I keep being told I should ‘give up the breastfeeding now’ by various people who shall remain nameless… the most recent of these occasions was because I was told by the pharmacist that I should only be taking glycerin pastilles for my sore throat/cold and that lemsips etc where not really a good idea when breastfeeding. Which I was ok with, the pastilles worked fine and I slowly got my voice back. Obviously the fact that I couldn’t dose myself up with over the counter flu/cold meds was an issue for some people, but for me it’s just something I accept as part of my decision to breastfeed… like a switch in my mind, I always check that whatever I am putting in to or on to my body is suitable. It doesn’t feel like a chore, but clearly some people feel this is a chore, and a reason to give up breastfeeding. To clarify it was a discussion following said person asking what I was taking for that ‘horrible sore throat’ (I did sound like I had smoked 400 a day for the last several centuries!).
So I started thinking, what other changes have I made?
Obviously this started when I was pregnant, I didn’t drink when pregnant and I haven’t drank anything alcoholic since Boo was born. This is not a big thing for me as I didn’t really drink much anyway, the odd strawberry and lime cider (this particular brand/drink I can’t even get in this country) in nice weather and that was about my lot. So in all honesty no change here.
This was a big change, and again this started when I was pregnant… I reduced the amount of caffeine I drank drastically… I was addicted to cherry coke and dr pepper, and I mean ADDICTED! I also changed over to decaf tea/coffee but I don’t really drink that much of those either. I do still eat chocolate – who could live without that, but I try not to eat lots!
Other Changes in Diet
I actually eat better, I started to really try to eat better food when I was pregnant and I have carried this on while I am breastfeeding, this benefits everyone as my diet pre-pregnancy was pretty shocking. This has probably been the hardest change to make, as I really like to eat my set foods and all of them are pretty pants nutritionally, so jumping outside of my comfort zone has been pretty scary at times, but worth it. Some days are better than others.
Pre-pregnancy and breastfeeding I would think nothing to taking painkillers for headache or anything really. Mainly ibuprofen. But I switched to paracetamol during pregnancy, and have stuck with the change. I also really try to think before taking any painkillers, if i get a headache I have a drink of water and change what I am doing to see if I can get rid of it that way, and then take a painkiller if I still need to. This is probably what I should have been doing anyway rather than soldering on on the computer and chomping painkillers like smarties. So another change for the better.
Also, it has become habit for me to check that what I am taking is suitable for breastfeeding, in terms of cold/flu meds etc. I don’t think of this as a chore and I don’t see it as a reason to stop breastfeeding.
Reading back it seems like the changes I have made are things which I made during pregnancy, and have just continued. (and all of these things are probably healthier so the changes are not just because I am breastfeeding but also for me, but like a lot of things I need an external motivating factor to kick me up the bum, so to speak.
I don’t feel like I am missing out because I can’t drink alcohol or caffeine, or chose not to. I didn’t feel like I was missing out when I was pregnant either. And these changes are nothing to write home about, they are changes that most pregnant women make without a second thought, so I am not sure why it becomes an issue which people feel the need to comment on when it’s because of breastfeeding?
I feel quite proud that I have finally been able to reduce my cherry coke and dr pepper intake to normal levels, i.e. the odd treat now and again when I go out for a meal, rather than 2 litres on a daily basis! (yes I really was that bad!) I just see it as another positive, among many, that Boo has brought in to my life, and if I can’t make changes for Boo then I certainly wouldn’t make them for myself or anyone else!