Ex Pat Mamma

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Breastfeeding: My Two Cents

I always expected to stop breastfeeding when I went back to work. Pupo is now 6 months and healthy and has done very well. But now the time is upon is, I feel obliged to share my thoughts on breastfeeding. Hell, the World and his wife have shared theirs with me over the past year, so it must be my turn.

BF is great.
You give your baby a perfect meal, you don't have to worry about "balancing diets" or giving enough fluids. You just offer, they take what they need.
You give your baby antibodies. After our trip to Scotland in November, I languished with a cold for 3 weeks, whilst boy was better in days. One morning, up expressing at 4am, with bare legs, cold tiles and an open nightie, the reason for this finally dawned on me.
BF is easy; I can't imagine having travelled alone with pupo carting and sterilising bottles en route.
BF is cosy; it's like you get a "free cuddle" every time.
He appreciates it; this is not immediately apparent. But from about 5 months, he would ocassionally stop to look up at me beaming in delight and adoration. It is always nice to feel loved.
No periods.

BF is rubbish.
Well, it's not so much the BF itself that is rubbish, but there is lots of rubbish that comes w ith it. And number one on that list...
Evil Rash, aka mastitis. The most pointless condition known to woman. It has no advantages, nor purpose. It is not even virus or bacteria which you can respect as "living" beings. It is only pain and flu. And it comes at the most annoying times.
Never getting a long lie. Yes, today er pupo lounges till 10am. Where am I? Well, UP of course, because even if he sleeps, I am so full, I have to get up and express.
Those first weeks of always being on shift; noone else can do that 4am for you. BUT (militant bfeeders, look way now) you can give them expressed milk from about one month. Just don't do what I did and stop using the bottle at 4 months to fill up the freezer instead, because now I have a freezer full of milk and a boy who screams whenever a bottle approaches...
Constantly swimming in and smelling of milk. First thing in the morning, soaking. Going out for the evening, soaking.
Never wearing anything pretty. Nursing bra straps and breast pads take something away from that strappy number.
No sex drive. Ok, so maybe that isn't due to bf. But I've still got no period and I suspect my body has shut down for the winter.

OK, so the negative list looks a bit longer, but the positives still outweigh by far. I don't regret bf for one second. Despite my repeated battles with mastitis (including yesterday, but I'm LICKING that SOB, come and get me, big boy, dare ya!), we've not really had any problems. The martyrdom school of motherhood hold informal competitions on how difficult bf has been for each of them - the more cracked nipples, the less sleep, the more starving and screaming the baby, the more bullying the medical profession and family, the more of a triumph it is to bf regardless. But sod all that. Don't be scared, pregnant ladies. BF can be a doddle.

Right now, I feel more sad about stopping bf than I do about going back to work. I'd thought maybe to give a feed in the morning and one when I get home from work, but since he is still sleeping at 10am (despite going to bed at 8.30), and since I have to be in the office by 8am, it doesn't look like that is going to happen.


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