Up this week – Hayley! Showing us that the first few weeks can be the hardest but worth pushing through, and that feeding in public is more of an issue in our minds that it is in reality!
Before having a baby I knew very little about breastfeeding, other than it’s the most natural thing in the world and (from NCT class) baby, when laid on your chest, will start to bob their head and try to find their latch. Easy, right? My mother had breast fed my older brother for a year and loved it but went straight to bottle when I was born as I was a twin and she couldn’t get her head round that one 😬 5 years previous to my pregnancy I had been a birth partner for my cousin who ended up having an emergency c-section after 6 failed inductions in hospital! She struggles to breastfeed and became so upset with herself. Her baby developed jaundice and she blamed herself and her struggles to feed. Other than this… I knew nothing.
So when it came to my pregnancy and first baby I hadn’t really given it much thought! Crazy I know as that’s pretty much all I think about now! How to feed her! On my birth plan in the section ‘how do you intend to feed your baby?’ I had ticked ‘either bottle or breast’, which reflected my attitude at the time- any way, it doesn’t matter to me.
However, after the (natural, calm, home) birth, baby latched on within 30 minutes. The Midwife commented how well baby was feeding and I couldn’t believe the magic of it all in my exhausted oxytocin overdosed state. However, I really really struggled in the first week to enjoy it. Baby was fantastic at latching and had a tremendous suck (one Midwife, when putting her little finger into baby’s mouth, commented ‘ohhh you poor woman’ at the strength!). I cried every time I saw a feeding que and god forbid anyone uttered the words ‘I think she’s hungry’- queue mummy meltdown! But when I looked down at my baby and saw how happy she was it got me through.
I’d say the first two weeks I cried every feed and was in so much pain (it felt like she was drawing shards of glass through my nipples!). The midwives who supported me were AMAZING! I had one come to visit me every day for a week to help and encourage me to breastfeed- teaching me different latch positions and just letting me know that We were both doing it right and it will just take time. I think it took me about 6 weeks to be totally comfortable with breastfeeding and I stopped dreading the feeds. The pain subsided to just about 5 toe-curling seconds at the initial latch. My husband was amazing too and let me squeeze his hand when I was in pain and told me it will be okay.
Now I love breastfeeding and will miss it when I stop. I am fine with breastfeeding anywhere- I have the attitude that ‘if you want to stare at a tiny piece of skin then go ahead’, you can’t see anything anyway as baby covers most of it! I’d be more exposed in a bikini!
I am 5 months in and would like to stop but I can’t, baby won’t take a bottle. Here comes my one, and only problem with feeding. I WISH someone would have said- after 6 weeks and after BF is established give your baby at least one bottle of breast milk a day! Baby used to take the bottle fine (3 weeks to about 8w), then I had a period of not doing it (pure laziness as CBA to express and no events that needed a babysitter) and from 9 weeks refused to take a bottle! It has been such a struggle as no one can feed her other than me and I can’t go out and leave her for longer than 3hrs. If I were to have another baby I would breast feed again but the feed before bedtime would ALWAYS be bottle and from daddy if it can be. This would be ideal. I crave this so badly!
I feel like I’m having to start weaning early just so she doesn’t have so much boob! No idea how I’m ever going to get her off to sleep at night without it… but if this is my only worry I know I’m a lucky mummy!
If you would like to share your story on our Feeding Friday blog, I would be honoured to share it for you – simply get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org x