Week two of the Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt is upon us and I’m reliably informed that I’m supposed to impart some words of wisdom in the form of top tips for breastfeeding ‘to save you the trouble of finding out after the baby is born’.
Well for that to happen, it would be useful if the five weeks following giving birth to the Wee Man weren’t all a bit of a hazy blur (aside from the odd cherished memory of staring into little blue eyes, belting out various renditions of ‘the Skye Boat song’, and a phrase that keeps going round and round my head which is ‘he’s so cute, in his little beaver suit’). All very interesting, I’m sure, but fairly unrelated to breastfeeding and therefore quite unuseful in the top tips arena. (and I’d like to just clarify too that the beaver suit thing did not involve any actual beavers, suits, or outfits that make babies resemble beavers. It was in fact just a vest with a picture of a beaver on it).
Anyway, you may be wondering why this hazy blur occurred. Well, aside from the fact that we’d just gone through an amazing life changing experience, it mainly occurred because 5 days after the Wee Man arrived, we moved house.
Yes that’s right, two days after leaving hospital with a tiny demanding newborn, we packed up (well actually we’d already done most of the packing and had been living in a box world for a month or two) and relocated a few minutes down the road, thanks to an extremely inconvenient tenancy termination date.
Which meant my brain did what it often does in times of excess stress, and just blocked the whole experience out. (I’m a regression hypnotherapist’s dream waiting to happen).
So – I guess that’d probably top tip number one:
try to avoid moving house. Strictly speaking, that’s not just related to breastfeeding, but in fact dealing with a newborn in general. Moving house + newborn = not great unless absolutely necessary.
And that leads me to top tip number 2:
make a breastfeeding nest. Not literally of course. Well, unless you want to. I’ve got a quite excellent image in my head of how that might actually turn out…
But actually what I mean is, make a comfortable area where you have everything you need to breastfeed without needing to be interrupted. That means you need a nice place to sit or lie, a pillow or two to adjust your position, a giant VAT of liquid sustenance in easy reach, your entertainment option of choice (tv remote, smartphone, book, the visage of your baby feeding contentedly…) and of course the bell to summon your butler. (That last one is just a brilliant dream I had, but if you do happen to have a butler, then hoorah and good for you – and could you perhaps lend him to me if you get bored of him?).
So that’s the environmental comfort sorted…but what about physical comfort? Top tip number three:
get a decent nursing bra or three, and consider your clothing. You might be tempted – with maternity pay meaning that potential cuts to income are looming – to go for a cheap bra option that looks like it’ll probably do the job. But remember, its a piece of underwear that you’ll probably be wearing day in, day out, for weeks if not months (although I would advocate washing it at some point). So it’s worth making sure it’s well made, comfortable, and properly fitted. My favourites at the moment are Mammae and HotMilk!, both which offer great support and look a bit prettier than the usual black or white offerings. Equally, whilst you don’t NEED specialised breastfeeding clothing, there are some great options for discreet feeding out there – and with feeding in public being one of the most voiced concerns of new breastfeeding mums in my experience, it makes sense to ensure you’re happy all your post-birth wobbly bits are covered whilst still allowing easy milk access.
If your wallet is crying big salty tears at the thought then do not fear – you could just get a breastvest or two to slip under a normal top and give yourself instant feeding clothes without the need for a specialist wardrobe…genius!
So there we have it, physical comfort, environmental comfort and a nice lead in to tip number 4…
Enjoy your baby.
Yes, so what if you’ve lost your breastpads and there is a milky river making its way down your front, your little limpet wants to stay attached for several hours at a time or alternatively only wants 5 minute power feeds 8 times a day and…well…are they getting enough..? (probably, yes – if you’re demand feeding and that’s all they’re demanding), or your ‘breastfeeding nest’ is actually your entire bedroom strewn with piles of laundry in varying states of unwash and a whole host of pillows, cushions, and covers. These wonderful first days fly by so quickly and before you know it they’ll be gone, so even if you do need to take a few days to just sit with your baby and get to grips with feeding, remember that the world will keep on going while you relax and get on with it…just like part of one of my favourite poems says:
‘There will be years for cleaning and cooking
But children grow up while we’re not looking.
Dusting and scrubbing can wait ’till tomorrow
For babies grow fast we learn to our sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs and dust go to sleep
I’m feeding my baby and babies don’t keep‘
(and should you be thinking ‘pah, that’s all well and good but I’ve got a rampaging toddler to deal with, fat chance of an idyllic nurse-in going on’ then here is a special fifth top tip just for you:
make a toddler box prior to arrival number 2. No, that’s not a soundproof box you lock your toddler in (although I’m sure its potentially been contemplated by more than a few mums of two-or-more on many occasions) but rather, a box with some entertainments for your older one which require hands-free mummy interaction. For example: a new book or two, things that can stack interestingly with other things that can go inside them, flash cards, fuzzy felts…and for us a marble run was a big hit. And you can also consider making the ‘breastfeeding nest’ at floor level so you can all snuggle up together.)
So there you have it. Perhaps it wasn’t all such a hazy blur after all…
While we are speaking of winning things, if you’d like a chance to win the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Grand Prize made up of over £500 worth of brilliant stuff then just fill out the rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway