I have been breastfeeding my baby for almost five months and before that, I breastfed her big sister for a hell of a lot longer.
I’m no expert when it comes to breastfeeding technique, improper latches or mastitis cures, but I do know that breastfeeding is something I enjoy.
Ok, not the first few weeks. The first few weeks were toe-curling on the pain scale. My poor nipples were red raw and on fire. I was going through nipple butter like there was no tomorrow.
Favourite Things About Breastfeeding
But two weeks after beginning my breastfeeding journey, the discomfort subsided and breastfeeding became easy, natural and enjoyable.
Here are my 10 favourite things about breastfeeding:
#1: Taking My Baby Back
Every mother in the world knows how frustrating it is to have your baby taken off you and passed around the room. Sure, you want to show your baby off, but that doesn’t mean you want a roomful of people playing pass the baby.
It can be downright impossible to prise your newborn out of the claws of your mother-in-law at times.
Fear not, breastfeeding mother, you can use the “oh, I think she’s hungry” card. It works every time. Just say it whilst taking your baby, people will be forced to give up the baby for fear of looking cruel.
You don’t even have to feed the baby straightaway, you can just move to the furthest part of the room and glare smugly at everybody so they know not to bother running off with your baby again.
#2: It Makes Me Feel A Bit Magic
Oh no, the baby is really sad. She won’t stop crying. Rocking, singing, shushing – nothing is working!
Fear not, here comes Wonder Boob. Wonder Boob to the rescue!
One quick feed and your baby is happy again. Even when she’s not hungry, breastfeeding can provide the comfort and security your baby needs to relax. MAGIC.
#3: The Convenience
I hate carrying a bag full of baby crap. I like to travel light and my baby is already pretty heavy so convenience wins.
I have to take my boobs out with me (the damn things are so clingy), so it’s easy to use them to feed and not have to worry about bottles or cartons or kettles (not that you actually have to take a kettle when you go out, but you know what I mean).
I love that I can miss the train, stay out late and do things without much planning because I have everything I need to feed my baby tucked away in my bra.
#4: The Confidence Boost
With my first baby, my breastfeeding journey got off to a rocky start. It took a few weeks of hard work before I felt like I was doing a good job. My daughter, who lost quite a bit of weight at the beginning, suddenly started piling on the pounds.
Finally, she was putting on weight and getting chunky and I was able to trust my body. I could see her cheeks getting chubby and folds appearing where her wrists should have been.
It was just the confidence boost I needed in those terrifying early days of motherhood.
#5: The Nipple Squirt
I remember once with my first baby, she had just latched on and starting feeding when suddenly she pulled off.
I looked down and my milk was spraying in about five different directions at speed. I ended up with a small puddle of milk on the crotch of my jeans. I couldn’t have been prouder. So much milk, such speed!
This time around, my fierce letdown is a great way of teaching my fussy second born a lesson. She’s also latching on and the pulling off to blow a raspberry or look across the room. When that happens, she gets milk in her eye.
Not my fault, I just have a good letdown. Seriously, it’s like a weapon.
#6: The Servant
My husband is basically my servant now. He has to be because I’m just so busy feeding that baby of ours. He brings me drinks, food, remote controls. If I want it, he brings it.
I’ve actually reached a level of laziness now where if I want something, I wait until the baby needs feeding and only then will I ask him to get it. This saves me having to get things myself.
As soon as my baby latches on I say, “Oh dear, I was just about to put a nappy wash on, please could you do it?” Genius.
#7: The Pride
For some people, breastfeeding comes easily and naturally. That wasn’t the case for me. For those first few weeks, I was battling against a tongue-tied baby who wanted to feed all the time.
I can remember sitting in the nursery sobbing at 3am one morning because my baby was crying with hunger and I was bracing myself to latch her on because I knew it was going to hurt. It was so hard. And then, all of a sudden, it wasn’t.
But knowing that I worked through that tough bit, that I powered through even when I was in pain, fills me with pride.
Just a few days after that 3am weeping, the pain subsided and breastfeeding became easier, but I could so easily have given up that night as I wept on the nursery floor. I am forever glad that I didn’t.
#8: The Support Network Of Friends
Breastfeeding women will find you and befriend you because you know what they’re going through. There isn’t a great divide, women support women no matter how they feed their babies.
But, that said, there is something comforting about having somebody who can spend hours talking about blocked ducts, chapped nipples and biting (oh yes, biting).
I found these women and didn’t let go, they are still my good friends five years later thanks to those early days of bonding over breastfeeding.
#9: The Excuse To Buy New Clothes
As if the changing body of pregnancy, post-birth and motherhood wasn’t enough of a reason to buy new clothes, breastfeeding will get you the odd outfit.
None of my dresses are suitable anymore because they simply don’t provide easy access to my boobs. Every time I attend a wedding or a party, I have a very valid excuse to buy a new dress. After all, it’s for the baby.
#10: Those Thighs
Nothing in the world makes me feel happier than seeing my baby’s thighs. Those huge milky rolls of fat cascading over her knees. They are magnificent. So many folds and creases and bulges.
And, you know what? I made those thighs all by myself. I grew them in my tummy and then I fattened them up with my boobs. Nothing makes me feel happier than seeing those chubby thighs.
It is much better than seeing my own chubby thighs which fill me with no joy whatsoever.
If you have a friend or family member currently starting out on her breastfeeding journey, remember that your support could make all the difference. Take a look at this BellyBelly article for 12 Helpful Things To Say To A Breastfeeding Mother.