I started off by doing it wrong.
The midwife scolded me for it taking too long, to get you to latch,
nose to nipple, it sounded so simple….
I guess it always begins before birth. I wanted to breastfeed. I knew it might be difficult. My mum breastfeed me and my younger brother but nor my older brother, as she had a lot of pain, and difficulties, and no support. So I was aware that it might be hard. I had gone to my NCT classes, read about breastfeeding, but it felt like reading about running without ever having run….
by Lisa Creagh
It’s 7.15, Sunday, Mothers Day and I am finally breastfeeding. No expressing, no bottles, no formula, no steriliser. Just me, her and the open road.
A slight ache in my left breast reminds me that this achievement is the culmination of many small battles, won quietly, furiously in the past three and a half months since my baby, Lily was born. Who would have thought it would take so long to get here? Not me. But then I really hadn’t a clue about breastfeeding before she was born.
With my first boy, it was really hard. He was premature and after a tricky labour, ending in emergency Csection, I struggled to get him latched on. My milk took a long time to come in and he lost a lot of weight and the doctors prescribed formula in the hospital which really knocked my confidence. It was a difficult and painful experience, physically and emotionally.
Breastfeeding was incredibly easy for me and Frank. I had a horrible labour and lost lots of blood so I was lucky my milk came in. He was a guzzler from day 1. It really hurt, toe curling pain in the beginning but thankfully that wore off. I remember being stressed about how much milk he was taking, how long he was feeding and feeling like if he doesn’t feed he’ll die! But I really enjoyed feeding and found the night feeds so meditative. It really bonded us together.
Breastfeeding was surprisingly easy. I say surprisingly because when I was pregnant I had a lot of people warning me that breastfeeding is horrendous, painful, impossible. In fact I found it to be calming, painless and easy.
I had very peaceful home births with both my children, with midwifes and a doula who gave me the support, space and respite to be able to focus on feeding and recovering. Generally, I found being able to breastfeed was a huge confidence boost in the beginning. It made me feel strong, important, purposeful. And completely autonomous – as though it wouldn’t matter what situation we found ourselves in, so long as I had my breasts my babies would be fine.
I’m very fortunate that I had an easy pregnancy and lovely home birth with my daughter, Leila, and that she knew what to do right from the start. Happily I had no problems with breastfeeding and I just found it all quite lovely.
Although she was small she even put on weight in her first week and so I just felt rather in awe of the whole process and how amazing the body is to produce just what she needs whenever she needs it. I still find it quite mind blowing. With my son, Louie, again born small, he took to it immediately and is thriving at 4 months old now.
I’m just grateful that I was able and stubborn enough the continue to breast feed Isabelle. It hasn’t been the most enjoyable time that breast feeding is suppose to be. I think I had about a week of being able to enjoy the bonding and comfort of feeding her before it just all just turn into a constant struggle of self doubt if I was even feeding right and worry, having to have midwives suggest 1000s different ways to do it better. I was literally feeding her for 3 hours straight at times, the pain of feed her so much and the worry turned me into a zombie and she was never full.
Breastfeeding for me in the beginning was a real joy! I know that must make a lot of people feel frustrated but I just found it so natural. This is back when Sawyer was a baby. Then I had Vienna and totally expected it to be a breeze again but that time, due to a bad latch moments after she was born, the whole of my left nipple ended up peeling off!
Breastfeeding in the beginning was great – I watched the whole box season of breaking bad & spent a lot of time in bed eating chocolate 🙂 Tully I swear was born shouting ‘boob’ he did the self wriggle and latch within minutes of being born and we didn’t look back.