When I was pregnant I had full intentions of trying to breastfeed. I thought it was normal, my body had created this growing human inside me therefore to carry on giving our baby the nutrients from my body was just natural.
When Tabitha was born she latched on pretty much right away and her little mouth created the perfect latch yes it hurt, my boobs where huuuuge but I was fully aware of that happening in the start.
Unfortunately when she was 6hours old, she had stopped breathing 3 times, with the third being an instant rush to neonatal unit. "What milk would you like us to give your baby" a nurse came and asked me. "My milk, she's breastfed and has been feeding off me all morning" but apparently she was too unwell to feed and they wouldn't allow me to pump. I was devastated. But this was the start of our dedicated breastfeeding journey together.
During our time in hospital I hand expressed every two hours to send down to Nicu the only milk her tiny tummy could handle was mine. And finally 24 hours after she was admitted to Nicu I demanded I fed her myself, i was so proud.
Day 6 we came home, Tabitha lost 10.5% of her birth weight and I kept being encouraged to feed her formula but I new it wasn't right for her, for us. So I persevered, I started pumping after each feed and feeding her with a cup like we did in the nursery before being sent home.
Within 3 weeks her weight was back upto 7lb 8 3/4oz and she was filling into her newborn clothes. I was tired but I new it was worth it. Tabitha wasn't even a month old and I was getting questioned on how long I'm planning on feeding for? I didn't know there was a timescale I just thought a baby fed either breast or bottle surely it didn't matter.
I loved breastfeeding, I loved the 3am cuddles when it was quiet and just us two.
These questions continued, at 4 months we went along to our local breastfeeding support group where I mentioned that feeding had been quite hard since around, she was fussing, really windy and arching her back. At this point I was told Tabitha had a slight Tounge tie, which explains not only why she lost so much weight but why it took her a little time to gain. I felt personally she was too old to get it cut and I was taught other positions to feed that may help with the discomfort.
We carried on, 6 months we introduced solids.. what did she prefer? Boob! Around 8 months she really took to her food but I decided to continue feeding on demand, it settled her and provided her with comfort she needed. After learning about Tounge tie and re positioning our feeding techniques Tabitha was gaining weight nicely and we had no further issues.
At 10 months I returned to work, only two days a week but it was hard to start, she refused a bottle id express around 18oz in a 8 hour day for her but the cuddles after work were so lovely, I continued to pump at work every 2/3 hours mimicking our usual feeding so I didn't get sore. Luckily this worked well and I have a great team I work with that understood what I needed to do for our daughter. By the time I'd been back to work a month Tabitha had decided to take a bottle and finally found comfort from that along with her muslin she takes everywhere.
ONE YEAR arrived.. one whole year of booby magic. Tabitha still fed on demand all day everyday out in public, through the night. But I was happy I was proud i gave her everything she needed.
Here is a photo of me feeding on our wedding day.
I stopped expressing at 18months it got to a point where I was getting uncomfortable but also we introduced cows milk too which Tabitha had taken too well. If she is unwell I will still express to give her my milk from a bottle if it's needed.
At almost 21 months I am still feeding on demand. We are still co sleeping, my husband is extremely supportive of this journey. I am so proud of our breastfeeding journey together. She will now ask for "booboob" and it makes me feel so happy I can provide her with what she needs.
People ask me why I still feed my daughter.. because it's milk that my body made for her. And when she's ready she'll stop. But for now we're happy boobin.