After two kids in two years I am really closing this chapter. I feel blessed and happy to be able to close this chapter and at the same time I feel a little sad, because it’s hard. Not knowing if I will ever have any other kids, it might be THE end. I wrote down my personal struggles and my personal motivation for loving it. Not judging anyone else as I do believe it is a very intimate and private decision.
Let me start by saying that I feel so much more relaxed breastfeeding in Luxembourg than in the Netherlands. It seems more common here and it might also has to do with the fact that the parental leave in Luxembourg is much better organized than in the Netherlands. You are able to have paid parental leave for 4 or 6 months in Luxembourg, vs mostly unpaid (some employers foresee 70 per cent of minimum wage) parental leave in the Netherlands. That is why I personally think (not have any scientific data for this) a lot more women chose breastfeeding over formula milk in Luxembourg.
A rough start
The start of breastfeeding can be a struggle in multiple ways. Let me point out three items. Although, I do think I have heard worse struggles than mine. 😉
The first three weeks just suck. The first weeks are hard and painful work. The lack of sleep, the breeding breasts, the painful nipples and the insecurity and struggling how to attach your baby…. The question marks about the rhythm, the quantity and quality of your milk and so on…. Especially the first weeks as the baby naturally loses weight, can become stressful. With my first one, Jules, I did not feel a lot of stress. Jules gained weight quickly.
Chloé was different. She only was 2700 grams born and dropped nearly 10 per cent. That was a bit stressful and I chose to feed her every one and a half hour trying to help her gain weight.In the end, it took me with both kids about three weeks to feel natural, painless and confident while breastfeeding.
- Back to work
I found it hard with my firstborn because I did not feel supported by my employer. In the end, I managed to combine continue pumping and breastfeeding for three months after my maternity leave. Nearly after three months, it became a real struggle managing everything together and I think that this also was effecting the quantity (and probably quality) of my milk production. After six months I quit breastfeeding and was in peace with this decision.
With Chloé I have not worked in combination of breastfeeding. It feels way more relaxed, also to start working again.
- Comfort and ease… not always…
As I already mentioned; in Luxembourg I find it more relaxed than in the Netherlands. Among public places I did not always feel that comfortable in the Netherlands with my firstborn. Even among friends I did not always feel comfortable. I only know a handful friends breastfeeding fulltime and that made me feel like an outsider sometimes. I heard so many stories about people who felt judged or bad not breastfeeding. I actually sometimes felt it the other way around because I hardly knew anyone choosing/being able doing the same. With Chloé, luckily, I was way more confident feeding her outside the house.
My motivation top 3
- Staying flexible
Being able to feed Chloé and Jules all the time during the day is my absolute number one reason to love breastfeeding. It makes all activities and also travelling so much easier. It prevents you another purse full of bottles, cooled down boiled water, boiled water and formula milk. Only leaving with diapers and an extra set of clothing, made me go out in just a few minutes with only one purse! Especially at times when they are so young that they are not eating any other food not bringing formula milk along makes one travel light for every occasion. I think this flexibility helped me a lot while moving to Luxembourg.
- Helping getting back in shape again.
I do believe my weight loss after both pregnancies continued mainly because of the breastfeeding. I like to eat and do not go on a special diet to lose weight. I am not totally happy with my body again after my pregnancies, but that needs exercise, not losing weight.
The breastfeeding feels like a special moment. The natural search for food of a baby still fascinates me. This moment in peace I found mainly with Jules. With the second one, it was even as fascinating, but also more challenging. Especially with two little ones, I noticed that it sometimes is a challenge to divide attention. The oldest one is a toddler now and quite demanding. The baby is more easy to handle and therefor I like it with a second that these times are chosen for you to share moments of attention and affection.
And now ~~~
With Jules I started pumping after three weeks, to prepare for work. With Chloé, I never pumped since the day she was born. Sometimes this was hard because it really kept me close to the kids and gave me little time for myself. However, for me the advantages were better then the disadvantages. Mainly the flexibility to go wherever, without the hassle, made me go out a lot with two little ones.
I am thankful for being able to breastfeed and will cherish it the rest of my life. ❤