To celebrate Breastfeeding Awareness Week, we have a post todayÂ from Laura, mum to Logan, and writer ofÂ ‘The Breastest News’. Laura is writing about her experiences of breastfeeding, a tricky topic for so many mums. How did you get on with breastfeeding? Did you love it from day one, or bottle feed from the start? We’d love to hear your stories…
With so many controversial statements and health advice these days on breastfeeding, I thought it would be a good idea to share my experiences with everyone. Lots of women choose to breastfeed and lots of women bottle feed their babies so here is my story of what I did.
When I first became pregnant my partner and I never discussed how we would feed our baby as we had always just assumed I would breastfeed -Â it is a natural thing to do, and somethingÂ that is great forÂ the baby and the mother, not only for the health benefits but for the bonding experience as well. We progressed through my pregnancy well and made a point of not buying any bottles or milk, to give me extra encouragement to breastfeed, although my mind was already firmly set on it.
The only time anyone every questioned how I would be feeding my baby was the midwives. Most midwives were quickly satisfied when I told them I would be breastfeeding, but a few would still try and hammer home the benefits to me even though I knew I wanted to breastfeed and it would definitely be happening, no matter what!
In preparation for labour I attended onlyÂ two short NHS antenatal classes, which were basic to say the least, but it was good of the midwives to give up their time to give us an insight into the birth. In our last class everyone was shown a video of how to breastfeed properly and get a good latch from your baby. It looked so easy and simple and assured me that I could definitely do this.
Apart from the video, the actual information I was given on how to breastfeed properly was in short supply. There was plenty of information on the benefits of breastfeeding, and sometimes it was shoved down your throat, but how to breastfeed was a bit of a mystery apart from getting a good latch!
The only real preparation I made for breastfeeding was to buy a few breastfeeding bras for myselfÂ – that was it! Yes I know, very very basic, but I was a first time mum and it was my first time trying to breastfeed, so I had no idea there would be lots of lovely breastfeeding tops, slings, vests and things like that to help.
After myÂ nine months of pregnancy, labour had to be induced as my son Logan was showing no signs of moving and it was a very stressful labour for me. I wasn’t dilating quick enough, Logan was becoming stressed, I was knackered and dropping in and out of consciousness and I was losing a lot of blood, so in the end I had to have an emergency c-section. I can’t really remember much of it but I do remember the intense wave of love and protection I felt for Logan when he was born. I couldn’t wait to breastfeed and he seemed to latch on with a little help from the midwives, even though he was a bit drowsy and probably knackered too from all the events of labour.
It was the next day when the problems with breastfeeding started to arrive! I couldn’t get Logan to latch on properly myself so he would become so frustrated and hungry that any hope of feeding was gone. He became so annoyed that I wouldn’t be able to get him to latch on at all because all he wanted to do was scream in frustration. I have to say that the midwives in the hospital were excellent at helping me and came running every time I pressed the buzzer. They would help hold hisÂ head and help me get a good position and eventually after many tears Logan would latch on and feed, although it was very painful for me as I was still learning and couldn’t get the latch right.
After a few days of this I broke down in tears myself. I felt like such a failure after having thought breastfeeding would come easily and naturally to me. Well it didn’t, and I had to learn for the sake of my sanity and my will to feed my baby. I decided I wasn’t leaving hospital until I could get Logan to latch on himself and afterÂ five days we managed.
I still wasn’t confident, but at least I could feed him lying down, and the hospital was starting to get on my nerves! By this time my poor nipples were cracked and bleeding, which was painful, but I managed to get through the feeds as Logan fed fast and only took 15-20minutes before he was full. Lansinoh cream came in very handy and I highly recommend it to every mother who plans to breastfeed -Â it’s essential!!
When we got home I still couldn’t feed Logan sitting up, but one of the lovely midwives from our local doctors came to visit and spent ages with me showing me different positions to feed him in and watching me feed him so she could help me improve and show me what I was doing wrong. She was brilliant and with her help I could finally sit happily with no pain and feed my son how nature had intended.
After a few more weeks my nipples had healed up completely. My latch was great and in time Logan learnt to latch on himself without any fuss, all I had to do was hold him close to me and he would find his own way, which was so easy and brilliant. It was even better that I didn’t have to clean bottles or make any up feeds. I didnât even know how to make a bottle so I was determined to make breastfeeding work for me.
The night feeds though were hard as Logan was a very big hungry baby and would feed for 20 minutes every hour. By morning I was knackered, as you can imagine, and because I was breastfeeding, my partner couldn’t take over. I didn’t resent him for this as I wanted to feed our son, so he had to make up for it by doing other things like nappy changes and bringing Logan to me for a feed when he had woken up.
I managed to breastfeed Logan for 12 months which I am very proud of and I could have continued on until he was 2 years old but I felt that he was getting big and starting to walk and move around more and for me it just felt a little strange feeding a baby who really wasn’t a baby anymore, he was getting bigger, more independent and boy did he have a lot of teeth! A few times we came into contact with the teeth and it wasn’t prettyâ¦
So that’s my story. Yes I struggled and yes it was tiring but I really felt I did the best for my child, although of courseÂ everyone is different and I would never force the idea of breastfeeding on anyone. It has to be a choice you make and it’s a very personal choice indeed. But I do feel with the right help, guidance and support it can be a wonderfully magic experience.
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