It made such a difference straight away

Kelly

Hi, I’m Kelly. I have two children, a four year old called Max and a seven month old called Leo.

I did try. I managed to feed him to 39 months. I stopped when I got pregnant with Leo. I’d never planned on it going on that long but yeah, it did. So, with Max, I decided I wanted to breastfeed.

Okay, grumpy. I decided I wanted to breastfeed, didn’t do any research into it, I thought it’s natural, I’ll just know what to do when the baby’s born, like really naive. And found it quite difficult when I had him.

So, I had an emergency C section. So he was quite sleepy when he came out and I was a bit frazzled and not really kind of with it, very well.

And I had quite a lot of support in the hospital to get feeding established. And I thought it was going well but it was very painful for quite a long time. And I got quite a lot of support but never really got over that kind of pain. And I just told myself I wasn’t going to quit on a bad day. So, I didn’t and kept going. So yeah, I carried on feeding him till this one happened.

I had Max in Stockport and the breastfeeding support is really good but they never really, like, looked in his mouth or checked that. You know, they always checked how I was feeding him and then, kind of. never got to the bottom of it. But there’s breastfeeding… so I had Leo at Liverpool and the breastfeeding support here has been fantastic.

Even though I had him during February’s lockdown, they had… Bambi’s came round on the ward and checked everything was okay with him. And they were really happy with like my position and everything. But I still had quite a lot of pain.

And I got regular text messages from them. And after I think, like, the second day, I was like, “This isn’t this isn’t right.”

So, I had a telephone call with a breastfeeding support worker. Who was really encouraging, absolutely fantastic. And she got me to send a video of this one crying. And she looked at the video and was like, I’m almost certain he’s got a tongue-tie.

And because he had jaundice, they referred him really quickly. He had it snipped at day five, it was fantastic. I couldn’t sing the praises well enough of the midwives  postnatally and the breastfeeding families and the tongue-tie service. They were just… I couldn’t believe how quickly it got sorted. And it made such a difference straightaway as well.

So, for me, I think that the support’s not there for women. And I know, I’ve had amazing face-to-face support. But I don’t mean like the support services. I mean, like your family, and kinda just society understanding how demanding breastfeeding is.

So I don’t think women are educated properly antenatally to prepare themselves for the realities of what it is to have a newborn baby.

You know, it’s demanding bottle feeding, but physically, I think physically breastfeeding, it’s all down to you, isn’t it. Your husband or your partner can support you as much as they can. At the end of the day, it’s you that has to do it.

My family have been so supportive doing it, I’ve not had any negative comments. And my husband has been amazing. So, I find it really hard to… I don’t have that experience of not being supported well.

But I can imagine just how hard it would be if you didn’t have your partner and your family being positive and supportive around it because, you know, the early days where 60 minutes for example, like morally supporting you and, you know, maybe getting up a little bit early to take the baby for an hour so you can get an extra hour sleep.

I can totally understand why women start breastfeeding and don’t continue doing it.

I think I was really lucky. So, I started my midwifery training. So I was still out on placement, which I would not say was a lucky thing to be doing going into a pandemic.

And then I was studying at home when lockdown happened. So my husband actually took the brunt of the childcare because he wasn’t in work and my husband is so supportive really, like, chips in with the kids you know, it’s not like… it really is an equal partnership.

But I still, I suppose I bore the brunt of the child care normally, do you know during the week when I wasn’t in uni, it’d be me that did it because he worked full time.

And then it kind of flipped on its head where I was having to do online lectures all day, studying and obviously assignments and he was having to entertain Max for eight hours a day. So I think I think that was a bit of an eye opener for him.

Like because obviously, you know, we share shared childcare, but he never really had Max on his own every day for a prolonged period of time. So I think that was a bit of a shock for him.

And I’d really worked hard to reduce it down and then he was out of nursery and we were out of work and we were all stuck in the house together. That massive overhaul for him just meant that he wanted to feed more and I didn’t have a chance basically.

Like, we were trying to reduce breastfeeding as lockdown happened in March 2020. I’d really worked hard because I decided it was time for me, I kind of wanted my body back a little bit and we were only down to, do you know one five minute feed at bedtime. It was like nothing really.

I don’t really have a problem, I’ll feed him anywhere to be honest. I like going to coffee shops but if, do you know if he’s being extra fussy and John Lewis have a really nice feeding room.

So they’ve got like a separate screen and there’s like hot water and stuff there. And it’s just like really nice comfy chairs. Yeah, that’s usually my go-to place if I need to sort him out. But I’m happy to feed in any coffee shop, you know.

And I’ve been really lucky I think I’ve only had one negative experience of feeding any of these two in public, or someone being very disapproving. And that was like the first time I fed  Max in public and my husband was like, “Just ignore him”.

Like me, I don’t feel like I’ve had any negativity really towards breastfeeding.

To follow your instinct and to feed when your your baby’s rooting or crying or starting to chew their hands, just if you’re unsure, feed them.

Yeah, and then get to know your baby. It’s hard. You’ve got to learn what their cues are and every baby’s different. And you need to discover each other and figure it out and, you know, it can take a while.