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 Harriet from Life With Mrs Lee who shares her journey and how they got through those tough early first weeks to 11 successful months of breastfeeding.
When I was expecting Bella I made the decision that if I was able to then I wanted to breastfeed my baby. I didn’t really think about it that much to be honest, I just thought that if I could then I would. I didn’t put too much pressure on myself before hand and I just took the approach that if it worked out then great, if it didn’t then so be it and I wouldn’t beat myself up about it. I didn’t buy any bottles, formula or a steriliser beforehand as I figured that IF I needed them then I could easily send Josh off to the supermarket to get some.
Shortly after Bella was born the midwife asked how I was planning to feed my baby and when I told them my plan was to breastfeed they helped me to get her latched on. I was so exhausted from my fairly lengthy labour that I had no concept of time but I think she fed for about twenty minutes or so. I don’t particularly remember that first feed hurting, more of a strange sensation rather than pain I suppose.
Bella was born at 10.17am and by 6.30pm we were in the car on our way home from the hospital. I tried to feed her a couple more times before we left the hospital but she was way more interested in sleeping. I didn’t realise that apparently babies don’t actually feed very much in the first 24 hours, something I wish I had known beforehand as I remember really worrying that she didn’t want to feed much.
She definitely made up for it on day two and cluster fed on and off allllll day long. Every time she latched on the pain was excruciating and in the end I got myself a rolled up flannel to bite down on every time I fed her. Strange, but it worked! Those first couple of days were hands down the most painful part of my whole breastfeeding journey. Someone had told me that after the two week mark, the pain would subside. I know this isn’t the case for everybody but I found that it gave me something to focus on and I reminded myself of this daily until one day it just became pain free and I forgot that it had ever hurt in the first place.
We were very lucky as Bella took to breastfeeding really well, we never had any issues with latching and I never experienced any cracked or bleeding nipples that I had heard so many horror stories about! She gained weight steadily and the health visitors were more than happy. I never needed to express during those first few months so never bothered, I didn’t even own a breast pump at the time either. It was only as the end of my maternity leave neared that I started thinking about how others were going to feed her when I returned to work. I eventually got myself a manual pump but never had much joy with it so it ended up back in its box.
We started baby led weaning Bella at six months and not long after we introduced one bottle of formula during the day before her afternoon nap but she was still feeding from me multiple times a day too. She didn’t take to bottles very well and it took a lot of patience and perseverance!! I returned to work when she was eight months old and I continued to feed her myself first thing in the morning and before bed on work days and she then had two bottles of formula a day too.
Our breastfeeding journey came to an end just before Bella turned eleven months old and it was definitely the right time for us both. She had pretty much weaned herself and was only really feeding first thing in the morning and not for very long at all as she was just so nosy and so easily distracted by this point! I don’t really remember our last feed sadly but from that day on, she never looked back!
I’m super proud of myself for persevering through those tough first few days and for breastfeeding Bella for almost a whole year and I’m extremely thankful that I had such a positive and fairly straight forward experience, as I know that sadly not everyone is so lucky. I really enjoyed our breastfeeding journey and I look forward to hopefully being able to do the same for another baby one day!
I hunted high and low for some photos of us feeding but I sadly couldn’t even find one! I’m making a mental note now that next time I will make sure to take photos, as it really is a super special time with your baby, one that I will always treasure. However I did find a couple of post feed sleepy baby snaps that were too cute not to share!
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.