#TheBigBreastfeedingCafe 2016 With Medela

 If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that yesterday was the day of The Big Breastfeeding Cafe hosted by lots of breastfeeding mums across the UK with Medela. As an ambassador of the brand, I obviously took part to celebrate the beauty and importance of breastfeeding.

I actually talk about breastfeeding a lot and some people are probably sick of my BF talk, but with the low numbers of mums in the UK breastfeeding their babies, it is even more important to educate and encourage the nation to breastfeed. 

As someone who struggled with establishing my supply with both babies, I know how hard breastfeeding can be. I've been there. Bleeding nipples, agonising pain every time baby wants to latch on, hungry screams etc. In some cases, this is the reality for weeks or even months, but for most mums, after a rough couple of days, it all works out and it's just smooth sailing, cuddles, bonding and a lot of endorphins that make you and baby happy and content. It's just incredible and words cannot describe the feeling. I thought it would be nice to include some breastfeeding stories in this post, which also starts a series I want to continue on the blog, where breastfeeding mums talk about their experience. If you want to share your story, please email me at contact@theblackpearlblog.com

Today I have two stories to share with you. The first one is from Dawn, who I love chatting to on instagram, mum to a gorgeous little angel Piper, who's the same age as Mia. The second story was shared by my sister Marta, who is a mum to my lovely niece Klara.

I always knew I wanted to breastfeed if I could. Piper was put to my breast as soon as she was born and she latched on straight away. I remember the cross-eyed feeling of those first few days when she used to suck, thankfully I had a friend who told me it was totally normal and would die down-which it did. 

My milk came through on day 3 and hasn't stopped. In the early days I made a concerted effort to drink plenty of water and I ate LOTS of porridge to make sure I had enough milk. I absolutely LOVE the feeling of closeness that breastfeeding brings, and the way that you can calm an upset baby with just a little boobie milk-AND it's such a relief knowing I can feed her anywhere and anytime. 

She's ten months now and I'm planning to start weaning at 1 year, adding in some cows milk each week until she weans, I'm in no rush for her to stop but I'm hoping that maybe she'll start sleeping for longer at night etc once weaned? Anyway.... I LOOOVE breastfeeding and will definitely do it again with future babies!

When I first started thinking about trying for a baby, I knew that I will do everything I can to breastfeed for as long as possible. Formula feeding wasn't an option and I kept that in my mind throughout my pregnancy. Klara was put to the breast as soon as she was born. All the emotions, the stress of a traumatic labour and other drama didn't let me focus on the latch and perfecting the feeding positions etc, but I remember my doctor telling me that 'Klara is a genius and she latched on like a pro'. I thought, wow... breastfeeding should be a breeze then... 

Unfortunately, it wasn't as easy as I hoped for, because while still in the hospital, the latch wasn't really that good and now I know that it was due to me not positioning her correctly. Result? My nipples started to hurt and bleed a bit. Sometimes,the pain was unbearable but I knew that I had to persevere and that things will get better. Luckily, the pain didn't last long (less than a week) and Klara figured it all out and it all came naturally. 

For the first 3 months, I fed her on demand, as recommended and it went great. She was putting on weight and was pretty content. Unfortunately, at 3 months old Klara ended up in the hospital with a serious case of gastroenteritis and I was told to try feeding her on a schedule, if possible. Since then, the schedule thing worked well most of the time, but at 4 months my milk supply started to dwindle and I was advised to top up with formula. Klara didn't even want to take the bottle and I didn't like the idea of formula top-ups, so I tried to boost my supply. I drank non-alcoholic beer recommended for lactating mums and believe it or not, but it helped! I also have to thank my partner, who was very supportive and made sure I could focus on breastfeeding and put Klara to the breast as often as possible.

After a while, my milk supply increased and Klara was satisfied again, which was a big relief. I seem to be producing a perfect amount for her ever since, as I don't leak anymore. The first few months were quite funny, as I would leak milk when I thought about Klara, or leak from the opposite boob while nursing. It is a bit weird, haha! :) Before I became a mum, I thought it was a myth :)

Breastfeeding isn't only a lovely and incredible experience, but it is also very convenient and free! Seeing some of my friends complaining about making up night feeds and sleepless nights, I really appreciate the gift of breastfeeding nature gave us! If Klara wakes up for a night feed, I just whip my boobie out and she starts nursing. Dream feeds are such a blessing! Well rested baby, well rested mama, whether we nurse once, or five times a night. Amazing! I can honestly say, that she never fully wakes up in the middle of the night, she just stirs a bit when she needs a feed ad sometimes just a little cuddle will do. She usually sleeps for 12h, which is great!

Klara is now 14 months old and she's been breastfed exclusively since birth. I am not planning to stop breastfeeding anytime soon, as both me and Klara absolutely love it and it is the most incredible bonding experience for mum and baby.


YAY! Huge thanks to Dawn and Marta for sharing their stories. I really want to include more positive experiences on the blog, as they are the reality for many mums! Yes, sore nipples happen to almost everyone at the beginning, but that's usually over within a week, so if you keep going, you will be rewarded with lots of amazing feeds afterwards.

As mentioned before, if you would like to be featured in this series, please contact me at contact@theblackpearlblog.com

Sandra xxx

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