Linda is a 32D while pregnant and wears the Endearing Nursing Bra in White in Medium (Plus)
Q: Could you share your initial thoughts and feelings when you started your breastfeeding journey?
A: I breastfed Ella for 17 months, my first-born. Before her arrival I had no idea what to expect, but I knew that I wanted to give myself the best chance of enjoying the journey because I had heard so many stories of people who had great stories and rewarding stories. When I finally started, the first month was challenging to navigate through all the new experiences. But as I got the hang of it, the bond that formed between me and my daughter felt incredibly special. It was tough to let go after 17 months, but that decision was mainly because I was pregnant with my second child and needed to prioritise their nutrition.
Q: What were some of the challenges which you’ve shared early on?
A: Absolutely, at the beginning I had no idea what I was doing – everything was so unfamiliar. I had no idea if I was doing it correctly, and dealing with soreness and nipple sensitivity was confusing. Also, managing milk supply was challenging – finding the right balance between not having too much or too little. The engorgement and the uncertainty about whether I was on the right track were all new experiences that took time to navigate. Although books and courses provide information, nothing truly prepares you for the personal journey. <laughs>
Q: Were there any misconceptions you discovered along the way, when you started to learn about breastfeeding?
A: I think what I didn't realise was how close to nature, how instinctual and organic the breastfeeding journey can be. Nature is amazing – your body responds to your baby's cues, like tingling breasts when they need to feed. It's truly a remarkable process. On the flip side, navigating through various breastfeeding products like pumps can be overwhelming. Everyone has their own opinion and every mom feels so passionate about their own journey, so I did my best to understand their experiences, and then derive the best information for my own experience.
Q: Many mothers speak of their breastfeeding bond as a unique connection with their child. How did breastfeeding impact you emotionally?
A: Oh, breastfeeding brought out a rollercoaster of emotions in me. While there's no right or wrong choice between breastfeeding and formula feeding, for me, it felt like a precious bonding experience with my daughter that no one could replace. This connection heightened my maternal instinct. The quiet moments when it’s just the two of us – me looking down at her face during feeds, the oxytocin release, and the feeling of giving her the best nourishment were immensely joyful. Challenges arose, too, like supply dips when I had my COVID vaccine, nearly having mastitis. So those are all the challenging things on, you know, wanting to make sure that you keep your supply up, but then trying to also make sure your own health is taken care of at the same time. But even during those moments, the bond and the sacrifices felt empowering.
Q: For many mothers, breastfeeding becomes a central part of their daily routine. How did your daily routine change with breastfeeding?
A: I was very lucky that when I had Ella, it was during Covid so I could work virtually, allowing me to breastfeed and work from home. This flexibility was a blessing. But with my second child, I would need better tools like wearable breast pumps to accommodate my routine. I read somewhere that it's like feeding your baby - be it breastfeeding or bottle feeding - is indeed a full-time job, because you're doing it every day around the clock. So I structured my schedule around Ella's feeding times and planned my meetings accordingly. It became a part of my lifestyle. Of course you have to give up other things, but it's temporary and it's a very beautiful time.
Linda is a 32D while pregnant and wears the Do-it-all Nursing Bra in Matcha in Medium (Full)
Q: Balancing the demands of motherhood is a common challenge. How did you manage to find that equilibrium in your new life?
A: I believe this balance varies for everyone. Personally, I figured out what I needed to stay connected with my baby and not miss out, while also taking care of myself and feeling fulfilled. Once I had a clear sense of how to manage my time, making it all work became easier. For instance, I identified the crucial moments with my baby that I didn't want to miss each day and made them a priority.
On the other hand, I acknowledged my own needs—whether it's work, exercise, or spending time with friends. I made sure my support system, whether it's my partner, friends, or our established routine, accommodated those needs. Planning was key for me. I structured my week ahead of time, slotting in activities like exercise classes or socialising that contribute to my well-being. It's very personal how time is distributed, with no universal right answer. The goal is understanding what's essential to keep you going.
Also, I'm a strong advocate of doing what you love and delegating the rest. Not every aspect of motherhood brings the same joy, so being comfortable with delegating tasks that might not be as enjoyable is important. Embracing those moments you do cherish and being present in them matters a lot.
Q: Tell us more about how your support system (your partner, family, friends) influenced your breastfeeding journey.
A: My support system played a significant role, without a doubt. Aligning expectations within your support network matters. While my husband is incredibly supportive, we had different ideas about our roles initially. Conversations before the baby arrives help, but true alignment occurs when reality hits. Managing expectations is vital, and day-to-day assistance is distinct. We've set routines—my husband picks up our daughter on certain days, allowing me to plan more meetings. Establishing a consistent weekly schedule that works for you is crucial.
While our parents are in Australia, our long-standing helper has been integral to our routine. Additionally, Ella's godparents have been involved in her life, like when we took our first trip alone and they stepped in. In essence, the journey is about understanding your needs, leveraging your support network, and planning effectively to strike a balance that's unique to you.
