You have finally made it beyond the letter-box with your newborn. You are feeling pretty proud of yourself for getting out and about between feeds, poos and spews and you even have your own shirt on the right way round. But then some dear old lady spies your little ‘freshie’ and as she peers into your pram, she can’t resist asking, ‘is he a good baby?’
Then that dreaded next question, ‘does he sleep all night?’
Suddenly you are hit by a wave of self-doubt. You wonder, ‘should my baby be sleeping longer? This isn’t helped by all the baby sleep programs advertising how to teach your baby to sleep ‘all night’. Especially when you read that babies can sleep 8 hours or 12 hours or whatever is being promised. Or that you can expect your baby to give you a full night’s sleep when he is just a few weeks old – if you just follow the right ‘method’.
Firstly, ‘all night’
If you haven’t yet had your baby, now is the time to plan beyond a fancy nursery that your baby won’t be moving into just yet anyway and plan for a calm, stress free ‘babymoon’. Think, a babymoon is like a honeymoon for you, your partner and your new baby as you all adjust to this big new world. A huge factor in planning a gentle babymoon for your growing family (whether this is your first baby, or you already have other children), is to create a support team.
A supportive partner is a huge factor in your breastfeeding success so first up, discuss with your partner how they can support you: taking time off work, censoring visitors, allowing you to rest, feeding you and being positive about breastfeeding – never asking ‘are you sure you have enough milk?’
Your support circle
Next, consider your wider support circle: surround yourself with
Congratulations! Here you are, gazing at your amazing newborn, completely overawed and overwhelmed at the prospect of nurturing and nourishing this little being. breastfeeding your baby feels like a huge responsibility, you desperately want to make this work but you have heard all sorts of stories about how difficult it can be.
The thing to remember is that although breastfeeding is natural, it is a skill that you and your tiny baby will be learning together as you get to know each other. As you practice, you will find it get easier and soon, you will find breastfeeding the natural intuitive experience it is meant to be. Here are some tips to help you through the first three days.
When you really think about it, breastfeeding is pretty bloody amazing.
After a woman gives birth, on cue her post-birth hormones kick in, telling her body to produce breastmilk – the perfect amount at the perfect temperature.
It’s also the ultimate portable on-the-go snack, has countless health benefits for both mums and babies, and the rush of oxytocin (the ‘love hormone’) stimulated by breastfeeding helps to promote a special bond between mum and baby.
From the practical to the magical, real mums shared with us what they love most about breastfeeding.
Your baby is completely portable and so is his food source if you are breastfeeding. This can make travel with a little one much easier and safer than contending with potentially unsafe sources of infant food, formula and water. It’s also much easier not to have to carry feeding equipment and premixed formula on top of the ‘basic’ baby gear.
If you are planning to travel with your breastfed baby, you may have some anxiety about how this will work in actual practice. So here are a few simple things you can do to enjoy the experience without stress for you or your baby.
You are exhausted, you are recovering from growing and birthing your beautiful baby. And no, he doesn't sleep ‘all night ‘ yet (in infant sleep studies ‘all night’ is defined as five hours).
If even five uninterrupted hours sleep sounds like a dream come true and the pressure to ‘teach’ your baby to sleep for much longer right from the early days has you doubting your mothering skills, your milk supply and your baby’s ‘goodness’ take heart.Your baby isn't being a dick if he wakes every couple of hours through the night wanting a boob.
Check out these five fun facts you need to know about night time feeds – they will settle all those niggling doubts and help you believe in your self, your baby and your boobs.
As you sit and gaze into your baby’s eyes while you nourish your little one with your sweet warm milk consider, you are saving precious resources that cost the earth – literally.
This isn’t about shaming mums who for whatever reasons do use infant formula, it’s about acknowledging that if we gave more support to women who want to breastfeed, we could have a significant impact on the environment.
You may have noticed the topic of ‘donor milk’ pop up in your news feed while scrolling through your socials. If you are yet to give birth to your first baby, or you are not familiar with contemporary milk sharing practices, you might find the whole concept a bit…weird. And you could be forgiven for thinking that way, as there is a certain degree of stigma attached to human milk donation. This is mainly due to the fact that we exist in culture which has normalised animal milk consumption, the use of infant formal, and the sexualisation of women’s breasts.
After those big fat super pads and mesh undies that are a necessary postnatal ‘thing’, discovering that breastfeeding can delay the return of your periods is a welcome bonus.
This period free time though, varies among individual women. Most mothers who continue to breastfeed will resume periods between nine and eighteen months after birth. However, while some lucky ladies can go a year or more without a glimpse of Aunty Flo, others can find her visiting within just a few weeks.