It was day 5 – Mummy’s milk had come in and baby was feeding well. Baby Mindset had been getting in a good routine of feeding every 2 hours.
While Mummy was pregnant, she had read that babies usually fed every 2-3 hours and she hadn’t thought much about it – it seemed like a reasonable amount of time. However, what they had omitted to say was that a feed can last anywhere between 30mins-1hour. In the evenings, when milk supply tended to get lower (which was completely normal – not a supply issue) Baby tended to cluster feed – several subsequent feeds with short breaks (typically 5-10mins) inbetween.
Mummy hadn’t been prepared for this; mentally or physically. She found herself stuck to her bed or chair with baby in her arms for hours on end. The longest stretch of continuous sleep she had, had since the birth was 2 hours – and day and night were starting to blur into one.
Although she loved the time she got to spend with Baby, it did feel a bit overwhelming to have no control over her body as it was at the beck and call of another little being. She loved breastfeeding but sometimes felt like she could use a break.
Showers had become a luxury – it seemed baby sensed every time she left the room and started crying for her. Mummy couldn’t bear to hear baby cry and the easiest and quickest way to soothe her was to feed her.
The breastfeeding classes that Mummy had been to had focused on the best positions to hold baby in for feeding, what the right latch looked like and the best pumps to buy – but they had never really explained what it meant to be a breastfeeding mum – the exhaustion, the lifestyle (or lack of) and the constant demand from baby.
It meant that Mummy was the only person that could feed Baby, Mummy was the one who always had to wake up at night, Mummy was the one who had to do all the care taking in the day…Mummy was the one!
Mummy mindset was determined to carry on breast feeding but she knew it wasn’t going to be possible to do it all. She was going to have to choose what her priorities were and just accept that the less important things (like cleaning, laundry and even cooking) were just going to have to wait! She would need to learn to rely on others (something she was not good at doing) and ask for help more openly (it was unfortunate people couldn’t read her mind so she wouldn’t have to ask!).
She started by trying to explain to Daddy mindset how she felt and what she needed. It was such new territory that sometimes she didn’t know herself what she needed. However she knew she needed help because she was too tired, or feeling over touched or crying at the littlest things (although they didn’t seem little to her).
They made a list of all the things Daddy, Grandma and Aunty could do to take aware the pressure from Mummy. Helping Mummy eat well and keep her energy levels up with lots of protein was one of the top priorities. Ensuring she was getting enough iron and calcium made the world of difference and Mummy felt she was able to cope with the demand of feeding so much better when she was well nourished and drinking plenty of water.
Mummy knew of some Mums who breastfed with little or no help and she wondered just how they managed to do it. In the beginning she felt put down by this and felt that she should be coping better. However, as she read more into different experiences of breastfeeding she understood that not everyone struggled with breastfeeding and it was easier for some than others and for the first time she also understood why some mothers chose formula.
Mummy may even have been slightly judgmental of others before she had her daughter (and she felt ashamed at this), but she knew she also had days when she sometimes felt tempted to give in because breastfeeding was one of the hardest things she had ever had to do.
Don’t worry – it’s not all doom and gloom – Mummy mindset figures it out as she goes along. Read the next episode to find out how…
What was your biggest breastfeeding obstacle and what was the thing that helped you get through them? If you’re thinking of breastfeeding – what do you think could help you deal with the demands of breastfeeding so that you are better prepared?
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