Breastfeeding – Our Journey
I thought long and hard the title to give this post. I considered just calling it infant feeding but since I’m mainly going to be writing about breastfeeding I decided to call it that.
Breastfeeding seems to be such a controversial subject that divides mum’s today. Why is that though? Surely us mum’s should be sticking together, it’s hard enough being a new mum especially first time round without having to get into debates about feeding choices. Everything in parenting is a personal choice, a choice you make for your own child and no one else should concern themselves with your choice. Unfortunately sometimes those choices are taken away from us and that can cause emotions to run high at a time when hormones are already raging.
By talking about my journey I’m not trying to make anyone feel bad, far from it. I just want to write down my experience so that other mums thinking about breastfeeding may take inspiration from my journey.
When I was pregnant with the boy I was given leaflets about all sorts of things, being pregnant is paper overload, leaflets about every subject as well as advertising for products that you may or may not need. I dutifully looked through all the leaflets and didn’t think too much about breastfeeding at the time. I thought that once the time came I’d give it a go and if things didn’t work out then I wouldn’t be bothered there are other options. I didn’t think about the incredible bond I’d have with my baby, the rush of love I felt every time he latched on. The amazing feeling I got from knowing he got everything he needed from me to grow big and strong. It wasn’t an easy journey. I didn’t in a million years think I’d be sat feeding for the first few days solid. I didn’t expect to be up all night then hallucinating from the sheer wall of tiredness that hit me. I didn’t expect the pain upon latching on from the initial let down. Looking back I have no idea why I carried on in those early days. I think I was just determined to see it through to at least a week. A week came and went and I was still going. He was feeding every hour and I was so worried about going out anywhere in case he needed feeding. What would I do? It wasn’t that I was worried what others would say, I just didn’t want my breasts out on show for all to see. I hadn’t learnt in those early days how to feed discreetly so that I barely had anything on show. He was also feeding for long periods of time. Slowly but slowly, day by day we carried on and with help from the local feeding team and encouragement we had turned a few days feeding into a week, then a week into a few weeks. Gradually things got easier, the latch on pain had gone, I hadn’t noticed but it wasn’t there anymore.
There were bumps in out road, a fair few nights after being up for long periods I’d say with tears in my eyes “Thats it tomorrow I’m going shopping for milk and we’re stopping” but I never did. Someone once said to me that things always look better in the morning, and they always did. We’d get up, have breakfast, I’d feed you and I’d say just one more day. It certainly wasn’t easy, I found nights the hardest. I’d feel like I was the only one up in the world, so lonely. Thank goodness for technology these days, I was able to catch up on soaps and reading whilst feeding which really helped pass the time. I don’t know where the first 6 months went but before I knew it, it was time to start complimentary feeding. I carried on breastfeeding as by now it was easy and convenient in the daytime. No thinking about bottles or sterilising or how long I’d be out of the house for. I started to love it. I loved that every time I latched you on you’d reach up and stroke my face. I loved the rush of love I felt whilst feeding you. It became addictive.
I went back to work when the boy was 12 months old and he was only feeding morning and night then, as I did such long hours at work I’d often miss a feed here and there and gradually he became lass interested. One morning when the boy was 18 months old I was feeding him on our bed and he just didn’t want to feed, he was far more interested in watching television. That was it then I knew our journey was over. I was sad but happy all at the same time. Sad we’d almost certainly never feed again but happy he’d made his own choice in stopping. I couldn’t wait to feed again while I was pregnant with Flixster and thankfully his journey has been a little easier. I was so lucky to be able to catch his first ever feed on camera. I don’t have any feeding pictures of the myself and the boy which looking back I do regret but I’m making up for it this time.
In between the boys I went on the breastfeeding helper course run by the BfN, I loved it. I wanted to help other mums like myself to have an amazing journey, to know what to expect and what to be prepared for, but also how amazing feeding can be. I volunteer weekly at my local breastfeeding group. I’m not a helper to make mums feel bad about their feeding choice, I’m not bothered in the slightest by mums who chose not to breastfeed, I certainly would never put pressure on anyone to breastfeed. Like I said at the beginning it’s all about choice. But the message I want to bring by telling my story is that us mums should stick together what ever choice we make. Nothing about having a baby is easy lets all support each other.
If you want to read about the end of our journey then follow this link