"So you'll be breastfeeding then?" says the matron-like midwife, with not an inch of doubt in her tone.
"Er... yes. I'd like to try" says I, not really ready to commit this thought to paper. Least of all to her very official looking paper.
She scribbled it down.
"And what pain relief were you thinking off............"
And that was that. No in depth discussion about what breastfeeding might involve. No reference to guidebooks, DVDs, or Internet sites of note that could perhaps help me with the forthcoming task. Nope. Just an assumption that I'd be breastfeeding and that was that.
Then, 3 weeks after giving birth, when I was finding it very difficult, the Health Visitor had a similar level of presumption about her. "You'll have to express more" she said. Ignoring the fact that I'd said two minutes earlier "I can't express.. at all." Even with the very clever, freaky looking, motorized pump they'd suggested would help.
That was my first encounter with breastfeeding as a subject matter. Back in 2006. By 2008, with my second, the experience hadn't changed much. So I'll be providing some useful, matter of fact, tips on breastfeeding over the next few weeks. Starting with this:
There are 4 key factors that determine whether or not you will be able to successfully breastfeed. When I say successfully, I mean in a way that; ensures your baby gets enough milk to last them the next 3-4 hours (timed from the start of the feed), is putting on an appropriate level of weight that you are happy with; and in a manner where each feed doesn't take much longer than an hour to complete. You may have different measures of success. So be it. Here are the key factors:
1. How much milk your body produces
2. How fast your body is able to release the milk
3. How well your baby can suckle to obtain the milk
4. How good the baby's latch is.
Before you start breastfeeding it is worth knowing this; that you have control over the last factor, the latch. That's it. All the rest is pre-determined. Much like how good, or not, your eyesight is.
So go for it. Try your best. Follow all the advice appropriate to your situation. And if it's still not successful, remember that this is the 21st Century, and you can now buy baby milk from the shops! I was not breastfed. At all. And I am perfectly well and healthy. But I do recognise the benefits, which is why I tried it with my girls for as long as I was able. (roughly 3 months for each child).
So keep logging on for more breastfeeding advice, along with the usual tips and hints for parenting, and still, somehow, maintaining our yummymummyness!