Welcome back to our 'Milkbar Mamas' series where we speak to women all over Australia about how breastfeeding unfolded for them because nothing #normalisesbreastfeeding more than writing, speaking and sharing all things boobin' related.
From first time mamas to exclusive pumpers, those battling over and under supply, tongue ties, mastitis and everything in between, we are SO excited to share their words and experiences with you. We hope these stories will inspire, give you some tips for your own breastfeeding experience and help those walking a similar path to feel less alone.
This time I spoke with Emily, a lovely first-time-mother who feels so thankful for the village she had supporting her through her breastfeeding and motherhood journey.
Hi Emily, tell us a little about yourself.
I’m Emily, first time mum to my beautiful 7.5 month old Elouise. We have been lucky in that our breastfeeding journey has been relatively smooth after those initial few weeks, but there were so many things I had to learn, and it doesn’t come without challenges!
How would you summarize your breastfeeding journey so far?
Our journey has been a constant learning experience. Despite reading up on breastfeeding and seeing friends and family breastfeed, I really had no idea what to expect, or what it would feel like when it came to feeding my own child.The beginning was frustrating and exhausting - Elouise had a painful latch, constantly pulled off the breast and would cry inconsolably, more so on one side - I was devastated feeling like I was failing at breastfeeding. We received support from my midwife and an IBCLC, who helped with positioning, and also took Elouise to an osteopath - after the adjustments at the osteopath she was much more content, having longer feeds and staying attached. Elouise is now a fabulous efficient feeder - I think I needed to give her time to adjust and learn, just like me!
What surprised you most about breastfeeding?
That baby needs to learn to latch and feed, just like mum!
What did you do to prepare yourself for breastfeeding?
I read some posts on Instagram and in mums groups, and bought all the things I thought I needed to have, but I really had no idea what it was going to be like until I did it.
If you were to ever breastfeed another child, would you do anything differently?Do you have a goal in mind when it comes to breastfeeding? Do you aim to get to say 12 months or 2 years, or play it by ear and wean when your daughter is ready?
I’ll continue to feed Elouise as long as it works for both of us, which is hopefully 2+ years, but I will follow her lead and do what I need to do for myself as well.
What was the most valuable source of knowledge that helped and supported you on your feeding journey so far?
I’m lucky to have an amazing group of friends who are experienced mums, as well as friends who had their first child around the same time as I had Elouise. Having them to talk to and validate how I was feeling, reassure me that the things I was experiencing were normal, and providing advice and tips was invaluable to my mental health and helping our feeding journey. The middle of the night feeding Snapchats were very comforting too - it’s nice knowing someone else is awake at an ungodly hour.
What would be your number 1 tip / words of wisdom for other breastfeeding mamas / mamas-to-be?
Buy a huge drink bottle and make sure it’s always in arms reach! Haha but seriously, build a support system of friends/professionals and ask for help. Be kind to yourself, know that you are not alone, and the hard times get better! You are the best mum your baby has ever known
Thank You, Emily!