by Lucila Newell
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.
My baby girl, Ana, was born three weeks early, and she was what was called an ‘undiagnosed’ breech, which meant that when I arrived at the hospital pushing, and they examined me, they told me they could see a foot, and could my husband be so kind to press the red (read: alarm) button behind him.
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.
by Emma Petre
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.
But it meant so much to me to breastfeed that I stuck with it, was supported by my partner and the health care professionals looking after me and after 5 weeks of persevering through blistered nipples, buckets of nipple cream and lots of tears, something just clicked and we both got it!
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.
The first time I had to feed in a busy shopping centre I remember feeling very nervous and insecure, but telling myself I’m being stupid. I then learnt to feed while walking around town, in the pub and anywhere else I needed to. It became second nature. I hated it when he would refuse in public and fight it as it would attract lots of eyes. I also think it really helps being in Brighton as it’s such a liberal and accepting environment.
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. Breastfeeding in public was daunting at first but after a couple of weeks it didn’t really bother me. My first public breastfeed was on a bench in Brunswick Square. My daughter Leila was a week old and crying and needed a feed and home was a good 15 minute walk away. I suppose my urge to feed and comfort my baby was strong enough to overcome any issues about what others may think.
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!
Totally horrendous. But even with all that happening I really didn’t want to give up, the thought of using bottles actually seemed harder and like more work. I fed through gritted teeth and the nipple did recover but now it looks like it has a sad face! Breastfeeding Leia was honestly the most important thing in my life at that point. They didn’t let me feed her for three days and it was a physical torture. Like it hurt me and I didn’t handle it well. When they did let me, the moment she latched on all was ok (even though it wasn’t), all worry dissipated while I was feeding her, it was amazing.
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.
I was fortunate not to have any problems but he was slow to put on weight at first & recover his birth weight despite being seemingly always attached- breastfeeding on demand took on a whole new meaning when a midwife demanded I breastfeed in front of her (as I must’ve been doing something wrong and would need to supplement with formula if I couldn’t get him gaining faster) Fortunately she couldn’t fault his latch and I stuck to my guns about exclusive breastfeeding.