One in 200. That’s how many women in the UK are still breastfeeding after a year, putting me among the 0.5% of mums who still are.
The figure is the lowest in world but this post isn’t about that – having given up my dream job to breastfeed I’ve written about why I think UK breastfeeding rates are so low before. It’s a positive post about the good things they don’t tell you from a mama who loves breastfeeding.
I’ve exclusively breastfed all three of my babies and if you’re a regular follower of the blog you’ll know I work with breastfeeding experts Medela as a #MedelaMum doing my little bit to champion the cause.
With Littlest B now turned one and the owner of six teeth and a pair of feet she’s about to walk on I thought it’s time for a little update on my last post – six things I learnt in six months of exclusive breastfeeding – with the truth about breastfeeding at one.
The truth about breastfeeding at one
1. The day no longer revolves around your breasts. At first everything is in anticipation of, and planned around, the next feed, and if you’re pumping to boost milk supply or because you’re going back to work there’s all that to contend with too. Throw in cluster feeding and it can feel like the whole day revolves around your breasts. But fast forward 12 months and you don’t even think about the next feed, you just do it. Have boobs, will travel.
2. You can ditch the pads. It’s hardly surprising so many women feel so low after having a baby when you’re leaking from both ends and padded up to the nines with big knickers and breast pads. But once feeding is established you’ll suddenly find you don’t need the breast pads any more – and wonder what on earth to do with the rest of the pack you have left. Coasters, anyone?
3. You don’t even notice them latch on. In the beginning it’s all about the latch: are they on right? Is their bottom lip folded back like it should be? Is there the correct amount of space between their nose and the top of your boob? Do you need to ‘break the seal’ and latch them on again? Now you’re both seasoned pros you don’t even think about it.
4. Your old friends are back. I’m talking about your boobs, as opposed to the humongous, angry, hard, vein-speckled mammaries that appear as soon as your milk comes in. Each of mine were the size of my baby’s head at first, but somewhere between month six and 12 they return to their normal size – and you can return to normal bras.
5. No-one’s looking. It’s true the majority of stories in the media about breastfeeding are negative ones focusing on breastfeeding in public – indeed I’ve even helped fuel the debate by going on TV defending my right to breastfeed in the pub – but the truth is, no-one’s looking. In the early days, if you’ve never done it before or you haven’t done it in a while, it’s easy to feel like the eyes of the world are on you if you need to whip them out in public. But in reality the majority of people don’t even realise you’re doing it, and if they do the chances are they’re silently praising you for it.
What I’m trying to say is, that if you’re six days or six weeks or six months in and padded up to the nines with breast pads over boobs the size of boulders while wrestling with breast pump tubes and planning your day around the next feed it won’t always be like this. It does get better. Honest!
Did you breastfeed any of your babies or support a partner who did? Can you relate to any of these? I’d love to know which ones!