1. My Body is Amazing.
It’s just created a whole new life and now it’s a walking vending machine (or a cow with udders as one of my friends likes to call it.) I was stunned by how much that dribble of golden goo (colostrum) could nourish my baby. It was like a superfood on steroids and I created it.
2. My Body Hurts.
Mastitis, engorgement, thrush… Throw a couple of cracked nipples into the ring and you’ll have the whole shebang like I did. Fortunately my mastitis was nixed quickly but my boobs still felt like they were on fire. I came to view each breastfeed as another tussle with the Torture Police. Neither of mine liked nipple shields but they tolerated the creams. This one was by far the best:
If I have one tip for new mothers it’s to start using this stuff as soon as your baby is born. It will save you a lot of distress and savoy cabbages in the long run.
3. My Body is not Magic.
Despite the witchcraft that antenatal classes tried to flog me, breastfeeding did not automatically dissolve my baby weight. Neither did entire boxes of M&S biscuits when I had a case of the breastfeeding munchies during a growth spurt. Some mums swear by the boob/weight loss thing but it did didly squat for me. After three months I went back to my Zumba classes and learnt the hard way all about the effects of childbirth on pelvic floors. I gave up and started Aqua Aerobics instead.
4. My Body is a Giant Pacifier.
When Jess was five months old we took her to France on holiday. She screamed every night for the whole two weeks. The only way I could get a two-hour stretch of sleep was to whack her on the boob. Worst holiday ever. On the flight home she finally smiled at me and that’s when I noticed the pearly white bud of her first tooth.
5. My Body is not Appreciated.
Yes, I too have been the breastfeeding mother told off in Waitrose by a grey army of grannies clutching their free coffees. I’ve also been reduced to feeding my babies in the toilets of so-called family friendly restaurant chains. Let’s tone down the oversexualisation of breasts here, people, and focus on the bigger picture i.e. using them for their original purpose and FEEDING your child.
6. My Body is Embarrassing.
But only after I rushed out the house in a pale grey silk top and forgot to change my breast pads, then sat next to a crying baby in a fancy restaurant. You get the picture. By the end of the meal I had cramp from folding my arms so tightly across my chest. Also some breast pads are more absorbent than others. I found these Mothercare ones the best:
One Final Thing…
Breastfeeding wasn’t easy for me. I struggled with the pressure of modern society’s ideals vs. my own sanity sometimes. When it was good it was fantastic, what a hoot! But when it was bad it drove me deeper and deeper into the big, black hole that is PND. I battled on for six months with Emily. With Jess I lasted five.
People like to unfairly demonise formula. My two flourished on it. There’s good and bad arguments for both but ultimately it’s YOUR choice. Not your doctor’s, your Health Visitor’s, your mum’s….
What’s good for you is what’s good for your baby.