My breastfeeding story

As it’s National Breastfeeding Week I thought I would share my breastfeeding story in case it’s helpful to anyone.

My first birth was by Caesarean section. The baby was whisked away straightaway - I didn’t even get to see her. Even when I was in the recovery room she wasn’t handed to me. I think because it had passed that golden hour of first contact that no one really bothered.

So there I was with a crying child beside me that I had to ask for them to pass me. I needed help getting her latched on as I was covered in wires. That first latch seemed to be ok. She quietened down and we both had a sleep.

I was the first in both our families to breastfeed. So one of the things I said was that I didn’t want my mother-in-law to see me feeding in the hospital. However I was struggling to feed so they had me on a machine to try to help stimulate my milk.

So there I was with both boobs out, sobbing, as my mother-in-law sat on the side of my bed, looking at my daughter, trying to ignore me...

I wasn’t allowed home because I wasn’t feeding properly. But then they told me they were too busy to help out. A midwife came in and said why isn’t that baby latched on properly? She took her off, spent a few minutes trying to latch her on and then gave up and left the room.

I was finally allowed home the next day but under midwife care. Mine was brilliant and really helped me with latching on and trying different positions. The only thing that really helped in the early days was lying on my side to feed. So this meant I was really restricted with visitors and going out.

Every single feed hurt, like needles in my boobs.  I used to dread the moment she woke up, knowing I then had a whole day of feeding to get through. My toes used to curl up as soon as she latched on. I had recurring bouts of mastitis and thrush and at one stage my nipples were so macerated that I had to feed on one side only until it healed.

I was was on the edge of postnatal depression. In hindsight I should’ve probably given up on breastfeeding. But I already felt I had failed at birth by having a ceasarean. So I didn’t want to fail at feeding too...

So we persevered and four months in it suddenly changed. I think my baby had finally learnt the technique!

From then on it was a joy. It was the lovely bonding experience I’d been promised. It made life easier, especially when travelling. And when she refused food on a family holiday I knew she was still getting what she needed.

And thankfully my breastfeeding story with my second was completely different!

What I learnt along the way:

  • It may be natural but that doesn’t make it easy
  • Get help if you’re struggling - stepping hill has breastfeeding support as does the fourth trimester group. Not everyone who tries to help is helpful.
  • Babies feed A LOT in the early days - you might feel like you’re rooted to one spot!  And it doesn’t mean they’re not getting enough from a feed each time - they just have tiny stomachs!
  • It’s a two way thing - you may be doing everything right but that doesn’t mean your baby is!!!  With my second I felt her go from a suck to a lap, which happened in the first few days. Think this was the difference between my two
  • Whether or not you breastfeed does not determine your ability to be a good mother - it is not a failing


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