As soon as I found out I was pregnant I started reading up on birth and pregnancy. I’m one of those people that needs to know as much as I can about what I’m about to do. However, the one thing I didn’t prepare for was breastfeeding.
I knew I wanted to breastfeed if I could but for some reason, I didn’t do any research. Looking back now I wish I had done.
The first latch felt weird but great
My little surprise baby boy was born and we had that beautiful golden hour together. I’d managed to get a few syringes of colostrum so fed Alfie that. Eventually, I tried to get Alfie to latch and oh it felt so weird but great.
I got some support from the midwives and they were happy so we left the hospital and went on our way home. That’s where I started to struggle. The first day/night was fine but day 2 the cluster feeding started. It felt like he was attached to me all the time my midwife said she’d get some support to come and visit but this never came so I took it upon myself to find help.
Online breastfeeding accounts really helped me
I started following a lot of breastfeeding accounts on Instagram and they helped so much. I saw that cluster feeding was normal, that feeding to sleep is not a ‘rod for my own back’ and I started to feel like I could do this. I’d say I started to find it easier when I ditched the 3 hourly feeds which I was told to do in the hospital and just started feeding on demand.
I’d say I started to find it easier when I ditched the 3 hourly feeds which I was told to do in the hospital and just started feeding on demand.
A few months in and I think I felt like I was doing great. My husband was a great support during the early months bringing me drinks (the thirst was unreal and still can be), food and snacks.
Breastfeeding in public was stressful at the start
When we started going out places, feeding was a bit stressful when it came to trying to cover up using a muslin cloth. After a few months I dropped the cloth and became more confident breastfeeding in public. I’ve fed in shopping centres, on a plane, on coastal paths, beaches, swimming pools, round a castle while babywearing in the rain. You name it and I’ll feed.
I’ve had comments that my baby is just using me for comfort and all I could think was well yes of course he is! I’m his biggest comforter just like a dummy would be if he would accept one (which he wouldn’t).
One bad experience really knocked my confidence
I’ve only had one bad experience on holiday in a restaurant where a women was crying and covering her eyes. It really affected me and made me feel so self-conscious about feeding my own baby that I walked out and continued to feed outside. Eventually, my husband managed to get me back inside and told me to feed our baby if I needed to and not to worry about what other people think.
The next day around the pool I had a lady come up to me who said it was great to see me feeding my baby. She was a nurse and this gave me the confidence I needed to continue to breastfeed in public.
14 months in and there’s no sign of stopping
14 months in and we are still feeding on demand day and night with no signs of stopping. Whilst I haven’t been asked by anyone as to when we’ll be stopping, if I do get these questions I’ll just say when Alfie and I are ready.
I love the cuddles but don’t be fooled it’s not just cuddles – we also have the most ridiculous feeding positions thanks to an active toddler. I think some name it ‘nurstastics’ but mostly it’s cuddles.
I’ll be emotional when it ends
I know I’m going to feel very emotional when we eventually do end our breastfeeding journey (even thinking about it makes me sad). It’s such a lovely feeling knowing I can calm my baby down and make him feel better if he’s upset or ill. Not forgetting those amazing nutritional values he continues to receive from my milk.
For now, I’ll continue to enjoy it and savour it as I’m so proud of how far we’ve come. We’ll continue to feed at home and out and about.
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