Breastfeeding and Motherhood: An Interview with the Amazing Rozalia Russian

We recently sat down with #Medelamum and blogger Rozalia Russian to learn about her experiences with motherhood, breastfeeding and what she is looking forward to the second time around! Enjoy the interview...

When you first became a mum what surprised you the most?

When I was pregnant, I attended all of the birthing classes and read all of the books and I felt as prepared as I could. Once the baby came out, I was shocked as too how little I actually knew about looking after a baby.

I felt like there was so much information and focus on the labor and birth and not enough help and support around breastfeeding and just the whole newborn phase in general.

For example, I had no idea how often you were supposed to feed a newborn. I had no idea that your milk didn’t come in straight away and, when it did, your breasts would leak all day long!

Breastfeeding definitely wasn’t easy and I just wish there was a bit more focus on how to breastfeed, cracked nipples and mastitis!

What was your biggest challenge about being a mum and how did you overcome it?

I think it’s just trying to find the right balance between being mum and still keeping your own identity. We are pregnant for 40 weeks and then the baby comes out and for the first 4 or so months all they want and need are their mums.

We give so much of ourselves up during that period and it’s easy to long for all your old life.

I found that, for me to find a good balance, I needed a break from Willow and little things like scheduling in a baby-free dinner every week was amazing!

It gave me a chance to shower, dress up and go out for a long relaxing dinner without having to worry about feeding, changing her nappy, wiping up the milk vomit etc. Having a night, or even a few hours during the day to go and get my nails done, a bit of retails therapy or just go to the gym was a way for my to recharge and made me a happier person and a better mum.

Breastfeeding was definitely something I wanted to try and give a go. I ended up breastfeeding for 10 months with my daughter Willow but it definitely wasn’t smooth sailing.

When she first came out I didn’t have any milk and I remember her just crying non-stop for like three days! When I spoke to the midwives about it they just looked at me and said “She’s a newborn, that’s what they do!”

They told me I just needed to cluster feed.

I remember my nipples were that sore and bleeding, I was running off about 30 min sleep in 48 hours.

I felt completely lost and helpless. It wasn’t until the pediatrician came and suggested giving her a bottle of formula because it had been three days and she was starving!

I had no idea about the formula and as odd as it sounds it actually helped me persevere with breastfeeding. We gave her formula for a couple of days until my milk came in and it gave me a chance to get some rest, calm down and try breastfeeding again.

I ended up getting mastitis twice and there were many times that I wanted to give up but I just remember telling my self to stick it out for 6 months!

After about 2 months it was just so easy and natural that I ended up sticking at it for 10 months.

I am so glad I did, as we were so lucky our daughter was happy, healthy and sleeping.

I know breastfeeding isn’t for everyone and some women just aren’t able to breastfeed so I would never judge a women’s choice.

My only advice would be just to give it a go. Yes it’s hard but if you stick it out and not give up as soon as you run into an obstacle out then it’s worth it.

Do you have any funny breastfeeding stories?

Let's just say the first couple of months were filled with plenty "OMG" breastfeeding moments! From waking up in the middle of the night with our bedsheets drenched, as I had no idea they leaked, to the famous milk fountains before you get in the shower, the only thing you can do is laugh!

What are you most looking forward to in welcoming a second baby?

I cannot wait for our daughter Willow to have a sibling. She is three and she just loves being around other kids so I am excited for her to have her own sibling to play with. Every day she speaks to my tummy and says “Hello Baby, I am your big sister Willow.”

Now it’s your turn! Let’s start a conversation.

What was your breastfeeding experience like? How did you find the experience of becoming a new mum? Please share your stories here or on our Medela Australia Facebook page.