Friday, 6 December 2013

Bringing Up Paleo Baby: Breastfeeding

Knitted breastfeeding aid.

Lil' T is now 5 and a half months old and we are just starting to think about introducing solids. The plan is to go with baby-led weaning, but that is a whole different story. So far, the only food Lil' T has had is breast milk.

I knew from the start that I wanted to breastfeed even without the pro-breastfeeding propaganda I was bombarded with. Among other things, they (midwives, NCT, lactation consultants, etc) tell you that your baby will have higher IQ and better immune system. As a breastfeeding mother, you will supposedly be less likely to get breast cancer and you'll lose that dreaded baby weight quicker. For me it was all about giving Lil' T the milk that was specially designed for her and to be honest, bottles seemed like a hassle.

So, what has my breastfeeding experience been like in North London? Well, the first month was pretty traumatic. It started with the beautiful experience of skin to skin in the hospital, but then I was 'helped' by a midwife who manhandled my boob into Lil' T's mouth. Oh well, at least that got us going. The whole latch thing was tricky though, so feeding soon became painful. But nothing had prepared me for day three when the proper milk came in. I was a crying mess. Not only did breastfeeding affect me physically, but emotionally too. I thought I was supposed to love the special bonding!!!

My milk has been free flowing since that day three (how lucky I am to constantly have wet clothes and smell of milk), but Lil'T didn't seem to want to be any kinder to my nipples. So, being a complete novice, I sought expert advice: midwives, lactation consultants and even a paediatrician to check whether she was tongue tied. No one could help and it was a really stressful and emotional time. If I had not really wanted this for my daughter and been incredibly stubborn, I don't think I would have persevered. In the end, my mother gave me the best advice: to stop worrying and just let it come naturally. And eventually, it did.

For the last couple of months, it has actually been easy. Lil' T is thriving, her food is readily available and I have got used to choosing clothes with easy access. I have not had any bad experiences of feeding in public and I have tried most places: restaurants, cafés, trains, park benches, airport lounges, airplanes, cinema, yoga class, doctor's waiting room...

I am really excited about Lil' T starting on solids, but at the same time, I am sad that the beautiful time we spend together will eventually come to an end. Luckily, that won't be for a few months yet and maybe I will be ready when the time comes.

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