It’s hard to believe that my daughter is 2 months old today! And on that note, can I get a high 5 for actually getting a blog post up?! (Yoh! Breastfeeding and having a baby are freaking demanding on your time!)
Looking back on the past few weeks, I’ve learned that:
- Most of the time, parents are winging it. Yes, even those people who look like they have it together.
- KB is a fantastic, hands-on dad. But I already knew that – he has 3 (adult) children. I panic about everything. I am not the person you want to be stuck in a lift with. He on the other hand is calm and reassuring. Even when I’m freaking out, and venting my frustration/the fact that I’m overwhelmed at him, he is there. Steady. Strong. Calm. He is my rock and I couldn’t have asked for a more present and involved dad to do this parenting gig with (because it is hard at times). I like to call him “The Baby Whisperer!”
- There is no such thing as the right time to quickly jump in the shower when you are home alone. The baby will always wake up as soon as you have shampoo in your hair.
- Poonami – it’s an actual thing.
- People with offspring take photos of them. All. The. Time. I never understood why. Now I do.
The truth about breastfeeding
Let’s talk about what I’ve learned about breastfeeding. Yes, I am becoming that person who talks about her boobs on the Internet. Sorry if boobs and breastfeeding aren’t your thing. But if you are having a baby or are adopting and plan on breastfeeding, here’s what you need to know:
The first few weeks of breastfeeding suck – pun not intended! Just because you have boobs doesn’t mean that breastfeeding is easy. But there is hope for cracked and bleeding nipples, sore and engorged boobs, and mastitis. Don’t be alarmed, help is more available than you think; I learned this the hard (and sore) way.
I had laser therapy on my nipples and it worked like a bomb. By day 2 of breastfeeding in the hospital there were cracks and bleeding (TMI? Sorry!). I only did 2 sessions – on day 2 and 3 after K was born and I highly recommend it. It didn’t cost the Earth either. The wonderful therapist I used only charged me R144.40 per session. Let me tell you, it was worth every penny!
I went for ultrasound on one of my breasts about 10 days after K was born. It got so engorged and rock hard that I wanted to cry. The therapist uses a special wand that emits sound waves into the breast tissue, breaking down the milk and restoring your sanity. Again, this didn’t cost me an arm and a leg (R295 for a consult and therapy session). I only needed one session and I was good as new. Relief was almost instant!
Haakaa breast pump
What nobody tells you is that while you are nursing with the one breast, the other one will leak like a tap (at least in my experience). This pump is useful to catch the let down milk of the breast you aren’t using. This little beauty also saved me from engorged breasts and still does when K sleeps longer than 4 hours. It’s discreet and easy to wash and sterilize. Plus it’s super affordable! It comes in 2 sizes: 100ml and 150ml. There’s a sucker on the base, so there won’t be any spilt milk if you accidentally knock it over on the counter.
I bought mine online at Faithful To Nature, but you can also buy it online from Hey Kiwi. It sucks onto your boob like a silicone limpet, leaving you hands free to hold the baby! It looks a bit ridiculous, but you won’t care when your boobs feel like they are about to explode, trust me. (FYI a limpet is a type of sea mollusc that you’ll find glued to the rocks.)
Due to all the milk collecting, there is more breast milk than actual food in our freezer. This means that even if I stop breastfeeding tomorrow, I still have almost a month’s supply. (Can you say “milk factory”? That’s what I currently feel like.) FYI, breast milk can be stored for 3-6 months in the freezer.
Cabbage is your friend. This underrated vegetable is a lifesaver. Don’t ask me how or why but cabbage leaves really do work. And cabbage is affordable, plus you can cook the rest that you don’t use! It’s win-win! Simply stick the cabbage in the fridge or bang some in the freezer. Stick inside your bra as needed… But be warned, the cabbage will cause the milk to leak out, so be prepared (the Haakaa pump is handy in this situation!). Also, be warned that using cabbage continuously can decrease your milk supply, so don’t use it 24/7 but rather as needed.
Breastfeeding definitely helps melt the weight you might have gained during pregnancy off. Perhaps I’m just fortunate, but I am already lighter than before I fell pregnant. Granted, I didn’t pick up much weight, roughly only 8kgs in total.
Breastfeeding clinics / Lactation consultants
If you are struggling, ask for help. I was fortunate to have a colleague/friend to ask for tips and help. But when it came down to it, I saw a lactation consultant. She is also a clinic sister and gave K her 6-week shots. (To vaccinate or not… Eish, what a contentious issue! But that’s a whole other can of worms.) The sister is available all the time and I can call or What’sApp her any questions or niggles I have – she’s pretty darn amazing, and she doesn’t charge crazy rates either… Only R135 for a 30min consult where I can ask her anything and she checks K’s weight and progress. So I suggest looking for a sister or lactation consultant in your area if you are struggling. Don’t leave it and think, “I’ll manage if I hang in there.” Get help sooner than later, it will save you many tears of frustration, trust me.
At the 2-month mark:
- K enjoys bathing more. Though she hates getting cold and voices her dislike loudly!
- She has started to smile, which makes the 2am feed a little more bearable.
- I love to hear her “talk!” She enjoys a good chinwag!
- She has picked up weight nicely and weighs 4,96kgs. Her paediatrician is very happy with her development 🙂
- She is growing like a weed and is outgrowing her wardrobe at an alarming rate! Hopefully, she fits into her cloth diapers soon. Currently, they are still a little bit too big for her.
That’s about all I have time for – she is starting to stir…