Breastfeeding

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.

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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.

breastfeedingFlixster’s first ever feed

If you want to read about the end of our journey then follow this link

Before I became mummy I used to hate Halloween! I hated that children would knock on the door and trick or treat. I didn’t like the scary factor to it. It was not my favourite day by any means and I always used to avoid it by going out in the evenings. It used to be my first Christmas shopping night of the year. I would go to my local big shopping centre and spend the night shopping avoiding any knocks on the door. However since having children I’ve ended up staying in and waiting for the knocks on the door. For the past two years the boy has been a bit to young to understand what was going on, however I have dressed him up to try to get in the spirit.

This year however has been different. I have really enjoyed the time leading up to Halloween as well as the night itself. This year I threw myself into decorating the house. I bought a few decorations and put them up with the help of the boy.

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The boy was delighted when we put a couple of things up on his bedroom door.

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On Friday itself we had planned to have an inside day so I took the opportunity to do some Halloween activities together. We first spent quite a while messing about with the face paints. Since last week was the first time he had had his face painted whilst we were out I thought we could try again at home whilst he still remembered what face paints were. His costume was a skeleton so I tried to make a skeleton face for him to go with it. As you can imagine keeping a 3 year old still is hard so it didn’t come out too well, but it was good enough for him!

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I had bought a pumpkin carving kit this year to avoid using a kitchen knife on our pumpkin as I knew the boy would want to get involved. I wasn’t sure if it would be any good as it only cost £1 but I highly recommend them. You get a scoop, a carving tool and a poking tool.

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I wasn’t sure at first if it would be suitable for a 3 year old to use but the carving tool wasn’t particularly sharp so with some supervision the boy soon got the hang of poking the face shapes out and then using the carving tool to cut them. It did take quite a while with the scoop to get out all the seeds but that’s part of the fun and the boy really enjoyed himself.

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Once evening came I changed him into his costume and we waited for any trick or treaters. He was so excited, he thought that his friends from nursery would come to our house (despite them living no where near where we live!) I guessed they must have been talking about it at nursery during the week. He was so excited that he put the bucket of sweets on the stairs by the door in readiness. This was the first year ever that I was hoping some people would come. I didn’t want to have to tell him that nobody was coming. Our house is the tucked away on the end of a small row of houses and quite well hidden by a large hedge so often people have trouble finding it. On dark evenings its even harder to find so I made sure the outside light was on and I turned on some lights in the house to try and encourage them to call!

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It wasn’t too long before there was a little knock on the door, the boy rushed to answer it with me and was eager to try and put treats in the two children’s buckets, it was very sweet. Daddy came home soon after and the boy asked to go out trick or treating. I’ve never really agreed with it but he asked so nicely and his eyes were full of hope so Daddy agreed to take him out to just a few houses. I’m not sure he knew what you really did as he wanted to take out our full bucket of sweets to each house! We live on an estate of newish built houses so they went out and knocked on a few doors that were decorated and where they knew that people were participating. I think that is a fair compromise. If a house is decorated for Halloween then its fair to say they probably don’t mind small children knocking on to trick or treat. It wasn’t long before they were back and the boy was very happy and excited to tell me about it. After he got home we had a few more knocks and the boy got to give out more sweets. It was lovely to see him trying to give everyone treats. Thankfully all the children we had were lovely and polite and all said thank you before leaving.

After both boys were in bed I sat down to reflect on how much I’ve actually enjoyed Halloween this year. I’m excited to make it even more fun next year. I’ll certainly be looking out for decorations in the sale to keep for 2015!