One thing I wasn’t prepared for when I had my first baby was breastfeeding. I knew I wanted to breastfeed but I found it incredibly painful those first few weeks (and uncomfortable for about the first 8 weeks). I’ll let you know early on that this story ended well and breastfeeding turned out to be one of the most incredible things I have ever been fortunate enough to do.
I remember asking my midwife at a home visit, if I’d ever be able to leave the house again, because at the time I couldn’t work out how to feed without having about 20 cushions propping me up on the sofa. I found every feeding position unbearable, I was in agony during feeds but I was determined to figure it out.
Those early days were filled with countless hot showers, cabbage leaves, hot compresses and lots of tears. Seeing I was struggling, a health visitor suggested trying ‘biological feeding’ (when you lie back slightly and baby crawls up your body and latches on in a upright position). This worked wonders for me and the pain started to melt away.
What followed next was the biggest turning point for me - I started using a baby carrier. At first I was too nervous to try carrying my newborn. I was worried she was too delicate and small (she was a normal birth weight). Once I figured out my carrier, with determination, practice, patience and support (it felt overwhelming on top of everything else), the effort paid off and baby wearing began to change both of our worlds for the better and FAST.
I began to follow my instinct on a deeper level and I began to better read and learn my baby’s cues. Holding her so close to me connected us. She was telling me everything she needed and all I needed to do was tune in to that and go with her.
I put down the feeding apps, the sleep and feeding guides. I followed her. I learnt to listen and she led me - she taught me how to mother her.
Through baby wearing, I began to love breastfeeding. I'd feed her upright in the sling and I didn't need millions of cushions! I’m certain it helped to regulate my milk supply and because I'd often keep her upright in the sling afterwards, I'm sure it helped her digestion too. I felt confident and able to finally go out in public, stress free.
The main reasons I believe baby wearing helped me to breastfeed confidently in public were:
1. I could feed discreetly in the sling anywhere we went, most of the time nobody would notice at all.
2. Because I knew I could pick up her feeding cues way before her crying started. This left me with a calm and content baby and that in turn had a knock on effect of giving me confidence in my mothering ability.
3. And later with my second baby it meant I could be mobile whilst feeding, leaving me able to look after my toddler too.
With my second baby, breastfeeding went smoothly from day one ( with blocked ducts here and there). I knew and my body knew what to do. I'd feed my baby on each side as much as he and I needed. I co-slept from the beginning so night time feeding was a joy, I never needed to get out of bed, phew!
To all the mums-to-be:
Please know that not all mums struggle with breastfeeding. But don't underestimate how hard it might be either. Thankfully I got the support I needed and I figured out the struggle.
To help you figure out how to feed in your Mezaya carrier, I've put together some info below:
HOW TO FEED IN YOUR MEZAYA
MEZAYA RING SLING
The Mezaya Baby Ring Sling is discreet, private and so useful to nurse in especially whilst out and about. You simply loosen it (with one hand supporting baby and the other at the rings) and then lower baby to latch on. You can feed sitting down or standing up wearing the sling. The tail end can be used for more privacy if needed. When baby is finished bring them back up to a kissable hight and re-tighten the sling. Don’t forget to wear a button down top, stretch v-neck or breastfeeding top. (see video below).
Sit down. Remove baby out of wrap to feed (you don’t have to untie the wrap as it’s so stretchy. Simply pop them out keeping the wrap exactly as it is.) You need to wear a button down or stretchy v neck top, find a gap in the wrap and latch baby on.) It’s quite private as the wrap can be arranged to cover your boobs if you are worried about showing skin.
Thanks to our soft and stretchy fabric you can pop baby back in when you are finished feeding without having to re-tie the whole thing (but if you do need to, it’s quite easy and fast once you know how).
If you are struggling with breastfeeding, know that there is support out there. Reach out and don’t suffer in silence. Don’t think you’re inconveniencing anyone for asking for help even though you feel at your most sensitive. Do your own research and follow your instinct. Ask and ask again until you can find the right person to help you in the right way for you. It’s so worth it. The benefits are epic. You can even seek support in our private facebook group, we’re all here to help. Never feel alone.
If you have any comments of what to share your breastfeeding journey with me please share it in the comments below or in our private facebook group.