5 Ways To Cope With Breastfeeding While Pregnant.
I promised to write this post ages ago and it has been sitting in my drafts because...well...life happens and I'm not making any more excuses. Anyway, it's late but it's here now and hopefully it'll be helpful to someone, somewhere, someday.
As I explained in my previous post about breastfeeding while pregnant, it has been the hardest part of my breastfeeding journey so far. Apart from nipple sensitivity, I also experienced Nursing Aversion. This affects many women in varying degrees. Mine wasn't severe but it was still pretty irritating to have a toddler constantly attached to me especially since I was also suffering from Hyperemesis Gravidarum. I get asked often about how I managed so I am going to share a few coping mechanisms I used.
1. Set boundaries.
Before this I was happily breastfeeding my son on demand. However, with the way I was feeling, changes needed to be made and one of them was to set some boundaries. He no longer just got the breast whenever he wanted. I limited our public nursing sessions (guess it helped that I was sick and couldn't go out much anyway). If I said "not now", my son had to understand and I had to find a substitute object or activity to occupy him.
2. Limited time at the breast.
A breastfeeding counsellor advised me to make it a game. Count from 1 to 10 to sing a short nursery rhyme and take him off the breast at the end. By the time we did that once or twice, he would usually get bored and move on to other things. Which brings me to the next point..
3. Distract! Distract! Distract!
This was a little difficult for me because our outdoor time was limited by my sickness. Indoor activities and children TV shows became my saving grace. I used that opportunity to teach him lots of new things. His vocabulary increased greatly so at least it was a fruitful period. I also had a very helpful friend come around occasionally and take him to the park with her own kids. Anything to get him away from my breasts was a blessing.
4. Look for other ways of comforting.
For a child who has always been comforted through breastfeeding, this was very hard. It didn't help that his dad wasn't around much to share in the burden. During the day it was easy to distract and substitute feeds with stuff like baby-wearing. Once I put him on my back, he would fall asleep without much fuss.
5. Night wean.
While I could distract or baby-wear during the day, the nights were much harder. We were still co-sleeping at the time so night weaning was difficult and at some point I gave up trying. But when my milk pretty much disappeared, he became okay with just cuddling and sometimes one feed. So if you can successfully night wean, this is probably a good idea so that you can get some relief and more sleep.
At the beginning of our breastfeeding journey, my aim was to go for 2 years and I'm really proud that I have been able to achieve that. It hasn't always been easy but it feels totally worth it and I wouldn't change a thing.
Really hope this encourages someone!