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! From then on it was wonderful and I was so glad I stuck with it. It was worth every painful latch. I fed him till 15 months when he kind of self weaned himself.
My daughter, after another emergency Csection, latched on on the operating table whilst we were having skin to skin and has been a good feeder ever since!!
Despite living in Brighton where it’s very breastfeeding friendly, and being a feminist, who rationally knows it’s the most natural thing in the world and the thing my breasts are for; their sole purpose in fact, I felt very self conscious. Especially in the early, clumsy, fumbling days when being discreet was impossible! Now I generally feel pretty confident and easy about it but still occasionally, in certain company, feel suddenly aware of what society thinks of my nipples, and try to be more discreet.
Only a few months before I fell pregnant with my first baby, a friend of mine was the first woman I saw do it, openly and unabashed. I can’t remember seeing another woman do it in public, ever! It was strange at first….. but I remember thinking how brave she was. I’d only seen bottles previously. Other mothers have normalised it for me, and hopefully I’m doing the same for the young women around me. But I think we live in a bit of a bubble in Brighton where breastfeeding is celebrated and encouraged.
I can’t think of anything in motherhood that more profoundly and instantly bonds you to your baby/child. Breastfeeding moments are such special moments. It can instantly calm a fractious situation (for both of you). With my second baby, Indiana, these moments are even more important in some ways as I have much less time to sit and stare lovingly at her with a toddler running around!!! So these are our special moments together.
My partner could not be more supportive of me breastfeeding. He’s been a rock from the beginning.
I did what I was advised with my first baby….. didn’t co sleep, didn’t feed to sleep if I could help it. I battled constantly with what my instincts told me and what I was told would “make a rod for my back” in the future! It feels like constant judgment on how your child gets to sleep and stays asleep. Like all of motherhood!!
I ended up sleep training him which I never thought I would. It did improve all of our sleep and I don’t feel guilty about it, but perhaps I wouldn’t have gone that route had I listened to my instincts instead of the advice around me. Who knows?
With Indiana I’m breaking all those rules and life is easier because of it. I’m more confident as a mother and trust myself more. I cosleep and feed her to comfort her at night. She still has good phases and bad phases of sleep but I feel less stressed about it all and like I’m doing what’s right for us.