Milestone Moments: Breastfeeding, Birthdays and Holidays
Exclusively breastfeeding is very rewarding to both you and your baby, however it does come with its challenges. Hannah from Budding Smiles discusses how with a bit of good planning, and considering your baby's needs first then working your own needs around them, your life as an individual can be just as fulfilling as your life as a mummy.
When I was pregnant, I assumed that by the time my 30th birthday rolled around, my five month old would be merrily taking a bottle of expressed breastmilk whenever the need arose and would therefore have a night at my parents' house whilst I had a bit of time with my husband and friends. In reality, Martha was 12 days late arriving so was four and a half months old come my birthday, and refuses with a conviction the most stubborn of mules would be proud of, not to take a bottle.
In the lead up to my birthday we tried and tried to offer Martha a bottle and she would either play with it until she was starving then cry for the breast, or just cry from the start. I was using my Lansinoh Double Electric Breast Pump to express whenever I could and felt very miffed each time my milk was then poured down the drain.
Acceptance was key, and with Phil arranging my surprise birthday celebrations, plans had to be put in place.
Martha is - when not hungry - the most chilled out baby to grace this earth, so leaving her with my parents isn't an issue, except obviously when it comes to needing to feed her. The plan was simple; take Martha and my mum with us to the meal Phil had organised, I would feed her to sleep at her 8pm bed time, mum would take her back to the house where she would sleep until at least 1am and we'd make sure to be back by then.
Then the little monkey stopped sleeping through once she hit four months old. Thanks, sleep regression.
This meant we had to have a slight change of plans; Martha came out with us but without my mum. I fed her at bedtime and she slept in the pushchair whilst I ate, then at her new second feeding time of 10pm, I fed her again and this time Phil took her back to my mum and dad's along with strict instructions from me to tell my mum to call me if Martha became upset. I've never been more than a mile away from her and not for longer than an hour so this was a big step.
The emotional factor of being away from Martha meant that even though I wasn't going to skip a feed, my breasts went into a bit of an overdrive and I was glad of my Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads to stop any leakage! If I had been skipping a feed then I'd have taken my Lansinoh Manual Breast Pump with me (an essential in any night out bag!) but as it was, I didn't need to express.
We're now packing for our holiday and Lansinoh breast pads and my manual pump are all in my suitcase ready to go. I firmly believe that exclusively breastfeeding does not have to be a barrier in my life. Obviously it is a big part of my life and I really thought that Martha would be taking expressed feeds as well, yet I still find quality time to have with her big brother Toby, I'm also setting up a new business, had meals out with Phil and with friends, celebrated my birthday and I am going on holiday.
Breastfeeding is so natural to me and Martha now that I can't actually imagine feeding her any other way! We're proof that with a bit of good planning and considering your baby's needs first and working your own needs around them, your life as an individual is just as fulfilling as your life as a mummy. Motherhood is a wonderful thing but I truly think that we all need time to be 'us' as well, so don't ever neglect yourself. My mantra is this: I have to look after myself to look after my children.
Written by Hannah at Budding Smiles