A letter to new breastfeeding mums

Dear new mummy,

Congratulations, your little baby is here. Well done you for choosing to breastfeed, you are about to start an incredible, emotional, rollercoaster journey. I am writing this letter to you to tell you what breastfeeding is really like. All the things your midwife has purposefully forgottten to tell you about I will share with you now. I don’t wish to put you off but it is good to be prepared for what is to come. Before I go any further let me just say, if in these early days you find breastfeeding is not for you after all, try not to beat yourself up about it. It is your decision how you choose to feed your baby and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. So, let’s get to it – the truth about breastfeeding.

The very first time you feed your baby may pass by in a bit of blur. You will still be running high on adrenaline and whatever pain relief you used during labour. The attention of the midwife will have switched to the opposite end of your body, she may now be trying to guide your nipple into your baby’s mouth instead of putting her hands ‘down there’ trying to feel the baby’s head, as she was doing only moments ago.

Don’t let this drug fueled first feed fool you, breastfeeding hurts. I wish this part wasn’t true but it is. I used to hold both my breath and my husbands hand for the first 10 seconds of every feed in those early days. The pain is not unbearable though, invest in some nipple cream and have lots of warm flannels at the ready. Once your baby is happily latched on the pain subsides and there is nothing quite like looking down at your newborns face, enjoyng the milk only you can give them.

In a couple days time something weird will happen, you will wake up and your boobs are going to be full to burst. When this happened to me I cried, a lot. Up until this day you have been feeding your baby colostrum (or ‘liquid gold’ as the midwives call it), now for some stupid reason, all you milk has decided to collect in your boobs at once. You and baby now have the scary task in front of you of sorting out your supply. This is not as difficult as it may seem, I promise. The best way to relieve the pain of your milk coming in is to feed your baby. It will probably be the last thing you want, a tiny mouth sucking on your over sensitive breast, but it will help with the pressure and will help your body to figure out its supply.

The next few weeks will pass by in a blur of night feeds, visitors, films and countless cups of undrunk, cold tea. Slowly but surely you and your baby will start getting a hang of things and by 6 weeks you should be starting to feel a lot more comfortable about this whole breastfeeding thing. You are likely to spend most of these early weeks sat on the sofa just in a nursing bra – this is great for skin to skin bonding with you baby, not so good for shareable mummy and baby photoographs.

Your boobs are going to develop a mind of there own and they will probably try and embarrass you on a daily basis. Showering becomes a risky game, warm water and full breasts do not mix well; sometimes you will leave the shower feeling dirtier than when you went in. Just when you think your supply has settled down, you will be feeding your baby and the other boob will get bored and decide to be funny. I learnt the hard way, always pack a spare bra, breast pads and top when leaving the house!

Breastfeeding in public, it’s something you probably stressed loads about when you were pregnant but it just takes a bit of getting used to. The double vest top method was a firm favourite of mine and I found it to be more discreet than attempting to hide my baby under a blanket. At the end of the day, breastfeeding is natural and if anyone tries to say anything to you then they are obviously stupid idiots. Please don’t ever feel you should hide away and feed your baby in a toilet, no one should be made to do that. You have every right to breastfeed your baby in public and although it’s daunting at first it really does get easier.

It is likely you are about to develop an appetite leaving you convinced you could actually eat a horse, and them some. This was a shock to me, in the first month or so of breastfeeding I was eating twice as much as when I was pregnant. If you are one of the lucky ones, breastfeeding will become the easiest diet you have ever been on. Although you may be eating more than ever, your baby will be stealing all your extra calories and loosing that mummy tum may turn out to not be so difficult after all.

You and your baby are going to share some lovely special moments over the coming days,weeks,months and maybe even years. Try and treasure as much of this time as you can. I have so many fond memories of feeding my son: he used to grab my belly as a new born, stroke my face once his arms were long enough and twiddle my hair. Sometimes I would tickle him and he would giggle as he fed. If you are struggling with feeding now and it is all scary and new, just think of all the lovely moments you have to look forward to.

There are probably going to be days where it all feels too much and you just want to switch to bottle feeding. Your baby may have been attached to you all day and fed all night but they are still crying, this doesn’t mean you are doing anything wrong, babies just can be awkward sometimes.

When the day comes and you decide your breastfeeding journey is over, don’t feel guilty. Be proud of what you have achieved, even if you only breastfeed your baby once today and decide that’s it, you have still given your baby something amazing. If, like myself, you have a happy, successful feeding relationship with your baby, when the last feed has ended you will feel both sad and proud. You will be sad you will no longer have this special time with your baby but you will look at your growing child, so much bigger than they are now on their first day, and think..

‘Wow, those chubbly little cheeks and dimply thighs, chunky wrists and sparkly eyes – my boobs did that. Go me, I’m awesome!’


Once it is all over, you will miss it. You may not think that now as you struggle to get feeding started, or in a few days time when your nipples are hurting, but one day you will miss it. As your toddler sits drinking a beaker of cows milk, a year on from your last feed, you will remember your breastfeeding journey and smile.

