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Breastfeeding: Mama's perspective- Part 2

Its World breastfeeding week each year from 1st - 7th August so we wanted to honour it with some personal story's from fellow breastfeeding mama's. It is so important for new mums to have the available support around them and to feel informed, however there are just some things you wont know until you experience your own journey. Our latest blog features experiences from fellow breastfeeding mums of the struggles they faced as well as the joys breastfeeding brings. 

Part 2 of 3...

Natalie, breastfeeding mama 2 years on...

I breastfed my little one from birth and I still breastfeed her in the morning and before bedtime 2 years 4 months on. After falling pregnant I had no doubt in my mind that I wanted to breastfeed, it was something that naturally appealed to me for so many reasons and not something I ever questioned. Of course I was aware of the many complications that some mothers can experience and so I kept an open mind.

Despite a traumatic birth and me being put to sleep after the birth, breastfeeding came so naturally to us, which surprised me because she was given formula for her first few feeds whilst I was being operated on. As soon as she latched on for the first time there was no going back for my little milk monster, it was mama's milk or nothing in her eyes. My baby would never take a bottle of expressed milk/ formula or anything other then my milk directly from me, which meant I could never be away from her longer then a few hours after around 6 months of age, prior to that she was very attached to me and would feed on and off all of the time so leaving her at all made me feel anxious at times. I was up and down feeding most of the night, all the way up until she was almost 2!

What I didn't know or realise at the time was how breastfeeding my little one would be so much more then 'feeding' her. There were times when I was totally exhausted and it felt like all I had done that day was breastfeed. I can honestly say breastfeeding has been one of the most precious and rewarding yet hardest things I have ever done. Cluster feeding was certainly real for us for a long time so i just went with the flow and fed on demand.

When we started weaning onto solids I found that to be a really long process because she wanted my milk more then anything. Nobody ever tells you how hard it can be to be constantly on demand when your baby flat out refuses to take a bottle, my little one has always been very attached to me but as a result we share an unbreakable bond.

I am so glad we have had such an amazing journey together, our bond is so special and although at times it felt really tough because she wanted to feed a lot and nothing else would ever be good enough to substitute that. I feel proud because I did it and I know I have met all of her needs nutritionally and comfort wise. Now she is a toddler and if she trips up or feels unsure about something she will cling on to me and want to breastfeed, but that is just natural for us.

I didn't think she would ever naturally wean herself either with the amount she wanted to breastfeed. However she has reduced her feeds since turning 2 so I am hoping it will gradually stop when she is ready to, there are times when she wants extra breastfeeds but 9 times out of 10 she will have a snack instead and mainly feeds in the morning and evening. As for stopping those feeds I have no idea how until she is truly ready because its just not worth the upset.

Whether you decide on exclusively breastfeeding, bottle feeding or doing a little of both the choice is yours. Only you know whats best for your baby and your motherly instincts will guide you. Don't feel pressured, there are plenty of support groups and advice you can seek if you feel unsure about anything. Do what feels right for you ad your baby.

        

Abby, breastfeeding mama to newborn, Charlie

During my pregnancy I envisioned how lovely the experience of exclusively breastfeeding would be and how it would bring me and my baby closer and I just couldn’t wait for it all to begin. I was aware that all women/babies can experience issues breastfeeding so never put any pressure on myself and even bought formula ‘just incase’.
     
This was my second pregnancy and I was able to breast for 4 months with my first so I was feeling positive, then around 36 weeks I started to notice my breast were leaking and it gave me hope to know I was producing, I was so excited!
     
Once baby was here within about 20 minutes he was rooting so I put him to the breast and he latched straight away it was such a relief! He continued to feed well and latch well as we went into the first night.
       
I thought I’d prepared myself well, but wow it’s was hard he fed almost every 1-2 hours throughout the night for the first 2 weeks whereas during the day he feed every 3-4 hours and although I tired to follow everyone’s advice to sleep when baby sleeps that’s very hard when you have a toddler also! Around day 4 my milk came in and my breasts were so hard, it made me feel quite unwell (cold like symptoms) and my nipples were painful but you have to just keep going.
    
At times I felt like giving up and the thought of giving a bottle seemed a good option but I knew this would only last a few days so I gritted my teeth to get through it, by day 10/11 everything had settled down and I was able to fully enjoy breast feeding again. 
              
My baby is now almost 3 weeks old and I am enjoying every minute of breast feeding, I look back at the last few weeks and there were ups and downs but I feel bonded with my baby and very proud of myself. If I had any advice for future mums who wish to breastfeed, it would be to not put too much pressure on yourself and to try and prepare for breastfeeding to be amazing and wonderful but also extremely hard, especially the first 2 weeks but if you stick with it, it really is one of the most rewarding experiences you’ll ever have!

 

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