Q: That sounds amazing. What are some key lessons you've learned along your breastfeeding journey that helped you adapt and grow as a new parent?
A: The most significant lesson I've learned is that you are the best mother for your baby. Mom guilt can come from various sources like social media or family pressures, but I always tell my new mom friends that no one can be a better mom for your baby than you. Trust your choices and don't compare, as everyone's circumstances differ. Embrace your journey and let go of unnecessary guilt. There were times I couldn't breastfeed due to busyness, and I've missed feeds. But in the grand scheme, missing a single feed isn't a big deal in being a presence in my child's life. So, the advice I'd give revolves around self-trust, embracing the process, and showing self-kindness as a mom.
Q: While navigating this journey, have you had the chance to connect with other breastfeeding mothers or tap into resources like support groups and online forums?
A: Absolutely. Especially during those early morning hours, I found myself googling questions or discussing uncertainties with fellow breastfeeding moms who were also up nursing. Postpartum wasn't something I prepared for as much as pregnancy, and having a support group of moms with kids born around the same time was crucial. Their experiences were invaluable, considering the challenges change so much during a child's first year. While Google helps, it can be overwhelming. Striking a balance between online resources, real-life support, and professional guidance when needed is key to success.
Q: How do you manage to prioritize self-care throughout this journey? You're dedicating time to Ella, your family, and your friends. How do you ensure you're also taking care of yourself?
A: It really varies for everyone, depending on what fills your own energy tank. Personally, I had a strong need to make sure I was well-nourished since breastfeeding left me constantly hungry. To address this, I had a fantastic confinement nanny who cooked for me during that period. Even after she left, my helper took on the cooking responsibilities. This allowed me to focus on nourishing my body without the added stress of meal planning.
Another essential factor for me was sleep. I found that getting a solid stretch of sleep, especially in the initial months, played a huge role in helping me recharge. I aimed for around four to five hours of uninterrupted sleep, gradually building it up over time. Achieving this meant I could feel more centered as a mom. Some strategies I've seen other moms use involve dream feeds, where you feed the baby right before you sleep, or even having partners help with a feeding session to provide the mother with a longer stretch of sleep. It's about finding a rhythm that works for you and your family to ensure you're getting those integral moments of rest.
Q: Did you find specific self-care routines that you were able to include in your routine?
A: Absolutely, those little self-care moments were so precious. During the first month, finding even just 20 minutes to lock myself in the shower and follow my skincare routine felt like a luxurious escape. <laughs> It's funny how you're always hurrying to the next task! But one piece of advice that really resonated with me was to spend at least an hour outside the house alone every day. I found that invaluable. It could be something as simple as a solo grocery run, a leisurely walk, or even grabbing a coffee on your own. This advice helped me regain a sense of peace and my own identity, reminding me that I'm not tethered to my baby around the clock. It's about nurturing your individuality within the role of being a mom. This tip has been a great anchor for me right from the start.
Q: That's really wonderful advice. Did the books you read and the seminars you attended play a role in preparing you? Were there specific takeaways that proved particularly useful when you started caring for your child?
A: Absolutely, those resources were immensely valuable. From learning how to achieve that all-important first latch – positioning the baby's mouth like a hamburger to cover the nipple – to understanding how my body would produce milk based on my baby's needs, these insights were invaluable. Even watching YouTube videos on proper latching techniques helped streamline the process for me. Those initial weeks can be quite challenging, and having this knowledge helped me avoid common pitfalls and frustrations. Having a lactation consultant early on was also crucial; they corrected any issues and set me on the right path.
Q: Thank you for sharing your experience, Linda. As you reflect on your breastfeeding journey, is there any advice you'd like to share with struggling moms who are just starting out?
A: I think there are a million ways to be the best mom for your baby, and there's no one-size-fits-all approach. Each of us navigates this journey uniquely, given our own bodies, minds, and the individual needs of our babies. My advice for new moms embarking on this journey is to equip yourself with knowledge – read the books, attend seminars – and then trust your instincts. Believe in your way of being the best mom and find solace in that. Remember that you are indeed the best mom for your baby, and be kind to yourself along the way.
About Tommee Tippee:
Tommee Tippee's breastfeeding range is created alongside ideas, insights and feedback from real breastfeeding mums. We know that breastfeeding requires a unique kind of love and commitment, and that's what inspires our Made for Me™ range; all designed to keep you feeling comfortable and confident enough to rise to the awesome challenge of being a mum.
About the Pump:
Introducing the wearable breast pump that puts you in control. Anything they can do… you can do pumping. Versatile, discreet, wearable pumping designed to complement your lifestyle, no matter where you are on your feeding journey.
Experience Tommee Tippee's wearable breast pump at our studio at 134A Telok Ayer Street, or purchase Tommee Tippee's breastfeeding range at Mothercare boutiques islandwide.