My breastfeeding journey began on the 8th February 2021 when my baby boy Troy entered the world! I thought it would be the physical side of things that I would struggle with most as a breastfeeding mother.
In actual fact it was the mental side of breastfeeding that was the hardest thing for me. I was constantly comparing myself to friends and family who formula fed and so much of the advice I got was to simply ‘give baby a bottle’. Slowly but surely it all started to affect my confidence and I doubted everything.
My son latched straight away and I thought ‘this is easy’
He latched straight away in the recovery room and thought yes!! That was easy!! Hmm, maybe not. Later that night Troy would not latch, to which a nurse in the hospital advised to give him a bottle as she was worried he needed feeding…so we did. The morning came and I asked for support from the enteral feeding team and I had two lovely nurses come to help me during our hospital stay of 5 days.
Troy was struggling to latch and I was getting worried that breastfeeding wasn’t going to happen. My husband was trying to help latch him but he could see how Troy just wasn’t getting it. He knew how much I wanted to breastfeed so continued to encourage and support me which meant so much to me in that moment.
During this time, the two nurses were brilliant and encouraged me to keep trying! They advised me to hand express and give the milk to Troy via syringe to get the goodness into him and help milk production. So this is what I did. Gosh, the joy I felt when I filled one of those tiny bottles with my milk! I continued to do this for a further day along with formula bottles to ensure Troy had gotten enough nutrition.
By the third night in hospital, he still wasn’t latching but I was determined. That night the enteral feeding nurse was working and she gave me so much support that night. She was helping me physically latch Troy and showed me different positions and ways to do this. By 5am, he latched and had a proper feed. I was absolutely thrilled and couldn’t thank the nurse enough. He continued to feed that morning and the little syringe pots and formula bottles were a thing of the past.
By the third night in hospital, he still wasn’t latching but I was determined.
My husband came later that day and was so excited and happy that we were breastfeeding. Tto see and hear how proud he was of us meant the world to me.
Once we left hospital I believed the hard part was behind us
We left hospital after 5 days and continued to breastfeed. I really did think the hard part was over but little did I know…
From what people had told me, I thought the physical aspects of breastfeeding would be the hardest…. but I found the opposite. I never suffered from sore cracked nipples etc, but I found the hardest part was the mental side of breastfeeding.
The majority of my friends and family did not breastfeed so I had so much information from people who actually didn’t know anything about it. I listened to opinions and myths which made it so difficult to know what to do.
The majority of my friends and family did not breastfeed so I had so much information from people who actually didn’t know anything about it.
I was constantly told to just ‘give him a bottle’
Everyone around me used to say ‘how many feeds does he have?’. This got in my head and I used to think that because bottle-fed babies have a set amount of bottles in a day and usually a set time for their bottles, that this should be the same for breastfeeding. So when Troy cried and I was thinking to myself ‘you can’t be hungry, I fed you 30 minutes ago’ when in actual fact, he was hungry and we was crying for milk. It was then I came to understand the demand and the fact there isn’t a routine when breastfeeding, you are literally on demand all the time.
There were some days he just didn’t seem interested in breastfeeding, and I would ask again advice from friends and family and the answer would be ‘give him a bottle’ or ‘he is ready for a bottle’ … so off I went and bought formula. This went against every grain in my body but I doubted myself so did what others suggested.
Finally, I began to trust my instincts as a breastfeeding mother
I phoned my health visitor and they gave me the opposite advice to what I was getting from friends and family. They advised against giving my baby formula, telling me that frequent feeding happens, and to just go with my baby’s flow and not to worry.
It was that advice that stuck with me – don’t listen to anyone else’s opinions and go with your baby’s flow.
I just wish I knew what I know now, right at the very beginning of our journey. It baffles me that we are not taught about breastfeeding at school. The benefits of breastfeeding are just amazing and I cannot understand why this is not taught to us from an early age. Instead, we have to learn as we go once we have our baby.
It baffles me that we are not taught about breastfeeding at school.
Troy and I have recently reached one year of breastfeeding and the learning continues even now! I thought Troy would maybe start to wean himself by this point and not be as interested in breastfeeding but that doesn’t seem to be the case at all. During the day he is mainly around nap time, and at nighttime he feeds once, maybe twice. There is no stopping us at the moment.
I hope my story helps anyone currently doubting themselves or looking for some advice…trust you and your baby’s path because it is a unique one.
Disclosure: This story is someone’s own personal account of their breastfeeding journey. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and are not upheld in any way by Boobingit.
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