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Wednesday, 23 November 2016
With the impending arrival of baby number two, I can't help but feel nostalgic of the first few months with Ella & how much motherhood has taught me. Often it takes some reflection to truly appreciate the situation & as I prepare to make some decisions about feeding, birthing plan, pain relief etc I had a good think (and laugh) to myself about my breastfeeding experience with Ella. There are so many hidden truths about feeding that I wish I'd known before I started, although it didn't put me off since we exclusively fed for 14 weeks and combination fed for a further few weeks after that, here are the realities of breastfeeding.

1. It Hurts

- A lot. Now many people will say 'you've not got your latch right' but that takes time! As a new mum where your body has just known what to do to make a baby & deliver them, frustratingly the feeding them part doesn't come quite as easily. Who'd have known a tiny human leach would be able to cause so much discomfort?! But you won't complain, because that would make you feel like a failure and as a new mum you'll never want to admit defeat. You've got this whole thing under control.... and can have a mini breakdown to daddy about it later Who will no doubt suggest the 'B' word, yes you guessed it 'why don't you try a bottle?' to which you will want to scream 'ARE YOU MAD?!?!'. Like he'd just suggested giving your little darling a can of diet coke to quench their thirst. 

2. Congratulations, you have another limb

Which ironically actually inhibits the use of the preexisting ones. Yes, you'll feel like you have an additional and frankly debilitating body part. You'll watch like the green eyed monster as your partner enjoys a cup of tea whilst simultaneously composing a tweet & you're just trying the perfect the 'rugby hold'. The calorie burn selling point clearly only works on the basis that you don't have enough free hands for any length of time to stuff your face, food deprivation to be exact. But hey, you'll live off of cereal bars at 4am when you're starving.

3.  Save money or sanity?

If you thought you were being a savvy saver by breastfeeding then think again. Your unlimited supply of nipple cream a £10 a pop will more than likely run out faster than a tub of formula if you apply it at the rate I had to, killing any economic pros you'd admirably tried to list. Team that with the other breastfeeding paraphernalia you'll accumulate like shields, pumps & covers and you'll have spent a few months formula cash, but it's cool because it's triple points in boots and that's always damage limitation the next drug store haul.

4. Towels are the enemy.

Your softly laundered Egyptian cotton bath sheets take on the form of sand paper... need I say any more? 

5. Mind that spray.

You'll feel like you missed your calling to become one of Dr. Evil's 'fembots' every time you take your bra off... especially after a shower. Be careful of your aim & give clear warning before you drop that towel.

6. This isn't an all you can eat...

After hours, surely there's nothing left? If they suckle any longer they'll turn you inside out! Oh but they're 'just increasing you supply' of course they are, of course they're going through a growth spurt. *Adds to the list of excuses people give you for your baby being a greedy little horror!*

7. What a waste! 

Breast milk will become a valuable commodity. One step short from taking it to your local 'cash for gold' you'll want to savour any mere dribble you produce. So just imagine the heart sinking feeling of milk streaming from the boob baby isn't latched to... It can only be compared to the same kind of devastation felt when you accidentally over dunk a biscuit into a perfect cuppa tea. 

8 Self Education 

When you finally manage to master one handed breastfeeding you'll spend 90% of feeding times googling how to feed. 'How to perfect my baby's latch' will be on the top searched items on your internet history and believe me, you still won't get it exactly right. 

9 Who's Formula then hmm?

Like some sort of insanely jealous ex-girlfriend you'll hate the fact that your baby will enjoy spending time with formula milk. They might take a little time to get used to the bottle but the milk will be like pure joy and their full tummies are bound to keep them content & sleep for aaaages. Mummy on the other hand is feeling very inadequate, thanks for that Aptamil ...

10 Must. Go. On

But despite all of this, you'll still power on because you're stubborn and apparently are enrolled in a mini competition with yourself! Each week completed is like a level in a game you never knew you were playing. The countdown to weaning week feels like a bigger deal than Christmas like it should come with it's own advent calendar. Andddd of course it's a special bond like no other. Despite all of tribulations, looking down & seeing how much that tiny human is depending on you is probably one of the cutest things I've ever seen. It could bring me to tears just thinking about it.

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