The last month of pregnancy was mostly spent watching YouTube videos on how to change a nappy, how to bath a baby and, finally, how to swaddle one. At no point did I watch any clips that told me how to breastfeed one. This was something I thought would come oh-so naturally. I had visions of babe being born and immediately suckling while my blonde hair cascaded down my back like mama nature. The reality: my hair was in a sweaty, soggy (I had a water birth) topknot while Greta, all arms and legs, nosedived, clamping down with a force not too dissimilar to a Dyson vacuum cleaner. Ouch!
Forty-eight hours later and yup, I was still breastfeeding my baby. Every two hours in fact, and sometimes every hour. If she fancied a snack, well, then it was every 30 minutes. I had become a human milk dispenser.
Sat in the nursery, marooned on a sea of cushions is where baby and I were camped out for the first two weeks while my husband ferried glasses of water and plates of food in and out all day long. Breastfeeding, as it turns out, is thirsty work. Apparently one day of feeding equates to going for a 10k run. It’s the lazy girl’s dream: eating a whole pizza with the assurance that you’re burning 500 calories while sitting on the couch with your beloved little baby. #goals
Then there’s the mess. I was tearing through breast pads quicker than a pack of Tetley teabags. In one instance, as I heard Greta cry out, I jumped out of the shower and raced to her crib, but unbeknown to me her cries had switched on the release milk 'switch'. I called out to my husband to fetch me a cotton muslin and, as he came rushing around the corner, he skidded on said milk like something out of a bad sitcom. You couldn’t make this stuff up.
The wardrobe I longed for while pregnant still sits there waiting for a body that has a smaller cup size to fill it. I’ve hit pause on anything silk and basically said goodbye and see ya later to anything that I can’t lift up or unbutton for Greta’s easy access.
Without going into all the finer details, breastfeeding is one of the biggest challenges that life has thrown at me. Yet it's the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. Every morning when I stare into her baby blues as she gulps down her breakfast, all my trials and tribulations disappear.
And to me, this is love.
Photo: Jade's own