When I was pregnant I was determined to breast feed; I tried to read a few book, go on the Facebook support pages and subscribed to mother and baby magazine.
I thought I knew enough to get me by. But I felt anxious about it all; it’s one of those things you don’t really ‘get’ until you’re doing it. And even then everyday is a school day.
Here’s some interesting (or weird things I never really knew).
1. Breastfeeding doesn’t mean the delay to your periods returning.
Yes this one really sucked; I was led to believe that one of the lovely benefits from breastfeeding was that your got a nice break from periods, this was supported my comments from friends when they were gutted their monthly friend returned after a year!
Well I had a two week post-partum bleed and then lo and behold- 28 bleeding days later Aunt Flo returned! What the actual fuck- I mean how unfair is that?!?!?!?
Not only that but whilst I was breast feeding my monthly visitor only arrived every ruddy month perfectly on time! couldn’t do that when we were trying to get pregnant and go through fertility treatment could it???
Ready for some even more shit news; (and this is a bit gross) when you are actually feeding your uterus contracts meaning that you sit their feeling the blood flood out. I mean lovely- totally wonderful. Mother BLOODY nature!
( slightly pissed off infertile woman here)
2. Let down…
Well where to begin with this one; I’ll just go for it, imagine 37,500 ants crawling all over you tits. Well this is what ‘let down’ feels like. What???? You ask…..
Well did you know you milk just does sit ready to come out (otherwise we’d all just sit in puddles of milk); your babies first few sucks stimulates you boobs enough to ‘open the gates’ of your ducts- this is called ‘let down’, and let me warn you- that is a bloody weird feeling!
3. Porn star boobs
Ever contemplated getting a boob job, or wished you were curvier to help you feel sexier?
Well about 3 days after birth you’ll get a ‘free trial’ of those huge, rounded, stuck on looking bazookas- and you’ll feel sooo sexy!!! Er nope, they’re huge, they hurt, they feel like they’re going to explode, they’re hot, they’re leaking; and now you have to try and attach a baby onto them. Trying to attach a soft mouthed tiny new born onto a huge, hard, rounded football is flipping hard. And you’ll also decide you don’t want a boob job.
4. It’s good for your mental health.
I definitely struggled with my mental health more after weaning Dorothea off the boob. So I did some research and found your brain releases the hormones prolactin and oxytocin during breastfeeding, which help you to bond with baby and ease those normal feelings of stress and anxiety.
5. Breastfeeding burns loads of calories
Breastfeeding burns between 500-600 calories a day. That means some mums might end up losing weight without any additional exercise! But in reality it also makes you really hungry- I remember stuffing my face with flapjacks in the middle of the night. Also breastfeeding mums will generally spend more time sitting down- for me this signals ‘snack time’ – so don’t count on losing that weight; but in reality who cares, breastfeeding is great and so are flapjacks.
6. Rainbow milk. Milk is white right? Wrong!
When expressing I found that the bottles of milk in my fridge could be different colours- sometimes with a blue tinge! Apparently this change can be due to what you’ve eaten or your babies needs (milk constituents can change daily- clever eh?)
7. You produce milk long after feeding stops.
I figured that soon after I stopped feeding that I would ‘dry up’. Not the case- I found in the months following I would leak milk when emotional, and now (over a year later) milk is still there if pressure is put on my boobs.
8. Breastmilk jewellery
You can get gorgeous jewellery made from your milk! This one is always controversial, with many thinking it’s weird, but I love my milk pendant.
Oats are supposed to be good for milk production and flapjacks are yummy! This was a recipe I created; these are great for devouring during night feeds (lots of good ingredients too)
⁃ 1 cup coconut oil
⁃ 3/4 cup agave syrup
⁃ 10 dried dates finely chopped
⁃ 1 apple finely chopped/grated
⁃ ( melt down the above in a pan until a gooey syrup- then add)
⁃ 1 cup chopped off nuts( I used cashews)
⁃ 4 cups oats
⁃ 1 cup milled flax seed
⁃ 4 tablespoons brewers yeast
Mix well, bake in flat pan for 15 mins at 180 (or until firm and browning)
10. Breastfeeding is amazing