My first journey didn’t start well, despite our amazing first latch. Even then, the pains and tears of our challenging beginning aren’t wasted, and my dogged determination and perseverance paid off. So, as I start another journey whilst continuing my first of almost 3 years, my breastfeeding hopes and dreams is pregnant with expectations.
My Breastfeeding Hopes
1. Straightforward breastfeeding
No multitude of folks trying to squeeze liquid gold out of me … no resulting bruised and battered breasts … no stress, confusion, fear, desperation, loss of dignity … none of these or similar, thank you.
Instead, I pray and hope that my new babe and I find our breastfeeding way without the need for intrusive interventions … that my newborn feeds well and finds it easy to transfer the needed quantity of colostrum and milk.
2. Adequately informed breastfeeding
I have learned so much about breastfeeding … a case of education attained out of desperation. And my, do I hope my breastfeeding literacy works in my favour? You bet I do. Breastfeeding ignorance is definitely not bliss.
So yes, I hope my knowledge of positioning, attachment, feeding frequency, tongue tie, skin-to-skin, newborn stomach size, and so much more, comes in handy. I hope my awareness of off and online breastfeeding resources works in my favour.
3. Right support at the right time
No unhelpful or partly accurate information from professionals, please. These kept me in hospital longer than needed and landed me in the ‘formula top up trap’ that took months and ‘sweat’ to overcome.
So, if I need any help this time, I hope I get the right one on time; not well over a month later, costing me precious enjoyment of my child’s early months.
4. Milk on time
Given that I’ve been breastfeeding for almost 3 years non-stop, I really hope my milk comes in on time, and in the needed quantity and flow.
5. ‘Easy’ tandem nursing journey
Lumpy breasts, blocked ducts, engorgement, mastitis, and friends – be warned, I’ve got a toddler on hand. I hope tandem nursing comes instinctively to us, like breastfeeding during pregnancy did.
6. No blebs, thrush, or other boob nasties
Milk blisters … blebs … ouch … please stay away.
7. Two working boobs
No more one-side-breastfeeding please; almost 2 years of this is enough. I really hope the other side gets back in action and works better this time.
My Breastfeeding Dreams
8. Breast crawl
However I birth, I’d love to experience the wonder of my newborn crawling up my tummy to suckle – precious and priceless.
9. Easy, painless, and stress-free breastfeeding
I can’t remember when last a latch started without some degree and seconds of pain – this has been breastfeeding through pregnancy for us. And the breast pains of those early days … I’d rather not go back there.
I woke up this morning with streams of words Pulsating through my brain – a letter to my body . Dear body, my very womanly body Devoid of the typical sizes and stats For the group you are assigned to But how so complete and perfect you are . So adequate for the womanly task of motherhood So enough to conceive, nurture, bring forth, and mind So awesomely fabulous to gloriously accomplish so much So amazingly incredible beyond my measure . My word, you’re beautifully strong and powerful Deserving of awards that haven’t been invented More golden than any Oscar and greater than any Brit Your achievements surpases the greatest of inventions . Look at you, my body Born in turmoil and dysfunction Bullied and riled and even abused by some But look how tall you stand today . Yes, those slim legs holding an ever growing bump Those thighs supporting a developing and wiggly toddler Your mind keeping together against so much battering My, you’re making it through 9 months of SO MUCH GIVING . The nay sayers implied you shouldn’t dare The doomsayers said you mustn't consider But your bosom couldn’t deny your toddler Even as your bump supports your babe . And now you’re almost there The end in sight, another journey to embrace We’re not in a hurry, mind But we’re almost there now . Breastfeeding one from outside Nourishing another from inside Nurturing so many, mind, body, and soul Just like that, YOU ARE DOING IT . No recognition required No commending demanded It’s just what you do Every second of what you are . My, you make me feel strong You make me feel so powerful So much taller beyond my height With so much more to offer than I can contemplate . Gratitude to the Awesome Wonder who made you so Who knit you together whilst in my mother’s womb Who caused me to really see and appreciate you Who upholds and keeps me so . Thanks to all my good Samaritans Who walk with me and support my journey I wouldn’t have made it this far without your help . Oh my body, My fabulously beautiful powerful body How I love you so How grateful I am for you . The words were more articulate in my head But this will have to do for now 😁 . #breastfeedingmoment #rememberingthesedays
So yes, I’m dreaming of a calming, easy, and pain-free breastfeeding experience, from the start and throughout, this time around.
10. Breastfeeding during labour
This is my pipe-dream, one I really hope might just be realised. I really want my toddler with me at the hospital, and I’d love the opportunity to continue feeding him on request during labour – easy oxytocin release and extra womb contractions … good for labour and birth, I think.
But really, I just want him with us during this life changing moment, and I’m happy to meet his breastfeeding needs whilst journeying with our little addition into our world.
I had the opportunity to ask Medela UK’s in-house Lactation Consultant, Sioned Hilton, some breastfeeding questions.
- Would this pain subside post-birth, when I start my tandem nursing journey? #9
This is difficult to predict as it could be as a result of several things. What you will expect is a surge in discomfort for the first few minutes when you trigger your milk ejection reflex. This will result in you experiencing after-pains as the surge in oxytocin results in the myo-epithelial cells to contract around the milk cells – squeezing the milk from the alveolus down the ductal network. This will also trigger your uterus to contract. Some mums feedback that the after-pains really do take your breath away and you need to utilize those breathing techniques used during labour as the spasm can be that intense.
It may also be that you are currently experiencing vaso-spasm when you have milk ejection that causes breastpain but this eases as the feed progresses.
When pregnant the hormones can make nursing a little more uncomfortable but it is a case of reflecting after birth – is this tender or painful because it’s the same as before the new baby or is it as a result of not a great latch, mastitis, infection. Keeping an open mind and looking at things from a new mum perspective may be useful for the first few weeks as you initiate your supply and breastfeeding with your newborn.
- If my positioning and attachment are correct, can I expect pain-free breastfeeding from the side I haven’t breastfed from for a while? #7
Again, every pregnancy and baby is different. Your pregnancy hormones may be suppressing the milk hormones a little and depending on the frequency you feed your toddler. As your pregnancy progresses your non-lactating breast will be making more glandular tissue and it may well be that you start to experience some milk leakage as you let down when you feed your toddler.
You are likely to experience nipple tenderness in the first few days, weeks but nursing should not be painful – you will need to go back to the basics and check that latch is good as your toddler will have found his own technique and some gymnastics on the way. Always having someone to check and assess that all is well is recommended with your midwife or breastfeeding specialist.
Again, breast pain can be because of the surge in oxytocin, ductal spasm or vasospasm – if you experience cold hands and feet it could be that this is a factor. A warm compress as you feed and massage may support less discomfort.
- What are your top tips for tandem nursing a baby and a very active toddler who is almost 3 years old?
Your priority will be nursing your newborn and as your milk production come to volume your newborn will have colostrum and milk. Expect your toddler to feel a little lost as this has been a time and place that he has loved and will continue to do so. You may find having a box of toys at hand that you can play with your toddler and nurse at the same time. Your toddler may even join you to feed their doll baby, books, jigsaws, or some quiet time with a smart device can make it easier for the first few weeks as you need to have the flexibility of trying different positions to see what suits you all. A baby sling may also be worth buying or borrowing so that you can nurse and plug in but also have a free hand to play with your toddler. Siblings are amazing and flexible. Initially expect a few toilet accidents, waking at night, mood changes but they soon accept that the new baby is here to stay and just get on with things.
What are your breastfeeding (or other) hopes and dreams?
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