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Breastfeeding: Friend or Foe?

Everyone wants to know how you do it, when you do it, how often you do it, where you do it and how long you do it for.

It’s the focus of many detailed and in-depth discussions between friends as everyone struggles to discover – am I doing IT right?

‘IT’ is feeding. Breastfeeding, formula feeding, supplement feeding, bottle feeding, expressing and pumping; the often confusing, confronting and downright exhausting dissection of how we nourish our babies.

One of the scariest things about being a new mum is not feeling confident about caring for your baby. Because no matter how prepared you think you are – you’re never really ready. And the overload of information that hits you both before and after birth often doesn’t help.

When I was pregnant I had this vague notion that I was going to breastfeed. I read about it, I went to a workshop at the hospital and I bookmarked some websites. It never occurred to me that there was a whole art to the thing. You have the baby, whack it on the boob and all’s good. Right? Right?

When my daughter was born I fell in love with her. She fed straight away for half an hour making gorgeous little snuffling noises. Her father patted her head and she kept on feeding, my parents came in and peered and cooed and she kept right on suckling. I felt pretty good (could have been the gas?) and thought, “Hey, I’ve totally got this.”

Then came the cracked nipples, the hourly feeding, the latching issues, the midwives who each had a different technique and finally…Dr Google. I was completely overwhelmed by all the information, ideas, opinions, techniques and experts that were at my fingertips. No one ever told me that this ‘natural’ process didn’t actually come naturally.

I was trying to wrestle my nipple into the wide-open, caterwauling mouth of a red face infant, who bucked, screamed and arched while refusing to provide any suction. When she finally did accept the nipple she would suck the tip, forcing me to prise her jaws open with my pinkie finger and begin the whole process again – with an even hungrier and crankier baby.

I read so many baby books, articles, websites, blogs and comment sections. Sometimes it worked. Sometimes it didn’t. Why? I didn’t know. I’ve spent endless time on the merry-go-round of ‘maybe… maybe…maybe…’ All the speculating, wondering and questioning just made it all more stressful.

But what did help was the unending support I received from family, friends and the occasional shop assistant. I finally figured it out. If it’s right for you, then it’s right. If it’s not a problem for you, then it’s not a problem. It’s great to take on board what other people say, but ultimately you need to do what is best for you and your baby.

Breastfeeding is a wonderful experience, but it’s not always an easy experience and it may not be your choice or option. This blog will explore all the weird and wonderful aspects of breastfeeding and I encourage you to share your experiences with other members of our community.

So no matter how you do IT – you’re doing it right for you.

Share your breastfeeding challenges and successes in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this post is not a substitute for medical advice. If you are concerned about your child then contact your doctor or health professional immediately.

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