As Parents There Is Nothing More Powerful Than The Stories We Share..
Welcome back to the #BreastfeedingStories guest post series, an opportunity to bring together stories from other mums who have breastfeeding experiences that they would like to share.
This weeks guest post features Nadia from Scandi Mummy who shares her story about the joys of breastfeeding her first born son for much longer than she had hoped or anticipated.
I remember sitting in a small damp room with a group of people I hardly knew looking at boobs. I had somehow convinced my other half, Daddy Long Legs, that signing up to NCT would be a good thing and I think the only thing that convinced him was the promise of the very visual breastfeeding session.
As someone who doesn’t have any family close by I felt a need to connect with other families in a similar situation to us. The group was not what I had expected, but we have still formed a special friendship and they have shown me a lot of support over the past 16 months. The NCT trainer on the other hand was a bit of a waste of space, it sounds harsh, but it seemed that her main purpose for being there was to network in regards to her business ventures outside the NCT. That didn’t go down well with neither me nor Daddy Long Legs.
The only session I found useful was the one on breastfeeding and that was hosted by a different counsellor. I never really doubted that I would breastfeed. I’m not saying that in cocky manner, more from simply not knowing anything else. My mum breastfed me for the first 3 months before returning to work leaving my poor dad with a screaming baby and some formula as none of them had thought of introducing it gradually so that I would take it with ease once she returned to her job as a teacher. But being Danish, I suppose it is a lot more the done thing than here.
I know they banned formula advertising in Norway a good 20-30 years ago when they hit the same low breastfeeding rates we’re currently seeing here in the UK. Today close to 35% of all new mums feed past 1 year in Norway, before it was 0.5%. Something to think about perhaps?!
I do believe that breastfeeding is best, but I will never look down on another mother for choosing formula whatever her reason. We are lucky that our journey has been one of ease, mainly anyway, and I’m honoured to share it with you here on My Petit Canard.
After a peaceful water birth that turned dramatic at the end as Caspian entered with the cord around his neck and had to be rushed off for oxygen, he was luckily soon returned for skin-to-skin and immediately latched. Despite knowing I was set on breastfeeding I remember breathing a deep sigh of relief. We were wheeled off to a private room, he had after all arrived on my birthday so we received a bit of extra care and he proceeded to feed without any problems.
I didn’t sleep that night as I watched over my beautiful baby boy. Too much adrenalin and excitement after 36 hours of labour. When the nurse came to check on us at around 7am she naturally asked if he had been feeding well during the night. It hadn’t occurred to me that he hadn’t had anything for a good six hours as he seemed content and didn’t show any of the signs we had been told about at the NCT class. I had just changed his nappy after his first poo and dressed him, which had taken quite some time for this new mum, so when the nurse quickly stripped him I did feel my heart sinking a little at my wasted efforts, but saw that the skin-to-skin helped my little man settle at my breast.
Once home it felt like we had never done anything else and I allowed him to feed whenever he wanted. On day five my community midwife came by to do his first weigh-in. Caspian had entered the world at an impressive 4.6 kilos or 10.3 pounds, so she spent several minutes telling me that it was completely normal for especially big babies to lose 10% or more of their birth weight in the first week. She put him on the scale and did a double-take when he had gained 10 grams. I remember feeling very proud, we were definitely on the right track.
The next couple of months went by in a haze of cluster feeds and cake. We did manage to get into an evening routine where I would get food, the computer, my phone and a book and basically settle in bed by 6 pm. Caspian would spend the next three to four hours feeding and by then I was often ready to turn in myself as he woke every two hours during the night. I read a lot of other breastfeeding mums saying that getting through those first couple of months are often the hardest, and it’s true. Once we hit three months he started going down around 7pm and I got my evenings back with him snoozing until 11pm. That was when I started the blog and soon after Daddy Long Legs and I went back to playing bridge on Tuesday nights with a trusted babysitter watching over Caspian.
Like so many others it was my goal to get to 6 months, but once we reached it despite early teething at 19 weeks and no sign of sleeping through, I felt Caspian wasn’t ready to give up. Here I am 10 months later with a toddler that can now more or less ask for milk himself. He’s not obvious about it and will just gently tug at my top when he needs it, which is more when he’s poorly. We still bed share and he’s now more or less sleeping through.
He goes through the day twice a week without any mummy milk as he attends nursery, and I have kind of decided that I’ll let him have it as long as he wants. There were times when it was hard. I went through three separate episodes of blocked ducts, but never more serious than a couple of days with pain, so every time I powered through with the help of some painkillers.
There are moments when I feel like a need a break. I look at my wonky boobs – Daddy Long Legs now calls me Lopsided Lill – and wish they made bras for women with more than two cup sizes difference. Caspian only feeds from the left, I don’t know what the right one’s ever done to him, but clearly it was no good past six months or so. I also wouldn’t mind my own space more, but then I look at my baby and even though he’s my first I realise he will only be a child for a little while, so I’m enjoying every moment while it lasts.
If you’ve got a breastfeeding story you would like to share as part of the series please get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter. I’d love to help you share your #BreastfeedingStories.