Wendy x 

The Twinkle Diaries

MaternityMondays
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23 Comments

  1. June 9, 2015 / 1:51 pm

    Awwww … a lovely letter with tons of good info! O yes, it hurts, like no one can't quite capture it. I don't know if it hurts for everyone in those early days but it did me; and I really really struggled. But hey, we made it through and we're still going strong at almost 16 months. I know it's not everyone's cup of tea but it's a real treat for me and I hope my little one doesn't self wean before I'm ready.

    Really helpful post for first time mums about breastfeeding, especially if it's their cup of tea. #TwinklyTuesday

  2. June 9, 2015 / 6:19 pm

    I love that 'I did that' feeling, it's so special. I'm now feeding my second baby and it has been a different experience. I did have issues early on and felt like giving up. I'm glad I didn't. It is an emotional rollercoaster though! #TwinklyTuesday

  3. June 9, 2015 / 8:58 pm

    I'm back again … thanks for checking out #BreastfeedingandI; I've made the badge code case wider to make the code easier to grab. Alternatively you can just just link back without the badge. Teething problems for me to sort. 🙂

  4. June 9, 2015 / 9:18 pm

    Love it! It is a great feeling – I am still feeding my girl – she loves it so much and I can't bear to stop – partly because we struggled so much to get it going!

  5. June 11, 2015 / 12:40 pm

    Great post Wendy. No-one tells you about how emotional you feel when the milk comes in! I got the heads up from my bestie — good job too or I would have thought I was losing the plot! Thanks so much for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday — hope to see you again next week! x

    Caro | http://www.thetwinklediaries.co.uk

  6. June 12, 2015 / 4:25 pm

    To still be going at 16 months is amazing. Leo stopped at 10 months, neither us wanted to carry on. It was much easier us both being ready to stop. Thanks for reading, I hope someone out there finds it helpful xx

  7. June 12, 2015 / 4:27 pm

    It's definitely an emotional rollercoaster, I was not prepared for it at all. I always wonder what feeding a second child would be like, whether it would be easier or just as challenging? Thanks for reading xx

  8. June 12, 2015 / 4:28 pm

    I still can't copy it, boo :(. I will add a link to your blog at the bottom of my post instead.xx

  9. June 12, 2015 / 4:30 pm

    It is an amazing feeling isn't it?!It is hard to stop when you have put so much effort in to it.xx

  10. June 12, 2015 / 4:33 pm

    Ohh it's good someone let you know, I had no clue and I spent pretty much a whole morning crying..stupid hormones!Won't be linking up next week as I'm off on my holidays but I'll be linking up again soon.Thanks for hosting xx

  11. June 13, 2015 / 3:57 am

    Yeah, it's really important for each 'breastfeeding couple' to be happy in the 'breastfeeding relationship'; otherwise, it becomes a right chore and a resentful experience. Lovely that you stopped when it suited both of you. I'm glad I'm still glad to carry on because my little man is definitely not ready to stop yet. 🙂

    Thanks so much for linking with #BreastfeedingandI

  12. June 13, 2015 / 3:59 am

    Sorry about this; I'll look into it again. Not sure why it's not letting you copy it; and only one linker seems to have copied it right. It's okay if you don't have time to link back. Have a lovely weekend. 🙂

  13. June 13, 2015 / 7:32 am

    What a great font of information! I hadn't realized that breastfeeding would take more calories than pregnancy. I had thought that I was eating for three when I was expecting, but once I was breastfeeding, WOW could I eat! I was really surprised by how uninformed the hospital LC was about nursing twins. If I hadn't done my research beforehand, I would have thought it was impossible and given up before I even started! Thanks for linking with #TwinklyTuesday.

  14. July 27, 2015 / 11:58 am

    I love this post! It is fab and I will share it on my Twitter if that's ok? You summed up exactly how it was for me. Lovely, painful, knackering and just beautiful xx #maternitymondays

  15. July 27, 2015 / 1:24 pm

    What a beautiful post, and all very true. I am currently feeding my 7 week old and it hasn't been an easy ride at all so far. But I know I will miss it when we are done. #maternitymondays

  16. July 27, 2015 / 1:39 pm

    Aww I'm glad you enjoyed reading it and a share is always appreciated. Yes, it's one crazy ride isn't it?!xx

  17. July 27, 2015 / 1:40 pm

    Thank you :). Aww 7 weeks, wow so tiny! I bet any money you'll miss it, even though it's hard sometimes. I miss sleepy milk drunk face the most xx

  18. July 27, 2015 / 1:42 pm

    I know, I ate non stop when I was feeding. I bet breastfeeding twins was a challenge, amazing that you did it though and I'm sure it was really rewarding xx

  19. July 27, 2015 / 9:41 pm

    Great post. So glad there is so much support for new mums out there #maternitymondays

  20. July 27, 2015 / 10:23 pm

    What a beautiful and supporting post 🙂

  21. July 30, 2015 / 9:01 pm

    Thank you 🙂

  22. July 30, 2015 / 9:02 pm

    Thanks for reading 🙂 I had great support at the start and would no way of been able to get through the hard times without it xx

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