I was chatting with friends just recently about our mixed experiences of feeding.
I remember as a new mama 5-years ago that the pressure to be able to breastfeed was simply overwhelming. I also remember the pain, frustration and tears (both mine and his) when Leo couldn't latch properly.
We later found out he was tongue-tied.
And then once we'd nailed it, I became determined to carry on for as long as possible, even though in hindsight I should have introduced a bottle far earlier.
It's the hardest thing to get feeding established, and I personally feel there is far too much pressure on new mummies in this department. Some women simply choose not to feed whilst others really want to, but aren't able. Whichever camp you're in, please know that so long as your baby is being fed and is thriving, then you're doing a brilliant job!
I thought I'd share some of the things that made my experience of feeding a little less stressful and a little more manageable.
1. A GOOD BREAST PUMP
No two ways about it, you'll need a decent breast pump whether you're trying to get your supply up or trying to relieve pain in the early hours if your baby has slept longer than expected (and who wants to wake a sleeping baby?!)
2. NUK NIPPLE SHIELDS
A good friend recommended these to me after visiting a breastfeeding specialist on Harley Street because Leo wasn't latching. It was simply amazing - he took to them immediately and I was suddenly able to feed. I tried lots of shields beforehand but these are far softer and much more familiar for baby.
An absolute godsend for cracked or chapped nips.
4. GIANT MUSLINS
Leo was a very sicky baby for the first few months and would bring up quite a lot of milk after every feed. The health professionals assured me that this was because his muscular valve at the end of the food pipe, which keeps food in the stomach, was still developing. However, it did mean that alongside nipple shields, I also had to take a large supply of muslins with me every where I went. Ones like these organic cotton ones from Molly & Moo are perfect because they're huge and so versatile as well.
A must for windy babies. I always thing that it's funny that for millions of babies, the orange flavour of Infacol must be their first taste of something other than milk! Leo certainly used to love it and would get really excited that a feed was on the way.
Definitely a requirement for nesting in those first few months, alongside the obligatory subscription to Amazon Prime or Netflix to be able to stream box sets.
No words needed, other than to say it's exhausting and you need to keep your strength up. Pair with number 6.
8. NUK FIRST CHOICE BOTTLES
I wasn't able to introduce a bottle until 8 months, but not for want of trying! Truthfully, I found it very tough that Leo was so dependant on only me for feeding. I wish I'd have introduced a bottle in the first 3 weeks so that we didn't have the problem later down the line, and so that Tim could help me out with his feeds. But hindsight is a beautiful thing! I didn't use these bottles personally, but I was recommended them by a midwife friend just recently to help my neighbour who's 4-month old was refusing a bottle and getting very worked up - I think they must be pretty special because he took to them immediately with no fuss whatsoever.