My breastfeeding story
- Aug 04, 2019
- & Amelia
I knew other new mums and sometimes it didn’t work out for them. With the hypnobirthing I had already done, I set the intention ‘I will do it to the best I can’.
Well that was fab and it worked as I fed Sammy till he was 19 months.
However, my journey wasn’t easy- although not as difficult as others.
I only got mastitis when I was weaning :(
I took early maternity leave and my midwife had suggested that I attend a breast-feeding clinic drop in during this time- so I did although I felt really weird as I still had my baby in my uterus and everyone else was holding theirs.
However, I learnt so much in that hour, that really added to my confidence in recognising issues, troubleshooting latch concerns and knowing that some of my concerns were really common and normal. Hearing other women’s worries really helped to alleviate mine.
I often suggest to pregnant women I work with to watch their friends, family members or anyone who is comfortable with it – watch them feed- talk to them about their breastfeeding journey- everyone has one. The more exposed we are to different feeding styles, common problems and other peoples’ issues – we will feel more confident in ourselves and our belief to overcome them like they did.
If you are pregnant and haven’t already then, I implore you to find a Breast-Feeding Education course- prior to giving birth. The ABA run them and here’s the link. Even travel out of area- if there isn’t one close by they really are the best way to learn things.
So, I fed Sammy within the first hour of him taking his first breath- if you can do this then your chances of being successful in mastering the skill of breastfeeding are raised significantly. I had a supportive partner who knew where the clinics were in case I needed extra support and he drove me there to ask questions in the early weeks.
I knew that the colostrum would satisfy my baby until my milk came in and I never ‘worried’ about not having enough milk. I had faith in my body. This also I now realise was particularly impacted by my birthing experience. I had birthed Sammy – without assistance (there were 2 midwives there but I had birthed him.) My body knew what to do then- so why would it stop now?
Birth experiences and stress hormones disrupt and inhibit oxytocin- we need this in bucket loads for birth as well as breastfeeding. Worrying about milk not coming in is only going to prevent it flowing. I often recite Breastfeeding Affirmations into Wonder MUMS club as a Facebook live…. A little weird when I’m no longer feeding but super helpful for new mums.
It helps them to relax let go and let it all flow.
My nipples did crack and were extremely sore for the first couple of weeks. That’s pretty normal. I found the fridge gel pads extremely helpful for those first few weeks in helping cool and soothe my nipples. I also found when my milk came in that Sammy vomited constantly as he just gorged himself- it was a particularly messy time till we sorted it out together.
I found it extremely uncomfortable trying to learn how to feed Sammy in front of people initially. Particularly in the first weeks- I wish I had been more boundaried and limited my visitors a little better. However, I soon prioritised Sammy’s feeding as the most important rather than people seeing my boobs. If they weren’t comfortable then they could leave!
Then we were off and fed successfully until people started planting doubts about his sleeping- well lack of it around 6 months and that a formula top up would help. (It didn’t).
I learnt how to express and just used a hand pump rather than anything fancy.
Again, I had fears and had heard that it was hard to get anything out, that expressing was difficult. I had the pressure of needing to be able to express as I had commitments when I would be away from Sammy for long enough periods for him to need a feed.
I sat on the couch – relaxed – didn’t watch for sign of it coming out- I watch some silly program on tele and I said when the next ad break came I would look down – VOILA!!! The bottle was half full- HOORAY…I now had some freedom- well if he would only take the bottle.
That again was a difficult time but on the 3rd try over about 2 weeks he did take it. I literally cried… I could go to the shops for 10 mins and not be worried about him starving..not that he was he was HUGE.
We then continued to feed till 12 months without too much trouble – but then came the “Well you should stop now- he’s getting too big” “He’ll sleep longer if he’s off the boob”.
I went back to work after 12 months and pumped for the first few months. Which wasn’t too bad and my work were extremely supportive of my timed breaks- but soon my body adapted and I no longer needed to pump during the day. I did need to feed Sam ASAP when I saw him though, that was the first thing I did when I picked Sam up from day-care- as I was often BUSTING... The carpark in day-care was the place.
I fed Sam until around 19 months when I felt like it was time and him and I were ready. Unfortunately, I did hide the fact from some of my partner’s family that I was still feeding as I felt the judgement was too much- I wish I hadn’t now and just owned it.
Everyone has their own journey and support is the key to ensuring your journey reflects where you want to go.
I’m grateful to the support I had along the way and offer support in any way I can to the Wondermums within my groups and who I have connections with.