Being a mom is no easy task. Just when we feel like the hard part is over (giving birth), the real work has only just begun.
Breastfeeding takes patience, time and lots of practice. A mothers love is like no other. And it’s a tough job beginning from day one when you’re recovering from birth, sleep deprived and having to wake up every 2 hours to breastfeed your new little nursling.
Meet nursing mama, Rachel Maree, a mother of two turned mompreneuer at Freelance Writer For You, as she shares her unique experience with breastfeeding through our interview.
Discover her journey through breastfeeding, the challenges she’s had to overcome, advice to new moms and her loving bond she’s built with her children.
What were your thoughts about breastfeeding before you began?
I was determined to exclusively breast feed my baby for at least 18months. From reading the Australian Breastfeeding Association booklet, and my general knowledge (or lack of) I thought it would be easy peasy. After all, isn’t it meant to be the most natural thing in the world? I thought it would be exactly like those photos you see everywhere of the beautiful, relaxed, smiling mum breastfeeding her gorgeous baby who is looking up at her with adoring eyes. The reality is a lot different!
Why did you decide to breastfeed?
I decided to breastfeed because I believed that “breast is best”. I am now a firm believer in “fed is best”. If that is breastmilk, formula or combination. I also wanted that bonding time of skin to skin contact and the milk drunk cuddles. I think the bonding time is just as important as the feed.
What was your biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge initially was my milk took a long time to come in. I had a long labour, and I was emotionally and physically exhausted. My son was hungry, and I refused to give him formula because its “bad”. At my home visit from the midwife she persuaded me to give one bottle of formula (my hubby had bought it the day before to try help me, but I had till then refused to even look at it). I had to get my husband to give him the bottle as it upset me too much. My son guzzled the whole bottle. As soon as I saw how settled he became after it, I felt even ore guilty. I had been starving my baby because I was to stubborn to admit when I needed help. The next day my milk came in….and with a vengeance! I was spurting like a fire hose. I believe seeing my son full and satisfied, and not harmed by the “evil” formula meant I could relax and take the stress off myself enough that my milk was able to come through. In the end he only needed 2 bottles out of the whole tin of formula and I was able to successfully breastfeed him until 15months old.
What is a piece of advice you’d offer to other mothers who are struggling with breastfeeding?
The biggest piece of advice I would give to mothers who are struggling with breastfeeding is to try not to stress. Being your babies sole source of food until they start solids is intimidating and puts so much pressure on you, however there are a lot of support services out there and fellow mums who can help you out. Do not be afraid to ask for help.
How do you feel about weaning? Will you wean when your ready? When baby’s ready or at a certain age?
I learnt that weaning wasn’t up to me. It was up to my son. He gave up when he was ready. It was bittersweet. I was sad that he stopped, but happy to have my body back too.
What will you remember the most about breastfeeding?
What I remember most about breastfeeding is the comfort and love I got from it. It was a two-way street. Your baby loves the security and closeness they have with you, but I got the same from them. The smell of their skin, the warmth of their little body curled up against you, and the absolute trust and love they give you. I loved the peaceful overnight feed (yes, crazy I know!). But there was something about the silence of 2am as you sit in the rocking chair with the little human you grew cuddling against you. It is making me teary thinking about it!
Thank you, Rachel for sharing your journey through breastfeeding your precious little babies.