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.
It was important having other people who also breastfed around me in the early days as I was aware we were going through the same thing and I had a support network. I could discuss all the pains, blockages, expressing systems etc. I would sometimes enjoy the breastfeeding room encounters with strangers. I also think once you have breastfed you look at other breastfeeding mothers very differently as you can relate to it and it brings back memories for me.
I think breastfeeding brought me and my baby really close together. It was a beautiful thing we shared, that I knew kept him alive and bonded us. I also think it brought me and my partner closer as I know he had so much love and respect for me breastfeeding his child. It definitely has affected the way I think about my breasts as I don’t associate them with sex.
Breastfeeding meant I was the only carer at night time and this is exhausting. It means you can’t have a night away and that your baby is still relying on you heavily. I didn’t mind this at all and enjoyed being the one he would settle with but I am also relieved to have my independence back now.