Recently having been drawn into the world of breastfeeding, as an observer and assistant, it’s striking how different the dream is to the reality. Let’s be clear: despite being the best thing for your baby (as written on the side of formula) it’s not automatically a happy experience for mother and child. Attachment, the way in which the baby latches onto the nipple, seems to be the major problem point.

It’s not that there’s a lack of information about breastfeeding out there, it’s just different people will express slightly different parts of the same generic advice. Trying to find out if using a bottle with expressed milk is a bad idea? Written advice varies: never before 2 weeks, between 2-4 weeks, not before 6 weeks, not after 6 weeks (as it won’t take). Speaking to actual people is contradictory. Their advice is that if you need to rest your breasts, a feed of expressed breast milk here and there won’t hurt a baby with a strong suck.

And colic? Hazel’s just a week old, but some proportion (20-25%) of babies will apparently scream for hours every day for no reason. A quick Google will reveal that it’s probably diet-related, and to remove milk from your diet. Maybe wheat, corn, soy and green vegetables too.

What I find to be largely missing from the literature is actual scientific studies. This study says that colic is not related to whether a baby is breastfed or bottle fed, which could indicate that the diet of a breastfeeding mother is potentially a minor contributor. Stress and irregular work patterns are flagged, though.

It’s a minefield, so read, read, read, and then assess what’s actually worthwhile. Advice changes over time (the Australian Breastfeeding Association says that sterilisation of sole-use breast pumps is unnecessary) so bear that in mind too. And enjoy the ride if you can; it’s definitely worthwhile.