Kicking off the resurgence of Feeding Friday’s, here is Melanie sharing her experience and showing us that although your birth experience can affect your breastfeeding experience – it doesn’t define it!
I knew I wanted to breastfeed as soon as I found out I was pregnant.. to me it wasn’t really a choice, if I could then I would. My birth was a long and traumatic labour ending in an emergency c section.. I had a birth plan stating I wanted skin to skin, and made this clear to the surgical team that as long as my baby was well and there was no reason for him medically treated I still wanted immediate skin to skin for an hour. The doctors were great and accommodated this. I knew a c section sometimes makes it harder for a baby to breastfeed if they are taken away etc. but Elijah routed as soon as he was on me and latched straight away. Up on recovery ward i had one midwife quickly come and see his latch and gave me a few pointers but it was really weird… as clueless as I was this new baby seemed to know exactly what he was doing. Things got off to a great start Elijah only lost 3.5% in the beginning and was over his birth weight by a week. He pretty much fed every half an hour to an hour in the beginning but I was sofa bound after c section so it was just a special bonding time and I followed his lead. I wanted to introduce bottles early so that I wouldn’t have a problem with him taking them when I returned to work. I was told to wait until he was 6 weeks so there was no nipple confusion or bottle preference and not to express so as not to end up with an over supply. At 4 weeks I ended up with a nipple infection and was told to express and feed with bottles to enable me to heal with antibiotics. I was wary of him getting a bottle preference so just swapped a few feeds with bottle. Despite this he still preferred boob to bottle and we kept up a bottle a day for a while although it was a struggle to get him to accept. We did get a bit lapse and skipped a few bottles. After a while Elijah wouldn’t accept a bottle. Despite months of various bottles and teats he will not a take a bottle. So I wish I’d have know it’s highly unlikely he would get a bottle preference and to have started with one a day every day from the start! We are at 5 months of breast feeding and I wanted to stop at 3 months to get back to doing some work. So I now feel trapped like I can’t just stop anymore as he won’t take a bottle and I really don’t want to just force him. I know a lot of breastfeeding mothers who are in the same position.. wait until 6 weeks to give a bottle but now babies will not take a bottle at all. I think 6 weeks is far to late if breastfeeding is going well. I wish I’d have know how hard cluster feeds and growth spurts can be… we seem to be affected by every leap or growth spurt and end up waking for feeds every hour or 2.. none of my formula feeding friend had this. But on the positive the bond I have with my baby is so worth it. He is the happiest little boy. Plus breastfeeding makes it really easy to settle your baby when upset, tired or I’ll etc! I’ve always struggled with feeding in public and I never thought I would.. before breastfeeding I really thought the majority of people still breastfed. Once I started breastfeeding I realised how uncommon it actually is now! Which made me so self conscious when feeding.. I was the only one in my group of friends breast feeding which made it hard. However I met a great group of mum’s in a class, who a lot did breastfeed so that gave me more confidence, and the more I have done it the less of an issue it is. I would definitely breastfeed again, but introduce a bottle earlier and possibly combi feed. I don’t think any one tells you how hard it can be at times.. you can feel lonely as you feel like all the responsibility of the baby lies with you as your husband can’t do any night feeds etc. but knowing you are getting your baby of to the best possible start and having a happy and content baby who you have this amazing bond with is so worth it.
If you would like to contribute to the Feeding Friday blog, I would be honoured to receive your story – simply get in touch at steph@doitlikeamother for more info x