During my pregnancy with Romeo I always knew I wanted to breastfeed. Luckily I found it really easy with Rocco and I really enjoyed it, so I most definitely wanted to give it a go again second time around. The thought of committing to the time and patience involved in breastfeeding as well as having an active toddler was daunting and I often wondered, will I be able to manage?
As soon as Romeo was born he latched on straight away. His first feed was a good 45 minutes long, while we had skin to skin contact. It was such a loving memorable experience, but I knew soon enough, those night shifts would be a little testing in his first few weeks.
Romeo is just over 3 weeks old now, and I must say breastfeeding has it pro’s and con’s. I love the fact that I am giving my baby everything he needs in terms of nourishment and helping him grow. Babies lose weight within their first week of being born due to their digestive system starting to slowly kick in, but by week 2, Romeo had put back on the 5oz he lost, so my midwife was super happy with his progress and encouraged me to keep going with the breastfeeding. The bond and the alone time we share during this time is one of the best parts of being a mum that I love and cherish. I get to watch him fall into a milk-drunken state of mind, stroke him, cuddle him, kiss him, and stare at his perfect little face…in silence, just him and I. Its priceless.
During the day Romeo and I have our alone time. Rocco is in childcare full time and the Paul is at work, so feeding times are pretty much on demand at the moment, as and when he is hungry. Breastfeeding in public is something that didn’t settle well with me the first time around. But I knew if I was going to persist this time, I had to brave it! I always feed Romeo before we leave the house and always allow a half an hour slot to feed and change so he clean and fed before we set off anywhere. He usually sleeps for 2-3 hours per half an hour feed so I know I have that amount of time to do what I need to do. If the hunger cries start whilst I’m out, I usually feed him in the car, but I have on the odd occasion had to feed him in a restaurant or cafe which, which hasn’t been too daunting.
I have recently bought some new nursing bras from M&S which have a fabric strip across the top on your bust, so when you un-clip the bra to feed, and baby is latched on, your bust is covered up by the fabric and babies head. Throw a blanket over him and he just looks likes he is cuddled up fast asleep!
One thing that was entirely new to me was the stomach cramps you get when breast feeding. Its more common and unfortunately more painful in second pregnancies, as I never experienced this with my first. My cramps were so bad, I had to seek advise from my midwife. Breastfeeding helps contract your uterus back to its original size. My midwife was shocked at how quickly mine had gone down in 2 weeks, so thank you Romeo for getting mummy’s kangeroo back to normal in rapid time!
The nights have been tough, as its impossible to measure how much milk Romeo is drinking. Breast milk is also a lot thinner than formula so babies don’t stay as full for long. For some reason he seems to cluster feed in the night, and sometimes only feeds for 10-15 minutes, which means he’s back up again in 90 minutes to 2 hours for another feed. At this stage its not so easy to get him into a routine, but I am trying not to feed him every time he’s awake sticking to every 2 hours and cuddles in between, so when he is offered milk he will feed for longer. At the moment I am surviving on 5 hours of broken sleep a night, but I am optimistic it will get easier and will keep persisting with it.
Sometimes I wake up at 12am…1.30am…3am…5am…to feed the little gannet, but when I am greeted with a cheeky little face and a, ‘hello mummy, I am awake’ expression, I melt inside, cant wait to pick him up and cuddle him. My tiredness turns very quickly to contentment and the night shift begins. Drinking 2 litres of water a day is my new vice. Breastfeeding takes up so much of your water content to produce milk, its vital to keep hydrated. I always keep a bottle by my bed too keep me going through the night, and try not to drink too much caffine during the day.
People always advise to sleep during the day when baby sleeps to catch up with your body. I find this near impossible, as there is always cleaning, shopping, cooking and looking after Paul and Rocco that takes presidence. I have found that I actually need very little sleep to get through the day, but a cheeky little one hour nap is always a winner, stops me from going delirious and then its full steam ahead!
Breastfeeding isnt for every one, some mums find it painful, some babies dont ever get the hang of latching on. Its whatever works best for both mum, baby and your lifestyle. I have found breastfeeding a joy, but after another 3 months, I want my body back and have an array of beauty treatments, diet and exercise regimes that I’ve had to put on hold for now, to help me with my Mummy Makeover Takeover in January 2017.
NB This blog was written whilst feeding Romeo in one arm, typing with the other, Rocco smothering him with kisses in between watching Peppa Pig and stripping of down to his nappy to dance to the adverts. All hail the multitasking mums out there! #machinemums!