Mama Chat Monday With - Rachel Chen
Meet Rachel, Mama to the super cute Ashton, and blogger over at @thinkmamathink. Thanks so much for taking the time to share your journey.
1.Tell us the first word that comes to mind when you think of your feeding journey?
Relaxed. I had been told by countless people to expect horrific pain, oversupply or under-supply, lumps and mastitis - and as a result, I was TERRIFIED of breastfeeding. In reality, I was lucky enough to never get any of that. I had mild pain during the letdown and tender nipples, but it only lasted a couple of weeks. I did, however, have TONNES of support; that put my mind at ease and the rest just seemed to follow.
2.What best describes the way you feed your child.
Whenever he wants it. I tried to do the whole routine feeding thing, but it only seemed to stress both me and my baby out. He was exclusively breastfed up until the introduction of solids, so 'popping it out' whenever he needs a feed was just so easy!
3.Did you ever feel embarrassed bottle-feeding or breastfeeding in public?
Yes, definitely! My husband and I are pretty obsessed with Chinese food, and some of the patrons in more traditional restaurants have stared and given disapproving looks. I think the way different cultures view baby feeding (whether with breast or bottle) is really interesting. In parts of some countries, you are only ever seen in public with a bottle. How ironic is it that in New Zealand there are places where it is the exact opposite! I do hope that changes in this next generation.
4.Are there any products that made your feeding journey easier?
My unimom electric breast pump and my 1.5L drink bottle. Actually - I think keeping yourself hydrated is the most under-rated lactation booster in the breastfeeding game, having a big bottle right next to me made it easy to keep up the liquids.
5.What was the funniest thing that happened during your feeding journey?
When my husband asked why there were cookie crumbs on my son's head and in his neck fold. I'd been busted for secretly snacking on our stash of cookies while I fed him an hour earlier!
6.If you could give a new mum one piece of advice what would it be?
In order to look after your baby, you need to first look after yourself. Drink water, eat, nap when you can. If breastfeeding is stressing you out, look at getting some supportive help or look at different options. It's not worth your well being, or your baby's. It's also such a short blip of your parenting journey, so prioritise your health and happiness in order to enjoy it.
7.Do you think mothers feel pressure from society regarding feeding?
Yes. I got sold the idea in anti-natal class that breastfeeding was a natural thing. Well, the first time that baby got propped on my chest to feed it felt like the most foreign thing in the whole entire world. We are expected to have either breastfeeding or bottle feeding totally down-pat, but the reality is that its a skill you actually have to learn - and our babies are learning too!
8. What do mums need to do more of to support other mums?
We (myself included) need to look outside of our own journeys and reach out to other mums, even those who don't appear to be struggling. I've loved connecting with old friends who are also in similar parenting stages to me, as well as the amazing community of insta mums out there. The mum world doesn't have nearly enough love in it, so I figure why not take the time to spread a little more of it about? Even if its a comment or a like, its a little more love that was there before!
Thanks so much for sharing Rachel.