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My Honest Feelings By Jess From Lilypod & Sweetpea

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Hi! My name's Jess and I'm a parenting and lifestyle blogger and vlogger documenting my honest journey through motherhood. I'm step muma to Rhys aged 3, and muma to Jasper aged 2, and our newest bambino Jenson who was born in August 2016. I'm so pleased to have teamed up with Lansinoh to share with you my breastfeeding experiences and for today’s post I'm opening up about my ten honest thoughts on being a breastfeeding muma!

Baby and Jess lying on their backs

Breastfeeding is a journey; an up and down, emotional rollercoaster of a journey. I'm sure there are women out there who breeze through it, exclusively breastfeeding for months to years with no problems whatsoever, but for me and many other women out there, breastfeeding hasn't come without its problems.

I always try to be 100% honest when I share my parenting stories because although sugarcoating our lives may make us look like we're the perfect Pinterest mumas -  it can actually make other mumas feel pretty crumby about the not so perfect parts of parenting that we ALL encounter!

For me breastfeeding has come with highs and lows. I breastfed Jasper for around 8 weeks and after running into a few problems I called it quits. With Jenson I'm still breastfeeding but it's not been without its issues. No matter how many problems I've encountered though; and let me tell you there have been many; I still look at breastfeeding as the most wonderful journey I'm on that I really don't want to end. So here are my 10 honest thoughts on breastfeeding:

1 - It makes me feel proud

I'm always wary about being too openly proud about my breastfeeding in case I upset someone who either cannot breastfeed or is simply pro-bottle feeding. As a disclaimer I am pro feeding whether that's bottle, boob, ebf, expressed - a fed baby is a happy baby (and happy muma) so I'm not against any kind. So here it goes, breastfeeding for me is one of my greatest accomplishments to date. It is something that I'm very proud of; I'm proud that my milk is what is making Jenson gain weight and I'm proud that his development is down to me and my milk.

2 - It fills me with dread

I suffer from D-Mer (dysphoric milk ejection reflex) where I am overcome by a sense dread just before every let down. It often makes me feel anxious before and during feeds and sometimes it makes me wish it wasn't feeding time at the zoo! Night feeds are the worst as I'm alone, in the dark with not a lot to distract me but during the day when Jasper is running around and I can distract myself with TV and family I don't find it as daunting.

3 - It's made me a bit of a control freak

Knowing 100% that Jenson is only drinking my breast milk gives me a sense of control; I don't have to worry that someone looking after him has given him the wrong formula or heated it too high. It's all down to me; however this has made me feel the urge to have more control in other areas. When someone changes his nappy have they wiped him properly? Has that child who's stroking Jenson’s face washed his hands? You can't control it all but I do love that this is one area in which I can!

4 - I blame myself

Being that his weight gain is solely down to me I find myself feeling guilty if he drops a centile or has a stomach ache. I wonder if his smelly gas is due to something I ate and if his decline in weight gain is due to me not eating enough nutrients. I know it's nothing to feel bad for and often these changes can't be helped but that's mum guilt for you!

5 - Sometimes I want to give up

At 4am when we're up for the 5th time to feed and my nipples feel like they're going to fall off I often wish I could hand Jenson and a bottle of formula to Pete, roll over and go to sleep. I then remember how much I love those middle of the night moments when it's just the two of us and I'm the most important person to him and I pick myself up, pop some Lansinoh Lanolin on my nipples and crack on with feed number five of the night! I always make sure to take care of myself as breastfeeding has a really big impact on your body so when I get a moment I like to chill out, watch tv and pop on the Lansinoh TheraPearl 3-in-1 Breast Therapy to give my boobs a bit of r&r.

6 - I think it’s beautiful

Despite the difficulties I think breastfeeding is beautiful. I love to see women breastfeeding; I love the feeling when we have nowhere to be, no deadlines to meet and I can just sit and feed.

7 - I get my boobs out ... a lot!

I'm not boob shy at all. I would get them out completely to feed if I weren't conscious of offending other people. I'd never hide Jenson, I'd never leave the table to feed in solitude; I simply try to make sure that Jenson’s head covers my nipple while I latch him on and if anyone feels uncomfortable they are more than welcome to leave.

8 - I'm scared for it to end

Being that Jenson is my last baby I feel so sad at the thought of my breastfeeding journey ending. I know he'll always need me but I did feel an overwhelming sense of not being needed when I stopped feeding Jasper and I don't want to go through that again.

9 - I'm competitive with myself

My only goal with breastfeeding this time around was to last longer than I did with Jasper. I didn't put any pressure on and I knew there was a chance I wouldn't do as long however I really wanted to see if I could make it even a day longer. As soon as I passed that time frame I started to feel competitive with myself. Every little hiccup has never been bad enough to make me stop so now I'm stuck in a limbo of not knowing when to stop but not wanting to ... so it's okay!

10 - it's harder than pregnancy and birth

People often warn you about how tough pregnancy can be and almost everyone warns you of how tough labour and birth are; but no one really warns you about how challenging breastfeeding can be. Sore nipples, mastitis, low milk supply, engorgement and poor latching - these are all problems I encountered that not one person warned me about.

Well those are my ten honest thoughts about breastfeeding; some positive and some negative but all things I wish I'd been told before I started my journey! Overall breastfeeding has been such a positive experience for me; I've loved going through the journey and I most certainly would do it all over again in a heartbeat!