Why I Chose To Breastfeed – as a First Time Mum
Firstly before I go raving about the benefits of Breastfeeding, I’ll give you a little bit of background about myself.
My name is Nicola, We’ve been happily married for nearly 5 years. At the age of 28 we decided to try for our first baby. Unfortunately trying to conceive was a challenge for us. When we first started trying I had to get all my medication modified to ‘pregnancy-safe’ alternatives as I suffer from asthma, Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), allergic rhinitus (hayfever type allergies lasting all year round) I also have a mild cow’s milk intolerance.
It took us a year to conceive; we found out the day before I was due to see a fertility specialist, to look into reasons why my periods were so erratic. During the 12 months of trying to conceive my period only arrived 6 times. We attended the appointment anyway which was a blessing in disguise as he diagnosed me with a thyroid condition which was affecting my health and would have affected the development of my baby.
Now you know a bit about me you’ll probably understand my decisions and my determination. Coupled with the conditions I suffer with and the likelihood that my cows milk intolerance could pass to our baby; breastfeeding would be our best option.
My Pregnancy and Birth were a breeze in many ways, I totally astounded me how natural it all felt – my body was working with me instead of against me.
The most important thing I found I needed was the support network which I worked hard in building during my final trimester. I got myself involved in local breastfeeding support groups and discussed feeding with as many members of my family as I could. Unfortunately the ratio of breastfeeding to formula feeding is really low in my family.
I’m by no means writing off formula feeding – neither bottle or breast are without their problems.
It’s a personal choice, for me Breast seemed best and the most natural way of feeding my baby. I’m one of the least organised people I know and the thought of waking to do a night feed and realising I’d got no sterilised bottles gave me nightmares before our baby was born.
I have found the whole breastfeeding experience fascinating. It really is amazing that your body can grow and nourish a baby, and even though it now bears the marks of pregnancy I’ve never been as proud of my body as I am now.
MAKING YOUR DECISION
If your considering breastfeeding or haven’t made your mind up, here’s a few things that helped me when starting out:
- Give it a go – It’s easier to give breastfeeding a go than it is to change your mind later – even if it’s not for you, I’ve spoke to many friends who regret not trying.
- Educate yourself – the more information you can get regarding growth spurts and known issues like blocked ducts. The easier it will be on you, your less likely to worry about what’s normal or how to recognise problems and nip them in the bud before they get worse.
- Connect yourself – don’t hide away, problem shared is a problem halved, peer supported sessions can give you the respite you need when it’s hard going.
- Bonding with your baby – I admittedly didn’t get the ‘wave’ of love people rave about when meeting their baby for the first time; so breastfeeding has helped me build up a special bond with my baby.
- Pumping/Expressing – I started expressing at 10 weeks (though it’s often recommended to start earlier than that) It allows me to have that most needed time out – even if it’s just for the weekly shop.
Becoming a Mum is been one of the most rewarding and trying experiences I’ve ever had. I’m not going to say breastfeeding is easy – if it was we would all do it! It needs patience and determination (and sometimes a little stubbornness helps too) I’ve defied opinion and gained support from my family where they suspected I might fail. No-one ever said becoming a parent was going to be easy, we all make our own decisions – Just make sure you make the right one for you!