Work smarter not harder.
My daughter is 16-months and I’m still breastfeeding. To be honest, I didn’t start out thinking I’d be such an epic breast feeder. I was aiming for 9-months, a year tops. At the beginning when she was arching back after every suck, crying continuously and not sleeping, I felt sure I was going to have to give up. How could it possibly be this hard?
At the time, I vowed to give it another day or two. Days rolled into weeks which rolled into months. Now here I am at 16-months with a fully-fledged toddler at my breast and I feel this journey is coming to an end. As I cradle her in my arms for our nightly pre-bed cuddle and slurp, there are a few things I wish I’d known in those fuzzy first few weeks.
1. Find the help that suits you.
The help available to Australian mums is incredible, but you don’t need to take all of it. I called up the Australian Breastfeeding Association, Karitane, Tresilien and made countless visits to my early childhood centre. One expert told me my daughter should be feeding every four hours but I just couldn’t stretch her longer than 2.5 hours. I stressed over this for days but in the end I just had to ignore that advice. Even now my daughter can’t go that long without eating, she likes lots of small meals very often. Every baby is different and you need to find the advice that works for your family.
2. Breastfeeding is a lovely way to bond, but it’s not the only way.
I had my share of latching problems and difficulties with flow, however I was lucky that these problems ironed out after six weeks or so (other than that time she bit me, OUCH!). I am in awe of what women go through, from cracked nipples to mastitis leading to hospital stays and excruciating abscesses. Being a new mum is the hardest job in the world and if breastfeeding doesn’t work out, please don’t beat yourself up. There are so many other ways to bond with your baby, like carrying them in a sling, having a bath together or enjoying their sweet baby smell as they doze in your arms.