I'm not going to pretend that I wasn't a little anxious about trying breastfeeding again.. so many times throughout pregnancy I nearly changed my mind and thought I'd go for bottle feeding instead as to me it almost felt like the 'safe' decision. Safe in the fact that I wouldn't have to worry about any pain or not bonding with Aria as I did with Sienna.
With Sienna, I breastfed her for 2 weeks and to be honest, it was 2 weeks of hell. I was never shown how to latch her correctly and basically had no clue what I was doing, so her latch was wrong the whole time, meaning that the day after she was born, my nipples were extremely sore and cracked and within another few days, were actually dripping with blood when I tried to feed her.
The pain got so bad I would cry my eyes out at the thought of having to put her on my boob and cry the whole time she was feeding. In the end I just starting refusing to feed her or even hold her as she was causing me so much pain and I was feeling resentment towards her. In hindsight, I should have given up before it got to that point but I felt so much guilt towards bottle feeding I felt I couldn't.
This time, we decided I would give it another go now that I had done more research on latching correctly as it is the best option for the baby but we also decided that we would switch to bottle feeding the second it got too painful or I felt I wasn't bonding with the baby as a new mum should be.
Before I had even fed Aria for the first time, the amazing student midwife gave me a little 5 minute talk about feeding, how to latch and what to look for when she's latched correctly or incorrectly. It honestly helped SO much and made me more confident to really try again. I tried to forget about my experience with Sienna and start from scratch again.
The first few times I fed Aria, I made sure to focus on the latch and took her off if it hurt and tried again until it felt better. I soon learnt how to get her to latch so it didn't hurt and was amazed (and still am) that you can actually feed without it hurting.
We are now on day 4 and it is still going strong. I have minimal pain (apart from the first few sucks which I've been told is normal), no cracking, blisters or bleeding and I am actually enjoying breastfeeding and I feel it has bonded Aria and I even closer. I am proud of myself already!
There are a few products that have really helped me in these first few days, one being the Lansinoh lanolin cream. Back in November, Lansinoh got in touch to ask if I was interested in reviewing their breastfeeding products with the new baby and after being recommended the Lansinoh lanolin cream so many times from different people, I decided they were a brand I'd love to try.
They were extremely generous and sent me all the supplies you could need for breastfeeding; the 2in1 breast pump, a NaturalWave bottle, storage bags, nursing pads and of course, the lanolin cream. With Sienna, I used a nipple cream but I didn't go for the Lansinoh as it was more expensive however after using it this time, I would highly, highly recommend it. I feel it has made a world of difference and works much better than any cheaper alternatives. It is so soothing when my nipples are starting to get a bit sore and just keeps them nice and soft and moisturised so they don't crack.
Now my milk has come in, I have had a few episodes of dripping milk everywhere so I am using the nursing pads as well and they are working great. They are thin, keep my tops nice and dry and stay in place with the 2 non-slip adhesive tapes.
I haven't used any of the other products yet however I am looking forward to trying the breast pump and the bottle and will report back when I do so. I do love breastfeeding however I think if we make it to 6 weeks, I might try and express a little bit, just so Warren can join in with one feed or something a day/night as he has actually said he misses being able to help and feeding her as he really enjoyed it with Sienna.
Something else that has been invaluable to my breastfeeding experience is my Thrupenny bits breastfeeding pillow. It is nice and small so is more portable than bigger pillows, it's even easy to use in the car and not to mention it has a gorgeous floral print. The main feature I love about this pillow in particular though is that it has ties so you can tie it around you. It makes such a big difference as you can secure the pillow in exactly the right position you need it and it doesn't move around. It is also more comfortable for Aria to lie on, rather than me just holding her, especially as we use the 'football hold'. I have even mastered hands free feeding with it so I can catch up on work or a much needed coffee. It's been a bit of a lifesaver and a definite must have!
I feel like this feeding experience is a lot more positive already but I will just see how it goes up until the 2 week mark I got too with Sienna. I will then do another update probably to let you know how it's been!
Do you have any top breastfeeding tips for me?
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