This is a guest post by Melissa McDonald, author of:
'Breastfeeding: Real Mums Tell You How'
As pregnant women, we don’t think so much about feeding our baby, rather the labour and the pain associated with it. We’re filled with the excitement of finally meeting our baby for the first time and so we should be, it’s an amazing time in our life.
As ‘soon to be mums’, we read so many books about conception, pregnancy, fertility and the like, before and during pregnancy, but we don’t seem to read up on what happens after the baby arrives.
Feeding your baby is your most important responsibility as a mother. Once your baby is in your arms it won’t be long before the first feed and you need to be prepared for it.
After talking with many women who have shared with me their joy and others anguish in feeding their babies, I found that new mums really need all the support they can get in order to successfully establish breastfeeding. Some of the best support comes from midwives, lactation consultants, mother craft nurses, family and the associations and hot lines available. When you don't have access to these resources in the hospital or when you get home, are feeling alone in your experiences or simply can’t get the feeding right, the best people to listen to are other mothers and their first hand experiences.
However many women don’t attend mothers group until their baby is 13 weeks old and by this stage some women have been through hell and back trying to get the feeding right and in frustration and despair have turned to formula (not that there’s anything wrong with that).
I have two children and I experienced breastfeeding problems partly due to a lack of knowledge and the extreme stress I put myself under to solely breastfeed. I didn’t understand why I was failing at what seemed such a natural thing to do.
In light of my experiences I set out to write a book that would give pregnant women and new mothers the information and confidence they need to have a successful feeding relationship with their babies. I am happy to say my books have been printed and have been delivered and are now available online at www.breastfeedingbook.com.au and at selected Angus and Robertson and Borders bookstores.
The book covers the fundamentals of breastfeeding and what you need to know to give yourself the best chance. If you can’t or don’t want to breastfeed then there is practical information on how to bottle feed or even combination feed and with no judgement from anyone on what you decide.
I interviewed many mothers just like you, who shared their stories and their experience of feeding their babies and the highs and lows that come with it.
I really hope this book gives modern women the confidence and knowledge to feel prepared to feed their babies whether it be breast or bottle or a combination of both.
I promote breastfeeding wholeheartedly but there is immense pressure on women to solely breastfeed their babies and for some this is not so easy or a realistic option.
For those of you for whom breastfeeding comes easily, you are the lucky ones. There are many mothers for whom it doesn’t.
The best advice I was given was, “Do what is best for you and your baby” and this means both in the physical and emotional sense, whether it be breastfeeding, bottle feeding or a combination of both. As your baby’s mother, you have the right to choose how to feed your child. Yes, breast is best but sometimes it just isn’t an option.
For some, breastfeeding doesn’t come naturally, for others it’s smooth sailing all the way. Each child feeds differently, even siblings or twins vary greatly in the way they feed. You will not know how your baby will be until that first attachment. So by being well informed about what to expect prior to giving birth, we can give ourselves and our baby the best chance at a pleasurable breastfeeding experience.
So if you are pregnant, a new mum or looking for a gift for your pregnant friend or relative, then this is the book for you.
One lucky Sunny Mummy will win a copy of Melissa's book 'Breastfeeding: Real Mums Tell you how! All you need to do to be in the running to win, is email firstname.lastname@example.org with 'I am a Sunny Mummy' in the subject line!