I don’t mean all at the same time – that would be quite a feat! – I mean four babies separately, over the course of the last 10 years.
I first started breastfeeding in August 2011, and between then and now (August 2020) I’ve spent six years and counting with a baby on the boob.
This time last year I wrote 10 things I learnt breastfeeding three babies to mark World Breastfeeding Week, and I never dreamed then that just a year later I’d be at it again.
But here we are with baby number four (who is actually feeding as I write!) in my arms and World Breastfeeding Week is upon us once again. So, to mark World Breastfeeding Week 2020 I thought it would be fun to share 10 things I’ve learnt breastfeeding four babies.
10 things I’ve learnt breastfeeding four babies!
1. It’s a BIG responsibility
Knowing you’re the only one who can keep your baby alive for the first six months of their life until you start weaning them onto solid food is quite a responsibility. Just leaving the baby at home and popping to the shop in the car for 10 minutes is enough to bring me out in a cold sweat.
2. Every baby is different
Breastfeeding your first baby is very different from breastfeeding a second – and a third and a fourth! They all have their own little quirks and preferences, plus you’ve been there, done it and got the t-shirt so it does get easier.
3. Everybody has an opinion about breastfeeding
And when I say everybody, I mean everybody. Even if they don’t have a pair of boobs. And they don’t mind sharing it with you, either.
4. Don’t be fooled into thinking they’ll self-wean
I mean they might, but in my experience it’s a myth. A big fat myth with bells on. My older three were as keen – if not more keen – at two years old as they were at two months, and I strongly suspect it will be the same with baby number four.
5. Breastfed babies DO sleep through the night
Ignore anyone who says your baby isn’t sleeping through the night because they’re breastfed, a thinly veiled criticism implying they’re hungry. They’re not, they’re just a baby. Some of whom sleep through the night, and some of whom don’t.
6. Technology moves on – a lot
When I first started breastfeeding there were just one or two what I’d call decent breast pumps on the market. Fast forward almost 10 years and it’s amazing how things have moved on – my latest find is Tommee Tippee’s Made for Me electric breast pump which has a super soft silicone cup instead of a hard plastic one – such a simple thing that makes all the difference! (If you’re looking for a new pump or know someone who is you can read my review here).
7. The Facebook group Can I Breastfeed In It? is the friendliest group on the internet
You’ll find breastfeeding friendly clothing inspiration and recommendations, support and words of wisdom from like-minded mamas and lots of gorgeous pictures of milk drunk babies.
8. Buy the biggest muslins you can get your hands on
I’m not sure why it took me four babies to realise this but a big muslin will be one of your best buys (I’m loving Pattie & Co this time around). Not only will it catch, absorb and wipe up all sorts of unmentionables it’ll double up as a nursing cover, a blanket, a swaddle, a sun shade – the list goes on!
9. Reusable breast pads are the way forward
Again, I’m not sure why it took four babies for me to discover reusable breast pads but it did. Goodbye scratchy disposables destined for landfill, hello soft organic ones you can wash at home.
10. Nobody’s looking
I’m talking about breastfeeding in public, which can seem a daunting experience when you’re first starting out. But the chances are no-one’s looking, and if they are the chances are it’s to offer you a smile of encouragement rather than criticism.
Have you breastfed or are you currently breastfeeding? I’d love to hear about your experience!