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Today I’m sharing a guest post interview with you from Charlie over at Our Altered Life. Charlie has interviewed her friend Lauren on her breast experience.
Over to you Charlie and Lauren …..
First of all, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your little one?
I’m Lauren. I’m a 27 year old Primary School Teacher and this is Eva who is 7 months old. She’s my first baby.
And how has your first experience of Motherhood been so far?
It’s been great but I think that’s because I’ve got a really good baby! Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my moments and there’s been some challenging times but on the whole it’s been great.
Ok, so I wanted to chat with you about your experience of breast-feeding. Did you always want to do it? Did anything worry you before you tried it?
Yeah, I always wanted to give it a go. Before I had Eva I worried a lot about how people would react if they saw me breast-feeding in public and how I would feel about that.
Have you had any negative comments at all?
No, its been a really positive experience and I know that I’m really lucky to have been able to breast feed and for such a long time when some Mums struggle.
Once Eva arrived I worried because it took a week before I could feed her properly. I just expected I t would happen so it was a really stressful time for me. No-one told me it could take some time. My mum and friend just told me that it can be painful sometimes but I passed that one off and thought “how painful can it be?”
And now you know?
Yeah, it does hurt – a lot! *laughing*
What would you say have been the benefits and challenges of breast-feeding?
I would say the benefits are that its convenient (no sterilising or warming anything up!), cheap and once you’re over the hard bit it’s really easy.
What would you say the hard bits were?
Getting her to latch on, having the confidence to feed out and about and figuring out how to work a nursing bra!
There’s just no fuss. It was easy to feed her during the night and for me, I felt it created a really lovely bond. I’m not saying that you can’t bond over a bottle but it really helped me.
And what about the challenges?
Finding the confidence to breast feed in public was a big one for me!
Just getting out there and doing it really and having supportive people around me helped. I’ve literally breast-fed everywhere now! Realising that actually most people are fine with it helped too. I always check with staff that its ok to breast feed there and if the management say its fine then I don’t worry about anyone else!
Have you ever been told that you can’t breastfeed?
No, which is a really good thing.
Any other challenges?
Loads! Haha. All the responsibility was on me to feed Eva, the night-time feeding meant that I was exhausted in the day, the initial pain, mastitis that I experienced, the stress and disheartening feelings when it was tricky in the beginning, not knowing how much food the baby is getting and this one sounds silly but wearing appropriate clothes can be a challenge sometimes. I couldn’t wear the dress I liked at a wedding as you can’t really whip your dress up to breastfeed. It’s just another thing to think about on a long list when you’re a new mum.
On paper, the challenges outweigh the benefits so why did you continue?
Because the positives are so much more significant that they massively outweigh the challenges. I’d do it again despite all the issues. 100%!
How did your partner feel about you breastfeeding?
He was pleased but frustrated that he could see me exhausted and couldn’t help. I tried to express but I wasn’t producing enough on top of Eva’s usual feeds so we agreed to make a formula feed for bedtime.
Did it make any difference?
Yes! She slept for longer periods pretty much as soon as we swapped feeds! It was good to know how much she was having at night and Alex felt included so it’s great for us all.
It’s great that you have kept that routine.
Yes, Eva has me all day and then she has her Dad for a while at night.
How long have you breastfed for and if you have stopped now what influenced your decision to stop and how did it make you feel?
Initially I thought I would do it for about 3 months but I carried on for 6 because it was just so convenient and easy by then.
I stopped once we started weaning her and my milk supply wasn’t enough for her. The timing just made sense. Plus, I wanted to get my boobs back to normal!
I was so sad to stop. The thought that the one thing that was ours was ending and she was moving on to the next phase in her life already!
What was the best piece of advice you were given?
I really don’t know as I wasn’t given any information at all before Eva was born. Something that I look with me from my pregnancy was that the baby feels what the mother feels so I really tried not to get stressed out when I struggled in the beginning although it was hard not to!
What would you say to anyone who was considering breast-feeding?
I’d say not to put pressure on yourself. It doesn’t always ‘just happen’ and for some mums it doesn’t happen at all but the most important thing is that your baby is fed and happy. It really doesn’t matter how.
I’d also say not to worry about feeding in public. You expect it to be more of a problem than it actually is.
I’d also say to be patient with yourself and the process. You might be given lots of different advice from people about things like the best position etc but find what works for you.
Oh, and the pain does go away!
What could others do to support new mothers with breast-feeding?
I think public places need to make it more obvious that they are breast feeding friendly. That would help to reassure mums straight away! I also think there needs to be a lot more information given before the birth as well. Women need to know the reality of the struggles they might experience so that they don’t beat themselves up if it is hard at first. We are all trying to do the best for our babies and we need supporting in that whether we choose to breast feed or not. More information upfront would help a lot.
Thanks for your time Lauren and Eva!
and thanks to you Charlie for the interview.
You can find Charlie over at Our Altered Life
Thanks for stopping by today, I hope you have enjoyed this post.