Hooray, it’s World Breastfeeding Week! I thought this was the perfect opportunity to share some photos from the milk bath I did with Reuben a few weeks ago. In breastfeeding circles, it has become quite popular to give your baby a milk bath to celebrate 6 months of breastfeeding. It’s a cute trend, so I wanted us to join in on the fun! Of course, you don’t need to be breastfeeding to join in – you can just use a different kind of milk.
Our first 6 months
With my first child, Autumn, I breastfeed for the first couple of weeks. Unfortunately, she was taken seriously ill at 2 weeks old and my mental health also suffered hugely as a result. Ultimately, our breastfeeding journey came to an end when she was 6 weeks old. I was very depressed about it for a long time and I still wish things could have been different. In a way, it made me even more determined to be successful and to have a proper breastfeeding experience this time round.
That said, even this journey hasn’t been without some challenges. Reuben was diagnosed with a posterior tongue tie at 8 weeks old and I had a couple of very nasty bouts of mastitis. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think about giving up when I had terrible chills, vomiting and him latching on was excruciatingly painful with it. Yet, I persevered and I’m so glad I did. Once he’d had his tongue tie divided, we got a better latch and things improved. For me, breastfeeding has generally been a comfortable, practical and amazing experience so far.
I only wish that there was better support for more women to continue breastfeeding for as long as they and their babies want to. I have been in that boat of feeling like a failure and it’s awful. However, as parents we can only do our best and it is SO important not to blame ourselves when with breastfeeding the biggest hurdle is a lack of decent support.
As a result of all my experiences, I am overjoyed to have got to 6 months with Reuben. 6 months was the minimum age that I wanted to get to. It felt right to mark it in some way. When I saw people’s adorable milk bath photos of their babies, I couldn’t resist.
Flowers & Photos
Unfortunately, the lens mechanism on my DSLR had broken. As such, I had to take photos on my phone’s camera.
I ran a bath at the correct temperature, then used about 400ml of breastmilk I’d pumped back in January. I then added a little bit of oat milk to make the colour a little milkier looking. All the flowers were from The Gravesend Florist, who I went to asking for edible flowers. I knew it was inevitable that Reuben was going to try to eat them at some point. Therefore, it was important that none of them were going to cause him any harm if he ingested them. I had a webpage listing edible flowers to hand and they did a great job of picking out beautiful flowers to meet my needs.
One other thing I will say is to make sure that you make sure you have at least 3 people and a lot of towels if you’re planning on doing a shoot! You need someone taking the pictures, someone repositioning the baby and someone to sing and make funny noises to encourage them to smile. The towels? Well, milky water went EVERYWHERE! This little guy loves to splash!
Reuben was a bit tired when we took the photos, but we still got some nice ones.
This was the first milk bath that Reuben had had. However, I definitely want to do them on a more regular basis now. They are meant to be good for all sorts of skin conditions, including eczema. You may notice that in the photos, Reuben had quite bad cradle cap. I noticed within a couple of days of the milk bath that it had really improved. No cream I’d used before had done that. Therefore, I continued putting some breast milk on it almost daily (whenever I remembered) and now it has almost completely gone! His skin is always lovely and soft anyway, but after his milk bath it was just so extra deliciously soft! Plus, he smelled of that gorgeous milky baby smell x 100!
Everyone asks how long I plan on breastfeeding for. I have no real answer. As long as Reuben and I are still both enjoying it, we’ll carry on. So, here’s to the next 6 months!