Before I had a baby I naively thought breastfeeding was easy. You have a baby, you slab them on your chest and boom- fed! HA HA HA
While I’m sure that might be the case for some lucky gals, I was not one of them off the bat. Breastfeeding was hard for me initially. I think part of the problem was that I spent so much time researching labour and birth when I was pregnant and didn’t really educate myself on breastfeeding. I didn’t really look into some of the key things that could make this journey easier and I didn’t really have any idea of all the issues that us women can face while trying to feed our babies.
When Chloe was born, my milk came in soon after. I was like “Alright, let’s do this girl!”. The first day or two felt fine as she only needed a few drops. When she started to need more though and actually wanted a feed, each breastfeeding session felt SO PAINFUL! Like I would curl my toes, hunch over and shriek out!! I didn’t know it then but it was because she wasn’t latching properly. I thought it was part of the process and let her latch incorrectly over a course of a few days which caused cuts and sores and UGH! If you are feeling extreme pain off the bat, go get some help at a breastfeeding clinic because the longer you do it incorrectly, the worse it gets!
I had someone from public health come to my house ( literally free in Ontario!) to help me with my struggles! This helped immensely. They showed me the right way to get Chloe to latch, how to fix the latch when she went on wrong and even how to integrate good posture into each feeing. Just an FYI-i you don’t live in Ontario or Canada and do not have access to the free public health service, Medela actually has a 24/7 Lactation Consult Service! Wish I knew about it before! I also used Medela Tender Care lotion and put it on every few hours to try to get them back to normal.
Besides having an amazing consultation with the breastfeeding clinic and using the lotion, I was actively pumping. The Medela Freestyle Double Electric Breast Pump did not hurt so I figured if I cannot continue breastfeeding at least I can pump lots of breastmilk for Chloe. The pump made it feel easy which made me feel relaxed. Stress and discomfort can actually hinder the hormone oxytocin, which is essential for the release of breast milk so it’s key to feel at ease. This of course is not always the case for some people if you are legitimately having supply issues but for me it definitely helped to amp up my pumping sessions.
I also used Medela’s new personalized fit flex size breast shields when pumping which made pumping comfortable and efficient. They are shaped at a 105 degree angle which creates a better fit around the breast allowing for a better flow. More bang for your buck if you will;). You basically measure your size precisely and it fits around your boob much more accurately. It has a soft and smooth rim as well which makes it easy to adjust.
Slowly but surely breastfeeding and pumping became “ME TIME”
I locked myself in the bedroom, turned on Real Housewives and spoke to no-one. Self-care comes in many forms but as a new mom time is limited so this short but sweet time was amazing. Each day I would pump about 5-7 oz’s in about 15 minutes and freeze the milk using these Breast Milk Storage Bags ( they are BPA free and I haven’t had one leak or burst)
Just like the pumping sessions were enjoyable, my breastfeeding sessions with Chloe herself also became enjoyable. During those early weeks when I was struggling I said that I would try to breastfeed for at least 3 months but here I am now at 7 months and I am not sure when I will stop. I find myself cherishing my time with her and I adore the way she looks at me or grabs me to get more. I know she will be off to college before I know it ( LOL) so savouring these tiny moments between us two is something so special.
It also comforts her when she is upset or if we are travelling and I need to feed her a bit more than normal as my painting suggests, BIPPITY BOPPITY BOOB and all is right again!
Thank you to Medela Canada for partnering with me on this post. All opinions and views are my own