When I was pregnant with my daughter I honestly didn’t give much thought to breastfeeding. We went to the NCT breastfeeding session but very much thought I’ll give it a go but if it doesn’t work out I’ll formula feed.
When I look back now I’m a little shocked that no one around me told me that feeding a baby is a big deal! My mum breastfed me and my mother-in-law breastfed too yet neither of them spoke to me about it. I had one friend who I’d seen breastfeeding a few years previously but she was combi feeding so I genuinely thought all babies were mostly fed from bottles and this was the norm.
Breastfeeding was straight forward for us. After a planned c section for breech presentation Lennie latched on immediately. She fed well, only dropped a little of her birth weight and I was terrified of her crying so just offered boob every time she made a peep.
At two weeks old her feeding changed. Was there something wrong with my baby?! Breastfeeding is natural why is it so hard?! Why was she feeding so much?!
Luckily my friend who’d had her baby just a few months before told me about cluster feeding so I started to read. I read and read and I learned and it kept me going.
Several of the mums in my NCT group stopped breastfeeding fairly early and made comments about how Lennie still feeding frequently at night didn’t seem right (we were in the 4 month sleep regression). My confidence was knocked and I felt isolated. Thankfully around that time I met two other mums who were still breastfeeding and I think my friendship with them helped me to keep going.
Lennie stopped feeding just before her first birthday. It was very natural no fuss no pressure no symbolic final feed she just stopped.
By then I was already 6 weeks pregnant so I’m convinced that had something to do with it!
Fast forward 9 months and my baby boy was born. Just 19 months behind his sister it was so different to the first time.
I was complacent about breastfeeding, I knew what I was doing this time.
After a second c section and a bad reaction to the a aesthetic my little boy was feeding well but I knew his latch was terrible. However, there wasn’t much I could do about it while I vomited over his head for the first 12 hours!
By day 2 my nipples were scabbed and every feed the pain was toe curling.
If this was my first baby I’d have given up but I knew I could make it work and it was the best option for us. I spoke to a lactation consultant over Skype and went to a cranial osteopath. I was basically topless with a constant supply of nipple cream for a week and by day ten my nipples were healed, my little boy was past his birth weight and we were back on track.
My son has just turned 6 months and we’ve exclusively breastfed throughout.
We chose not to express or give a bottle as my husband gets up before 6 every morning with my daughter so doesn’t have the scope to take on a night feed too. With two young babies this is just the best way to divide and conquer!
I’ve definitely learnt breastfeeding is a lottery. My son is very efficient only really on the boob for 10 mins at a time which has been so helpful with a toddler running around needing entertainment.
I hope to feed him to a year like I did my daughter but at the moment we’re very much going with the flow and will continue to do what works best for us as a whole family.