Our Breastfeeding Story
There are of course, different ways to feed your baby and whatever leads you as Mum to feel happiest and baby to be nourished, is the best. Breastfeeding should never be pursued at the expense of the mother’s mental and physical health.
For me and my girls, we have done the breastfeeding thing and that is what I am knowledgeable about and would love to share a bit about that with those of you who are interested, to celebrate National Breastfeeding Week.
I knew early on I in pregnancy I wanted to breastfeed. The thought of having to clean and organise bottles did not float my boat shall we say, what I did not really anticipate, was how hard it would be.
The first night at home with Dessi and she didn’t want to feed at all, it was night so I didn’t really know who I could call for help and by 6am I sent Andrew out to buy formula. As luck would have it by the time he got back, Dessi had finally latched for the first time. Later in the day the midwife came over and gave some further tips and help.
Over the next few months, I had recurring thrush in my breasts which was horrifically painful, but still we persisted. Given that she was an ‘efficient’ feeder who would be full after a 5 minute feed, it should have been much easier - it really is hard to mentally prepare in pregnancy for breastfeeding afterwards.
Over the first six months I saw various doctors lactation consultants, one who is a friend, other’s through La Leche and a breastfeeeding cafe, as well as chatting to other mums on the same journey. The doctors were the least helpful by a long way.
When Dessi got to 6 months, we had passed the painful stage and the tolerable stage and we were finally at the ‘I am enjoying breastfeeding stage’, it was a magic moment. So whilst friends were bring the breastfeeding to an end, I thought “I want to get my money’s worth out of the last 6 months”, and we carried on. In face we kept going to when Dessi was 15 months (when I was about 5 months pregnant) . Then about a week, she had one five minute feed a day and then just stopped, just like that.
Then came Indiana, and her story is quite different and a lot more hazy. I think when you are having a second baby, you think it will be much like the first, boy, was I surprised. Indiana was dealing with reflux and cmpa and so feeding was generally not as enjoyable for her.
However, as with Dessi - what kept me going was the lactation consultants and peer support - and eventually the doctors prescribing reflux medicine for her. Once that was dealt with, she just kept going and in fact is still feeding at 3 years old. I have many times wanted to stop, especially through the biting phase but it has been so helpful to have breastfeeding as a way to calm her.
My advice to anyone wanting to breastfeeding is it can be hard and painful and there is probably no other time in your life when ‘No Pain, No Gain’ will be more relevant. If you think it is going to risk your mental or physical health - please seek support. The biggest practical advice is have lots of skin on skin time with your baby, tuck yourself up in bed with the baby or on the sofa with TV if you have an older child. Have drinks and snacks handy and delegate as much as possible.