Monday, 1 August 2016

World breast feeding awareness week - Our Breastfeeding Journey

This post is supported by Medela


Breastfeeding is one of those things that you start out thinking it should be really easy as it is a natural thing but once you do try, it can be so different for everyone. When I had my first baby, 5 years ago, I set out to breastfeed. I had absolutely no fear that it would be anything but super simple and natural as that’s what our bodies are supposed to do as new mums, provide food for our babies.

I had huge boobs and a baby with a tiny mouth and from the first night as a mum, my nipples became very damaged and I was in a lot of pain. It was like my baby was attacking me on a 3 hour basis, I was in pain, nipples bleeding and miserable. It wasn’t easy but I was determined.

I used my Medela breast pump around the clock, giving my nipples time to heal, only offering the breast every second feed and serving up expressed breast milk in a bottle otherwise. The Medela pump was truly my saving grace, I spent endless hours on that pump, keeping my milk supply going and knowing I was giving my baby the best stuff even if it was from a bottle.



Baby P was thriving, but my nipples didn’t heal easily. It wasn’t a nice time as I was in so much pain when she fed, I couldn’t feed in public, I just couldn’t relax but everyone kept telling me her attachment was fine. People would empathise with me and tell me it was ok not to breastfeed anymore but I was too determined, I had to get this right.

It went on for quite a while, I was searching for an answer as to why breastfeeding wasn’t getting any better until after a couple of months, a nurse just put it down to a logical issue; big boobs/small mouth. That is when things started to turn and everything started getting better, it was like a huge weight had lifted off my shoulders and I could relax and stop looking for an answer on how we could fix this issue, I could know that NOTHING I was doing was wrong. As her mouth grew a little bigger, it all started working better and we finally got it and went on to feed until Princess P was 15 months old. I was proud.

Second time around, it was all so much easier and it all worked from the get go and now, third time around, my milk came in on the second day, it was like a super power. Haha. I have had no sign of damage and we have rocked it with ease. It truly is amazing how different of an experience breast feeding can be for so many people, even different from child to child and how easy it could of been for me to quit that first time around if I hadn’t had the right support. Believe me when I tell you I had a lot of mixed messages from a lot of different people and I had to be super strong in my own beliefs to keep going. I know I would have definitely benefitted from the MyMedela App back then and I’m very grateful I’ve had it by my side this time. The MyMedela really is a personal digital companion, providing practical advice, tips and tricks from experts on pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding. I've loved the advice and tips, it is such an incredible resource for new mums. 

As we move into World Breastfeeding Awareness Week – here’s some insight for you from the team atMedela that conducted a survey with 4000 Australian Mums to discover attitudes towards experience with breastfeeding and where mums go for advice.  Results reveal many women put pressure on themselves to breastfeed because of health benefits breastfeeding provides, yet most go on to experience associated challenges. The survey also showed that to assist in their parenting journey, mums bypass their own mums’ wisdom in place of advice from Midwife/Doctors and online support tools and apps.

Reassuringly, 9 in 10 mums do experience breastfeeding challenges – which is great to know that you’re not alone. From the respondents, 90 per cent cited issues with milk levels (22 per cent) and sore nipples (20 per cent) as most popular problems. Plus common issues like mastitis/engorgement, health, latching, sore nipples, tongue tie.

Like myself, despite challenges, most mums persevere to continue breastfeeding. In fact, according to Medela’s survey, a high proportion (52 per cent) feel pressure to continue breastfeeding. Of these women, the overwhelming majority actually put pressure on themselves to breastfeed, as opposed to feeling the pressure to breastfeed from factors such as partners, society, media, celebrities. The survey further reveals that while most respondents (61 per cent) agree there is a lot of online information and advice available, mums still feel satisfied with the access to information and advice required. The majority of mums do not turn to their own mum for advice first anymore, with the 24/7 convenience of sourcing information online or via Apps it can be easier to “google it”. I know I spent endless hours online myself, trying to find a solution to my breastfeeding issues with Miss P.

Most importantly, I think we have to make new mums more aware that breastfeeding isn’t always easy and it's ok if it doesn’t come naturally. We need to give ourselves time, both baby and mum need to learn and it takes time and sometimes pain. But it’s ok to ask for help and utilise the information and support around us. Becoming a mum is hard enough and feeding our babies can be one of the biggest, most worrying stresses in the world as we just want to nourish them and for them to thrive. That's why I think Breastfeeding awareness week is so important;

Medela have said - “Breastfeeding Awareness Week is an opportunity to educate the wider community about the challenges mums face and the pressure they put on themselves to give their child the best start in life and to remind mums that they are not alone in their journey.” 

For mums who do feel like they are alone and want to reach out to some instant support and advice The MyMedela app is awesome, it’s by Medela Australia and it’s a personal digital companion providing practical advice, tips and tricks from experts on pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding, whilst post birth, acts as an efficient tracking tool to monitor babies progress in key areas such as breastfeeding to suit mums’ needs today. I highly recommend checking it out and utilising it on an everyday basis.

If you need a burst of breastfeeding inspo – please check out this clip to remind you that everyone’s breastfeeding experience is different and some great tips to keep in mind:

Keep your heads up Mumma’s! Your doing a brilliant job. x

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