Before I start this I have to say one thing: I don’t breastfeed. I never have and I never will. Although that’s only because I’m the dad in this breastfeeding journey. As such, well, I don’t really have to explain biology on this blog now do I? But my wife does breastfeed. It might have been incredibly hard to establish at first, and people often ask “when does breastfeeding get easier?” but in the long term breastfeeding did make our lives so much easier, despite the early day difficulties.
Since people love lists, well I hope they love lists, I thought I’d do 8 quick ways that breastfeeding made our lives easier. I dare say you guessed that from the title. Either way, let’s start:
8 Ways Breastfeeding Made Our Lives So Much Easier
Not Getting Out of Bed at Night
This one is still our absolute favourite. Not having to get out of bed to feed the baby in the middle of the night is a wonderful thing. Don’t get me wrong, it obviously helped that we were co-sleeping, but being able to lie in bed and feed Isabelle back to sleep at 2am made my wife’s life so much easier. Not that I noticed. I was mostly still sleep whilst she did this. Which often led to my wife shouting at me for doing nothing wrong.
Being Able to Be Forgetful
Leaving the house with a newborn can be a full on operation. You need to be well packed, know what you’re doing and have everything on the off chance that shit hits the wall. Let’s be honest, shit does occasionally literally hit the wall. But being able to not worry about packing bottles, formula, hot water in a flask and the other things you might need to bottle feed made our life that little bit easier.
Being a parent will inevitably be quite expensive. Not so much in the early days for us as we were rather well prepared. But one thing we saved a lot of money on was milk. Especially as Rachel is still feeding Isabelle, and she’s currently approaching 14 months old. I could do some simple math and let you know roughly how much money we’ve saved, but I’ll be honest, it wouldn’t exactly be an accurate figure anyway. All I can say is that we saved money. And when my wife was on statutory maternity leave for 9 months we really did need to save money.
I have absolutely nothing to say about sterilisation other than we’ve never done it. I’m guessing it’s something you have to do quite regularly if you’re bottle feeding? I know we had all the equipment on the off chance we needed it – I think we even used the stuff once. But one perk of breastfeeding is the fact the breasts are always sterile. Well, it’s probably not scientifically accurate to say they’re always sterile. I mean it’s not like you get chance to shower regularly when you have a newborn. But either way, not having to clean and sterilise bottles is one pain in the arse we never had to encounter.
Traveling with Less Hassle
Going on a round trip around the UK with a baby? Well we did. And it’s something we wouldn’t have done had we been bottle feeding. Taking all the equipment, the bottles, the formula and whatever else you would need would have made this trip a logistical nightmare. But when all you need are your boobs, and they’re never going to be too far away, then you’re all set and ready to travel wherever you want to go! This makes life even more easier when you don’t even have to worry about the weaning side of things. I would really recommend that parents try travelling a bit between months 3-6. You’ve hit your stride and know what you’re doing – roughly – and you don’t really need to take all that much with you. Wait until you have a toddler!
Easy Nap Time
I don’t think this applies exclusively to breastfeeding as I dare say bottle fed babies fall asleep whilst feeding too. But having a comforter and feeder all built in to one really does help. Maybe it didn’t quite help me so much when I was a stay at home dad for the week and Isabelle was wondering where her nap time boobies were. But she did quickly take to a cup and almost forget that she even needed the boobs. She quickly remembers them when Rachel walks in through the door, however.
Burping was something we did in the very early days of Isabelle’s life. But I have absolutely no idea why. She never had wind and obviously never sucked any air in with her feed. I think we just did it as it’s one of those things you feel like you do with a newborn. After a while we quickly realised we were wasting our time and stopped doing it. Not having to smack a baby on the back every time they have a feed – if that’s how you do it? – does make life that little bit easier.
I dare say that some people who breastfeed do have to burp their baby. This might just be something that we didn’t experience. But this is about our experience after all.
Calms the Crying
Any time Isabelle ever has a bump or fall and starts to cry about it, I always have one simple solution: “Rachel, get a boob out!” And nine times out of ten it actually works. Isabelle sees the boob, quickly latches on and is calmed by the combination of both milk and comfort. As for when Rachel’s not there? Well I usually have to do something to make Isabelle laugh. That something usually consists of me hurting myself in some hilarious way. Great fun.
“When Does Breastfeeding Get Easier?”
Well that’s it. I know breastfeeding isn’t something everyone wants to do, and it is very hard to establish. But once you hit your stride with breastfeeding I do think it makes life so much easier. If you’re asking “when does breastfeeding get easier?” and you’re doubting whether it’s worth it, then all I can say is that it does eventually get easier. The actual breastfeeding gets easier and as a result so does life in general.
Well, at least it did for us. For others it might make life harder. If you have to leave the baby a little more often early on, or even if you just want to, then breastfeeding might be a bigger pain than bottles. So, like a lot of things in life, everything comes down to personal preference.