Whenever I was asked by a midwife or consultant how I was going to feed my baby my response was always “I’m going to try breastfeeding and see how I get on”. I knew that some people didn’t get on with it, some stopped after 6 months and that a fed baby is best; whichever way you choose to feed your baby is your own business!
As I’ve said before, I imagined that it would be easy, my baby would instinctively know what to do, so would I and everything would be hunky dory. I was wrong. Contrary to what stock photos would have you believe, breastfeeding mums in the first few months don’t often look happy & carefree! In fact, they’re not often spotted in the wild. If they are, they probably look terrified that someone is going to make a comment. Or maybe that was just me!
When I first fed E, I felt amazed that my body could do that & it spurred me on. However, within a few hours in hospital & asking for help, I was doubting everything. I felt like I was holding her wrong, her latch wasn’t right & it was damn hard work. Little did I know the emotional feeding rollercoaster I was about to embark on.
I triple checked everything with different midwives and the breastfeeding support in the hospital, and they assured me all was going fine, so off we went home. I wasn’t entirely convinced everything was right though, as I was getting pain when E latched on. I asked the midwives that came to see me and they also said she was doing great. I had a breastfeeding support worker come to see me, she weighed E and she was piling it on, so I must’ve been doing something right. However, all literature tells you it shouldn’t hurt. In hindsight, I think that E’s initial latch probably wasn’t perfect and that’s what caused some of my pain issues. However, with plenty of Lansinoh, we got through it!
I thought that would be the worst of it. Once again, being a naive new mum proved me wrong again.
I have two words for you: cluster feeding. Boy was E a cluster feeder. Not just in the evenings, sometimes all day. I had no idea that feeding that much was normal and healthy. It almost broke me. My husband begged many times for me to give her some formula to give myself a break, but I’m a stubborn person and I didn’t want to give up. I said I’d feel a failure if I gave up, which is ridiculous, as I have absolutely nothing against formula feeding!
I battled through. There were many tears along the way and many sleepless nights. There still are.
It has gotten easier! I’ve mastered one handed everything, feeding now comes naturally and knowing that I’m E’s comfort and safe space has helped me a lot. Sometimes it’s overwhelming and feels a lot of pressure, but I have a failsafe to help her take on the world (…for now). My favourite phrase is “if in doubt, whack a boob out”.
I don’t know when I’ll stop, or how I’ll stop, or if I would do it the same way again, but one thing I do know is that I am incredibly proud of myself for it.