Saturday, 21 May 2016

Sharing is caring - Supporting breastfeeding Mamas.

So this week saw the 'Big breastfeeding cafe' campaign with Medela, an initiative to help breastfeeding Mamas out there feel supported, get tips from others or even share their own. Hundreds of mamas across the UK uniting in what is such a powerful movement to normalise each of our breastfeeding journeys, and get talking to one another, share problems and not only that - but to celebrate how magical it can be!

I've written recently about our journey so far feeding our fourth baby, its been a tough few weeks but I finally think we've overcome the worst part - hopefully. In these posts, along with others I've written on this topic, i've expressed how I've felt in each of my feeding journeys, that they've all been tough at some point, but equally amazing. This along with the wonderful support I received from friends, and my local baby cafe. So for me, I would highly recommend attending your local Baby Cafe, (I even did the peer support training back in 2013 as I felt so passionate about it) I would also say that even though times can get extremely hard, know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but to try and not get yourself down when it seems a bit pear-shaped. How you choose to feed your baby is your choice, happy mama = happy baby and vice versa but I personally have the biggest amount of gratitude for being able to feed my four babies and its something I will cherish forever. 

So for the Breastfeeding cafe, I wasn't able to host this time or attend, but I did make a batch of super breastfeeding flapjack to have with a cup of tea, while asking my friends about this topic. I got some great information from them about their experiences which i've shared below and I will continue to support others and hopefully get the chance to host a cafe soon. I will also be sharing the Medela tester products i recieved to give some of my new Mama friends too.
"I would say that breastfeeding my second baby was the most amazing experience. It made our bond so much stronger. And I'm so proud that I managed it for 18/19 months. There will be hard times but pushing through makes it all worth it. Remember that a lot of health professionals aren't trained in breastfeeding support so going to baby cafes, or taking advice from friends who have experienced feeding is definitely the best way of getting it right."
- Charlotte, Mama to two. 

"I was very lucky, I had no problems feeding my four. At one point with Scarlett, I did have mastitis which was painful but preserved and got through it thankfully. Honestly at times with my first baby, breastfeeding got me down, I used to hide away at family events to feed her and even in restaurant toilets, then with my second my fears went and I happily fed her anywhere! I fed both of them until they were 6 months because I hate to say it now but I wanted to be me again found it lonely sometimes. We did express so Steve could do the odd bottle feed which helped. When feeding my other children, it was slightly different that I had made the decision to feed Lexi until she was one. I think this was mainly due to her being poorly so young and our breastfeeding journey nearly being over at a week old as she was tube fed for a few days. We didn't know whether she would latch on again so it was emotional when she did. Certain family members frowned upon the fact that I fed her and Frankie until they were both one but it's what I wanted so their comments didn't matter! When I was coming to the end of feeding our last baby, I felt quite emotional about it, the closeness you have and that bond is magical! My tips: Don't give up supportive partner helped me, don't be afraid just remember it's natural, don't worry about the negative opinions, & don't put too much pressure on yourself.
- Heidi, Mama to four.

"I always remember the first time I fed my boy, I thought 'wow this feels easy' and it didn't hurt when I expected it would. However over time it became so unbelievably painful and my nipples actually went like black. I used to feel really nervous every time he'd need a feed and I'd wince with pain every time he started sucking to draw the nipple out, that was the most painful. BUT I persevered and it did get better, it became so it didn't hurt at all and I did it for 7months, as well as some formula from a bottle to top him up as he was a big boy. My Mum always says how proud she is of me for carrying on with the breastfeeding when everyone could see how much pain I was in, they thought I would just give up but I didn't. I would say to anyone to give breastfeeding a go at least, as it is an amazing thing to be able to do. Even when the going gets tough and your in pain and want to give up just know that it WILL and DOES get easier. It is just your body adapting to something new, I mean your nipples must think 'Woah what's going on!' when you have a hungry baby sucking on them constantly! That being said, I also respect people who choose not to breastfeed as it isn't for everyone and that no one should feel 'pressured' into it."
- Nicola, Mama to one.

"I would of loved to of breastfed but Tillie was tongue tied so she really hurt me, then she wasn't gaining weight due to a urine infection, so the doctors put her on formula. To be honest, the medical staff were horrid to me, the doctor said that I was her mother and I should be breastfeeding her no matter how much it hurt, that I was letting her down. This didn't help at all being combined with the fact that I had post-natal depression at the time. So for me, lack of sympathetic support didn't help. With my second baby, I lost confidence, I probably should of got help but had too much of a bad experience with my first that it ruined it for me, they where close in age so the memories were pretty fresh from the first time. With this little man I would love to try feeding, but I'm not going to put pressure on myself. I  do find a lot of judgemental people out there about breastfeeding in public which makes me feel very uncomfortable, but I will give it a go. 
Caroline, Mama to two & expecting number 3.

I'm so proud to be working with Medela this year, not only to talk about, & share our breastfeeding journey but to hopefully inspire others to see that its such a normal journey to be on. despite having some extrememly tough stages in each of my feeding chapters, I'm so glad that I sought after the right support, found it and persevered and thanks to BumpPR for getting me involved.
Please do check out the Medela Facebook page where lots of other people have shared their cafe experience, or simply supporting the event. 
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