When I had my first child I planned on breastfeeding. It wasn’t as easy as I expected. I heard a lot of myths from many people, including health professionals, and as a somewhat naive first time parent I believed them. I stuck with it, I didn’t really enjoy it for a long time and I chalked it up to parenting being a bit of a boring, hard slog most of the time.
Second time around it was easier and harder. My second child refused any attempt at bottle feeding and after a stressful few tries I gave up trying and just fed him myself. I never, ever expected to feed him until he was four and a half and if you’d told me that when he was four weeks old I probably would have thrown something at you and told you to get out of the house.
This time it’s been easy and hard. Easy because I know what I’m doing and because I know what feeding a newborn is like. I’ve surrendered to the hours spent cluster feeding and feeling a bit annoyed that baby is hungry yet again. I know more about how my body works and how babies work. I know everything is a phase and that this stage won’t last forever.
When pregnant I looked into breast pumps and decided to take a chance on a very basic silicon one which wasn’t very expensive. Pumping didn’t work for me the first time or the second time around, but this pump has been a revelation. There’s no bits which can break and it’s very easy to use. I don’t use it every day, just when I feel a bit touched out and that a break would be nice.
I bought one baby bottle because I know better than to buy things which don’t end up being using. One glass bottle with a rubber nipple seems to be doing the job I need it to do.
There’s a lot of politics around breastfeeding. Ireland produces vast quantities of infant formula and there’s no laws on marketing infant formula for babies aged six months, hence the odious follow on milk adverts which never fail to irk me. I’ve never, ever had a bad experience breastfeeding in public, and I’ve feed my children everywhere from a church funeral to a rugby match.
I’m not quite sure what prompted me to write this today, but it’s a good day for me and baby and breastfeeding feels easy right now. I can leave the house with a minimal amount of baby stuff and food which is ready to go at any time.