cold water to refresh them in between removal for feeding.
Washable Breast Pads – Boots, £5.20
While disposable breast pads are a useful thing to have in your handbag in case of emergency boob leakage, I found them immensely annoying (they ended up a scrunched up mess in my bra every time), these stay in place really well and are soft, soft, soft. And, points for reducing landfill waste. They also come with a little bag to wash them in, handy!
A Comfy Chair (POANG, IKEA £55+)
Of course this doesn’t have to be this exact chair, but do find yourself somewhere to feed comfortably. I found myself getting super uncomfortable feeding on the sofa or bed. Pregnancy and birth have left me with a bad back (not to mention stitches..!) so I found this chair on eBay and it has saved me! You can be sat feeding for up to an hour at a time so you really do need to make it as comfy as possible. Also don’t forget a glass of water, some snacks and a form of entertainment (Netflix got me through many a 3am feed).
While breastfeeding is something I’m passionate about, let me be clear: this is not a criticism of formula feeding, or those that do not breastfeed. Ultimately, you feed your baby according to your preference, your circumstances and it is an individual choice. One of the reasons I want to talk about breastfeeding though is that I still think that there is too much of a stigma attached to breastfeeding (particularly in public) that I find frustrating. It also saddens me that this may put new mums off breastfeeding in public, or even at all.
Just like anything else in life there are pro’s and cons to breastfeeding. However, it is not right that other people’s judgement of you feeding in public is a deciding factor in this day and age. In fact, what other people think of breastfeeding shouldn’t come into it at all. And from speaking with other new mums, it unfortunately can. Breastfeeding is often hard, and many new mums will be super self-conscious as it is, without feeling they may be judged by others. So top tip: if you see a mum breastfeeding her baby in public, she is no different to any other person in that room. You don’t need to stare, but you also don’t need to look away awkwardly either. You don’t need to do anything differently than normal (unless you want to be super helpful and get her a glass of water!).
What are your experiences of breastfeeding? Share in the comments below! x