My life for the past two months has consisted of various bodily fluids, but I’ll try and avoid talking about more than one per blog post.
Luna is exclusively breastfed. That’s kind of a big deal for me, as Elliot was already having bottles by now and I feel a strange shade of guilt about that.
I mean, I know I shouldn’t beat myself up about it, as I didn’t have a clue how breastfeeding worked when Elliot was born.
To be fair, I didn’t know how bottle feeding worked either. I was once found in tears at the kitchen sink, running a bottle under the hot tap wondering why it wasn’t warming through. Someone came in, flicked the kettle on and sat me down on the sofa with a warm bottle and a tea. I was so tired.
I was too scared to feed when outside, so popped a bottle in my bag whenever we went out. Which was nearly every day, because I thought I needed to be busy all the time.
Luna, however, has been born in the middle of a global pandemic, where we can’t leave the house and I truly am spending my days like a woman in a Renaissance painting – laying on the sofa with one boob out at all times, normally stuffing my face with something at the same time.
I’ve discovered a few things over the past 8 weeks of sitting at home and watching Brooklyn 99 on repeat.
Breastfeeding is boring. Invest in a backlit Kindle or download a decent game on your phone as I’ve learnt a) there is only so long you can stare at your darling baby’s face. Sorry but it’s true. and b) there is in fact a limit to the amount of Freecell one can play without losing the will to live.
It’s bloody painful. I spent a large amount of time crying in the first month or so of Luna’s life, as it was just so bloody difficult. I turned up at a children’s centre when she was four days old begging for a breastfeeding consultant to look at what I was doing wrong.
Turns out I wasn’t doing anything wrong – Luna and I just weren’t quite in sync at first.
However, with nearly everything in life – it got better. 8 weeks in Luna is gobbling the milk down like a hungry goose and the painful first few weeks genuinely do seem a lifetime away.
Snacks are essential. Yes, I know snacks are essential for most parts of life anyway but when breastfeeding, make sure you embrace that life fully. You’re basically a cow, let yourself graze. The best gift I’ve been given (definitely through this newborn bubble, possibly ever) was an M&S bag for life full of biscuits the day before I went into hospital to be induced.
One night, Luna would not settle until 3am and just wanted to feed and feed and feed and I can confirm that sitting on the sofa watching Friday Night Dinner and eating shortbread roundies is much better than sitting in bed, sobbing and hungry. Only downside is that you might wake the baby up laughing and she might get crumbs in her hair.
Don’t listen to all the advice. Honestly, I was told to feed through the pain, to not feed through the pain, to use nipple shields, to NEVER use nipple shields, to give her a bottle to let myself have a break, to avoid bottles, to give her a dummy, to avoid dummies – it’s a minefield!
Just a note, I did buy the feckin’ nipple shields and they were a complete waste of time and effort. I went through the whole rigmarole of sterilising it, getting ready for a feed, sticking it on my boob for about two seconds before flinging it across the room where it’s stayed for the last six weeks. £12.99 wasted forever.
Buy the proper equipment. Early in January, I had a scary afternoon where I thought I was going into labour. I realised that I had nothing prepared for hospital bar some sleepsuits from the Mothercare sale and some fluffy socks I’d been bought for Christmas. I rushed down to ASDA that weekend and bought all the pads for all the places.
Reader, let me tell you, do not bother with ASDA own brand breast pads. You’re worth more. They hold approximately a thimble of milk before your t-shirt is soaked and you’re destined to smell like mouldy cheese all day. My sister-in-law saved the day and brought me round some proper Lansinoh pads and I’ve bulk bought off Amazon Prime ever since. Yes, they’re pricey but definitely worth it.
And my final and most important tip: if you’re planning on breastfeeding: buy this. It’s a GAME CHANGER.