When I first found out I was pregnant I always knew I would really like to give breastfeeding a go, it was never a biggy though and definately not the be all and end all. Id had a number of friends who were either unable to or had decided not to breastfeed so I never put too much pressure on myself. Either way my baby would not starve.
My daughter then came along, I still remember the midwife trying to help her latch on for the first time and failing miserably, and then ending up expressing into a syringe for her very first feed. I remember feeling a sence of failure right there thinking that would be it. We kept trying though and within a couple of hours she had latched on and was feeding ok.
The midwives and health visitors I see over the next few weeks kept saying I was holding her wrong when she was feeding but the way they said to hold her was really really uncomfortable. I stuck to the way we were both comfortable with and to this day that’s the way she likes to be held.I was lucky enough to get work from home so I could continue to breastfeed.
I returned to work when she was nine months old, I had done the odd KIT day and had to express, I was told the only place I would be able to express in privacy was in the disabled toilet, there was no chair to sit on so I literally had to sit on the toilet floor for 2-3 expresses a day. I didn’t feel so bad when it was just the odd day but when I returned back and the more I did it the more degraded I felt. If ever there was a time I could have easily given up it would have been then. Thinking about it now I am so lucky my baby didn’t get poorly from that. All those germs!! Unfortunately I didn’t realise how wrong this was of them until it was too late.
After a lot of thought I decided to give up a job I loved, there were a number of reasons, this being one of them.
At first I’d said I wouldn’t breastfeed past 4 Months then it went upto 6 Months and then a year. My little lady is now 22 months old and I still breastfeed at night. Because of the stigma and critisim around breastfeeding past the age of one I choose not to breastfeed in public and do not approach the subject around friends and family.
My reasons for still breastfeeding are not selfish, I am still producing milk, if i was to stop breastfeeding I would substitute my milk for cows milk. Surely her own mothers' milk is better and more beneficial to her.
I know my breastfeeding journey won't last forever but for now I treasure every feed (even if she does still wake me up twice a night) I refuse to put a deadline now-much to my husbands disgust! I don’t expect to be breastfeeding much past her second birthday, but if I do continue I don’t think there’s nothing wrong with it.
This journey is definately one I will treasure for the rest of my life. I am so very grateful to have got this far with it.
There is definately not enough support or encouragement for mothers to continue breastfeeding. I dont see why we should be made to feel embarrassed about the most natural thing in the world. Its something you should be proud of and most definately not something you should take for granted.