Breastfeeding: The ups and downs that aren't talked about by Ranae Von Meding
Ranae is a same sex mama to daughters Ava (2) and Arya (2 months). She and her wife, Audrey, live in Dublin, Ireland. She is a writer, actress, natural health educator and activist. She has been campaigning for equal rights for same sex parents in Ireland. As it stands, she is viewed as a single parent, and her wife has no rights to their children, despite being their biological mother. You can read more about her story at www.ranaevonmeding.com or you can follow her on Instagram or Facebook @ranaevonmeding
Breastfeeding has been one of the biggest joys of my life. It’s also been one of the hardest struggles.
When I was sent home with my first baby, Ava, I thought that breastfeeding would be a breeze for me. After all, I had all the odds stacked in my favour. I was very well prepared, had the total support of my wife, had read all the books and came from a family of breastfeeders. My sisters and mom had all done it. It was the norm for me- which is sadly not the case with most Irish women. So when it turned out to be really tough from day one, I wasn’t sure what had gone wrong. I didn’t count on a tongue tied baby who refused to latch without nipples shields and nasty recurring mastitis.
To deal with all of that, on top of trying to recover from the birth and learning how to be a parent for the first time, was incredibly difficult. Mastitis is horrible, like having a really bad flu except that you also have to continue feeding a tiny creature that doesn’t understand how much pain you are in! It’s no joke, and has to be treated quickly and effectively. Honestly, if I had not been so stubborn in my desire to breastfeed, I would have given up in those first few weeks. And if I had not had the support that I did, there is no way I could have persevered through those really hard months.
And then one day it got easier. It must have happened gradually but one day I just realised that ‘hey- this breastfeeding thing is pretty cool’.
Now I am breastfeeding my second baby, Arya, who is 2 months old. And I can’t even tell you how much easier things are. I was better equipped to deal with issues such as incorrect latching and sore nipples as soon as they happened. Getting yourself to a breastfeeding group or having some one-on-one help from a lactation consultant or breastfeeding counsellor is priceless. Especially in the early days.
The advice I would give to anyone who is currently or planning to breastfeed is this:
Trust your body. Trust your boobs. Our bodies can do this amazing thing of growing a baby, and no one ever questions that. However there is so much doubt surrounding the whole area of actually feeding that very same baby.
Feed on demand, relax with your baby, nourish your own. Respect your own body so that you can do the same for your baby.
Trust yourself. You’ve got this:)