You may have seen in the news a couple of weeks ago that a mum claimed she was forced to stand up and breastfeed her child on a packed London train. Kate Hitchens, who is an Essex mum of two, told her followers on Instagram that no one offered her and her 6-month-old daughter a seat during their journey home from the city. Since the 32-year-old went on to share her story online, lots of mums have expressed their outrage at the incident with many, including myself, feeling really fed up with how ignorant the public can be when it’s comes to breastfeeding mothers.
Not everyone can understand the struggles of breastfeeding unless you’ve done it, doing it, or have done a shed load of research because you plan on doing it. So, in celebration of breastfeeding mums everywhere, and of course the ones whose lives are made harder on public transport just like Kate’s was, I share 8 things you’ll know if you’re a breastfeeding mum.
1. It can hurt
Whether you have had a smooth sailing breastfeeding journey, or struggled in the beginning (or even still do) we should all be in agreement that breastfeeding isn’t always physically pleasant. Whether your breasts are continuously sore and achey or your little one decides to bite down, breastfeeding isn’t always a lovely experience and can be painful for many mums.
2. It’s hard work
It’s not an easy ride and it can be very demanding. Lots of babies cluster feed, which can be really tiring- you’ll know if your baby is cluster feeding as all you will feel like you’re doing is breastfeeding.
3. Leaks will happen
Any time, anywhere. And sometimes not in the most convenient of places. You’ve probably got quite a few breast pads floating around your bag, or to save on cost, you might have tried a couple of good old cotton wool pads!
4. When you find the right bra- it’s a game changer
Out with the old and in with the new for your underwear drawer and there is nothing better than finding a bra that fits properly while you’re breastfeeding. Opting for one with no underwire and lots of comfort and support is a must. And you will know that those few extra pounds you’ve spent on a quality one this time will be so worth it.
5. You either take to a breast pump or you don’t
You will know some mums who swear by their breast pumps and other mums who have to spend a whole day with theirs just get an ounce (me). And then there are other mums who would rather sit and manually express (not me). Either way- you’ll know it’s about what works for you.
6. Sometimes your nipples are flat
If your nipples are flat or inverted it can make it difficult for your baby to latch on which can be quite stressful. You may want to try breast shields for a short time only or you could try pumping milk as that can also help draw out your nipples.
7. Early letdowns can happen at anytime
You’ll know that early letdowns happen during the first few moments of your baby feeding but you’ll also know that they can also happen randomly at the supermarket, in the shower, or even at the sound of your baby’s cry. It’s definitely quite a strange sensation at first!
8. It’s a beautiful thing
Full of ups and downs, your breastfeeding experience is completely unique to you and your baby Despite your struggles, breastfeeding is a journey and a beautiful one at that!