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 Amy from All Things Amy who shares her experience which shows just how exhausting and confusing the first few weeks of breastfeeding can be. This post was originally shared on Amy’s blog in early August as part of world breastfeeding week.
From the moment I found out I was pregnant, I knew I wanted to breastfeed. I know it isn’t always easy but my end goal is to breastfeed until B is self weaned at a year. We’ve currently managed 14 weeks, so, I thought I’d end World Breastfeeding Week by telling you our journey for the first 3 months…
It all started 14 weeks and 3 days ago, the day my beautiful son was born. As he arrived, we shared our precious skin to skin moment, and he immediately started to root for food. I’m so lucky that B latched on straight away; it was a pretty incredible moment and one I don’t think I’ll ever forget. It actually all felt a little daunting that I’d be relying on my body to feed my baby, so the fact he was such a natural really helped to ease my new mum anxiety.
Needless to say that didn’t last long and that very same night was awful, most probably the worst we’ve had so far. I’ll admit, I didn’t know what the hell I was doing, and I longed to be back in the hospital so someone could show me where I was going wrong. After four hours of feeding, yes FOUR, I called my Mum at 4AM in tears. Every time I’d pull B away, he’d cry, but I got to the point where I couldn’t let him carry on, the pain was excruciating. I’m so thankful that my Mum doesn’t live far, she explained he was using me for comfort and took him for an hour so I could sleep.
Over the next few days, we saw numerous different midwives, and they all gave conflicting advice. Eventually we had a lovely lady visit our home, she taught me how to ensure B latched properly, showed me different feeding positions and really gave me the confidence to persevere and carry on.
‘If you can get through the first 10 days, then you’ll be just fine’ and she was right. Those first couple of weeks were hard. My milk came in around day 2/3, my breasts were rock solid and I can’t even begin to describe how much they ached. But, it eases. Oh and cabbage leaves are your best friend! We were feeding every hour, and I’m not going to lie, IT IS EXHAUSTING but it does get easier.
Just when I thought we were getting the hang of things, we hit week 4 and it was awful. B cried for hours on end, after a few days and lots of swears, we discovered he had Colic. The general advice for breastfeeding we were told was to feed from one boob and then offer/give the other at each feed. Breast milk is split into your fore milk/ hind milk. Fore milk comes first and is often watery, and hind milk is the fatty goodness. B has never fed for long periods of time , so obviously offering both boobs meant he was only really getting the fore milk which was causing his stomach to swell, thus giving him Colic. This was when I made the decision that I’d feed from one boob only for each feed, and we haven’t had a problem since.
My partner wanted to get involved with feeds to help with bonding but I selfishly didn’t want to. I love that I get to breastfeed my son, so why would I want to express? I was worried that he’d prefer the bottle to my breast, and I really didn’t want to lose that bond. One morning, around week 6, I woke up really engorged and thought, well this is the day I’ll start expressing. Of course, B being the stubborn boy he is, had other ideas. He wouldn’t take from the bottle at all. Although, you can imagine my delight, I was secretly thrilled.
The only time I wish he’d take a bottle is when we’re out. I’m not confident with breastfeeding in public; I have done it, but I hide away. I haven’t been subject to any prejudice but I’m scared someone will say something and I don’t think I’d be ballsy enough to say anything back. I try and do it as discreetly as I can but sometimes, B doesn’t play ball and the milk fountain can soak us both. I bet no one even pays any attention but I get so embarrassed and stressed about the whole situation that I’ll end up just going to the car.
Over the last few weeks, B has started to feed for longer which means he can go for longer periods of time between feeds. The first few times he slept through, I’d wake him for feeds, but now I’ve realised he’ll wake if he’s hungry and I get more sleep myself. Winning.
As you can tell, we’ve had some hurdles, but overall my journey so far has been relatively easy, and effortless. A lot of women will face difficult trials, I’m incredibly lucky, and I’ll forever be grateful that I’ve been able to have this experience. I love the quiet moments we get together when we’re nursing and the way his eyes shine bright when he’s looking up at me. It’s just magical.
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.