I have now been breastfeeding Oscar for six months. I'm not going to lie, there were times when I thought I wouldn't get to this point. Breastfeeding is hard and getting through those first few weeks can feel like you are trying to conquer Everest.
Standing under the shower and cringing in pain as the water hits your nipples…Ouch!
Putting a bra on…Ouch! Seriously, I spent as much time as I could without wearing a bra (I made it until day nine when I left the house for the first time!)
The latching onto your already pained nipples…Ouch.
Like I say, breastfeeding is hard and is really bloody painful. If you can make it through that, you are a superstar and hopefully, like me, you will become a lover of breastfeeding. I had feelings of wanting to stop very early on. Thoughts of wanting to quit because I couldn't take the pain, couldn't take the frequency of feeding. Thoughts that putting him on the bottle would just be easier all around for me. I didn't though. I didn't give into those thoughts and here I am, six months down the line, with my 15lbs 7oz baby (as of last Friday), totally made of mummy milk. I haven't even expressed, he is 100% booby fed.
During these six months, I have learnt a lot about the joys of breastfeeding – here are five of those things!
1. There is nothing like watching your baby search for the boob
Whether they are six days or six months, seeing them searching for the boob never grows old. When Oscar was tiny, he pecked. He would peck my chest, my arm, someone else's arm. That was how I knew he was hungry, he pecked. He also made this noise that I don't even know how to write down! It was like a "eh, eh, eh, eh, eh" that went on until he was on the boob. Now at six months, he makes a completely different sound but as he is experienced, he doesn't search as much, instead, almost dive-bombing to the boob. He recognises the click of my strap, he knows exactly where he needs to head to and if we are laying on the bed, he rolls over to my direction before I've even managed to get unhooked!
2. There is nothing like watching the relief on his face when he latches on
After he's done all of the searching, rolling over and funny noises, his face when he latches on is probably one of the most beautiful things. It's instant relief, his little eyes close, he gives the biggest of sighs and his body relaxes into mine. I look at him at that moment and the sight is just lush. I'm doing that, I'm providing him with what he needs. Not only the milk but the feeling that comes with being secure in my arms whilst he is feeding.
3. The feeling of overwhelming love that comes with it
I remember the feeling well from my time feeding Zach, but when he latches on, when he succumbs to the milk flow, relaxes into my being, I am hit with this wave of love. It is all encompassing and it literally takes my breath away. I sit and stroke him, or just simply place a hand on him to tell him that I'm there. That I am not just milk mumma but mumma. Mumma who loves him, mumma who would do anything for him (and his brother obviously!). For me, there is no feeling like it. I literally feel my heart pumping in my chest.
4. He gets more and more distracted
The older he gets, the more he finds other things interesting! Zach puts him off all of the time! All he has to do is speak and Oscar has unlatched to source his brother, leaving me squirting milk everywhere! The straps on my top? Sometimes they seem to be even tastier than my milk as I discover that he has left my boob behind to have a good suck on the strap that was so close to his mouth, he just couldn't resist! The wind in the air? That would probably distract him too! Quite often I find myself with my boob hanging out – it used to be because he'd fallen asleep but now it's because there are far more interesting things than food!
5. It can still hurt sometimes!
Yep – despite all that love up there, despite the beautifulness of it, despite how much I adore breastfeeding my boy; there are still times when I consider quitting. When the pain, the constantness, the exhaustion, can suddenly feel all too much. When he has spent the entire evening suckling on a boob, not for milk but as a pacifier. When he’s been super hungry and has spent the day feeding way more than the usual every two hours! My nipples can still get really sore, I still smother them in Lasinoh multiple times a day, I still sometimes wince the next time he latches on. The shower still sometimes stings. I sometimes think about expressing or putting him on the bottle. But it’s a fleeting thought, a passing moment. The pain dies down, the feeds spread out a bit and all is back to normal as I watch my beautiful baby feeding from his mumma again. This may be the last time I breastfeed a baby and I am milking it for all its worth!