Yes, ladies, breastfeeding is hard and I'm so happy that finally celebrities like Girls Aloud singer Kimberley Walsh are speaking up about it
I’m so thankful to Kimberley Walsh for speaking out about how difficult she’s finding breastfeeding her new son Bobby.
She has admitted she thought, before her baby arrived, that breastfeeding ‘would be the easiest thing in the world’, but now knows ‘it can be quite distressing when it’s not working’.
I couldn’t agree more!
It’s meant to be one of the most natural things ever and yet no one seems to mention the fact that it doesn’t always come so naturally.
It really doesn’t help when celebrities such as Miranda Kerr and Olivia Wilde smugly flaunt photos of themselves breastfeeding their babies.
I had a baby a year ago and I chose to give breastfeeding a try mainly because everyone, and I mean EVERYONE you come into contact with when you’re pregnant, insists that it’s the best thing for your baby. Midwives, NCT group leaders, doctors and even those annoying websites (you know the ones!).
So after going through a 33-hour labour, ending in a theatre forceps delivery, and not having eaten or slept during that time, I held my baby and immediately tried to breastfeed him. Only, it just didn’t happen.
Even the help of a male midwife massaging my boobs (yes, my dignity had truly gone by this stage!), didn’t help.
So I kept trying, the next day, then the day after and it just didn’t happen. By which time my breasts were bigger than Katie Price’s and they hurt like hell. Another thing you don’t get told!
I was very lucky to have the help of local health visitors coming to my home for over a week until I finally, like Kimberley, cracked it.
But it doesn’t stop there, oh no! I’m sure Kimberley Walsh and other new mums out there are experiencing the joys of waking up in the morning with soaking wet sheets due to leaky boobs. That’s right, at first you pretty much have to sleep in a bra with breast pads otherwise you wake up in a puddle of your own breast milk.
Add to that the sore cracked nipples, the extreme pain if you don’t empty your boobs before they get too engorged, and the la-agh-agh-atching on that makes you have to brace your whole body!
Not to mention the fact you’ll be exhausted, and I mean so tired you ever wondered what the fuss was about when you used to go clubbing all night.
Breastfeeding is a full-time job, so having to do that when you’ve had zero sleep is tough.
OK, I know that the benefits of breastfeeding are great. The initial colostrum (the first bit of milk you produce) contains antibodies to protect the newborn against disease. It’s also the only natural food designed for your baby, and it’s free!
But should new mums really feel so bad if they can’t breastfeed?
I remember feeling that if I didn’t get to breastfeed my baby then I would have failed, and why on earth should I have been made to feel like that just after having the most craziest, painful and tiring experience of my life?
I applaud Kimberley for speaking up about the difficulties of breastfeeding because women shouldn’t be made to feel like failures if they can’t breastfeed or if they choose to give up before the recommended six months.
Surely a baby that has a mum who feels rested and less stressed far outweighs a mum who feels so downbeat because she feels after the first week that she’s already failed her child?
I would urge women out there to make a choice that makes them happy, and if that’s bottle-feeding your baby then go for it. If you want to breastfeed then that’s great too.
But whatever you do NEVER feel like you’ve failed your child because of it!